UPM expects all 25,000 of its suppliers to operate responsibly. But what is responsibility and how can it be assessed? In this series of articles, we will familiarize with the responsible sourcing stories from Brazil, China, and wood sourcing.
UPM has been assessing the origin of wood sourced from Russia for several decades now. The origins of UPM’s pulp fibre are also subject to scrutiny. But why should the origin of wood and fibre be monitored in the first place? Hasn’t wood sourcing been under the microscope all over the world for a long time already?
The answers are provided by Tuomas Niemi, Senior Specialist, Systems and Tools, Ecolabels and Reporting, who monitors pulp suppliers in collaboration with the sourcing team. Nina Norjama, Director, Responsibility Development and Support takes part in the discussion.
Tuomas: Our goal is to source all wood from certified forests, but in Russia the majority of forests have not been certified. That’s why we have to carry out a risk assessment and make sure the wood has not been harvested illegally or from a conservation area. The use of child labour is prohibited. We have hundreds of suppliers in Russia. We started carrying out audits in the 1990s, so our wood suppliers are used to them. They know that everything must be in order. We regularly come across deficiencies and deviations, however, and sometimes we have to terminate our contract with the supplier.
Nina: Pulp sourcing is also an area where suppliers are being monitored carefully.
Tuomas: That’s right. We annually collect detailed information from suppliers related to their environmental and social responsibility and wood sourcing. If necessary, we carry out audits to verify the collected data.
Nina: As for fibre sourcing, raw material supply chain management has been revolutionized over the past 20 years. It would be great if the same level of performance was achieved for other raw materials as well. That’s our goal.