Our mills boost the vitality of their surrounding areas

6 July 2018

Our mills are visible in the local landscape, and they bring economic prosperity for many families and the area. We are often one of the biggest employers and taxpayers in the locations where we operate. That’s why we want to tell people more about our impact on the local society.

For example, we produce pulp and paper in Kuusankoski, Kouvola, in Finland. We are one of the city’s biggest private employers. Last year, we employed around 900 people at UPM Kymi, including seasonal employees during the summer. In addition, around 800 people were indirectly employed from the local companies, which produced raw materials and services for us. The figures are significant on a Finnish scale.

UPM Kymi is a big economic engine for the city, as mill´s and subcontractors´ employees consume and use goods and services provided by other local companies. The mill generated consumption impacts worth around € 43 million locally and around € 78 million across the whole of Finland. We also contributed around € 30 million to Kouvola’s tax income. This amount consists of real estate taxes, municipal taxes paid from wages and the municipal share of corporate income tax.

Interest in societal impacts

According to Gabriele Wende, Director, Reporting and Product Stewardship at UPM, people are interested in companies’ impact on society in addition to the environmental matters. Mills are part of the local landscape and visible in residents’ everyday lives, so what happens within the company is not insignificant by any means. “That’s why we want to provide concrete information, e.g. on our contribution to employment, tax income and purchasing power, as well as co-operation with the communities. The information has to be also easily accessible,” Wende states.

Our role as a significant employer is also recognized at Laakirchen which is the homebase of UPM Steyrermühl paper mill in Austria. “As a big employer in the local landscape and an important municipal taxpayer, UPM has for the last 150 years had a strong impact on the people and their wellbeing in our area and has made a major contribution to the positive development of the society in Laakirchen”, says Ing. Fritz Feichtinger, the mayor of the town of Laakirchen.

Reliable information on EMAS reporting

We have been reporting on environmental matters of our pulp and paper mills under the voluntary EMAS (EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) system already for over 20 years. The EMAS statements are published annually in all of our European pulp and paper mills, as well as in the UPM Fray Bentos pulp mill in Uruguay and the UPM Changshu paper mill in China. All information provided in the statements have been verified by an independent third party.

Wende considers expanding EMAS reporting to the societal impacts as a natural step. Why should we only explain one aspect when we can tell the whole story?

Mill-specific statements complement UPM’s corporate responsibility reporting, which is integrated into the company’s annual report. “The annual report provides stakeholders with lots of useful information on the company as a whole, whereas EMAS statements of pulp and paper mills tell more about us as local actors,” says Wende.

A mathematical model of effects on consumption

Extended EMAS reporting was improved first time this year using a mathematical calculation model developed by the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy. The model was used to estimate indirect jobs and effects on consumption created by the company’s production units in Finland.

Research Director Jyrki Ali-Yrkkö from Etlatieto Oy says, that calculations can be made both regionally and nationally.

“The model is based on input-output statistics from Statistics Finland. Those statistics show how companies from different industries buy goods and services from each other,” Ali-Yrkkö explains.

Tax revenue strengthens local vitality

Tax income generated by our business operations is an essential part of our societal impact. We pay corporate income taxes in the countries where added value is created and profits are generated. Taxes are paid according to the local regulations.

UPM’s Tax Director Mirja Salmelin says that besides corporate-level evaluations it is important to evaluate tax revenue generated by individual mills, as that income strengthens the vitality of the local community and supports public services.

“Real estate taxes and municipal taxes paid from wages are locally important, but municipalities also receive a share of corporate income tax,” Salmelin points out.

Youth at the centre of local co-operation

The extended EMAS statements also describe the company’s community engagement. A good example is the support given to local educational institutions and associations. For example, UPM Changshu in China participates in the Green Future project, which aims to increase the environmental awareness among students in local schools. In Finland, UPM has been involved in the “Local waters” project, which is designed to increase students’ interest in natural sciences and especially in matters related to water. In Uruguay, the UPM Foundation organises further training for teachers working near the mill site and trains newly-qualified teachers to work with children from rural families.

UPM is a global company that has local impacts. That’s why we want to understand even better how our operations are linked to specific communities and their inhabitants. We also want to have two-way dialogue to develop the co-operation and peoples´ wellbeing.

Get interested? Mill-specific EMAS statements can be found here. Also the EMAS Corporate Environmental Statement will be soon published on UPM website. The final EMAS registration is complete only when the Corporate Environmental Statement 2017 has been approved.

Read more:

UPM’s press release published on the 6th of July

Matti Remes

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