Thanks to comprehensive reporting, the environmental load and impact of the forest industry are now well known. In earlier times, the data was probably not reported voluntarily, but rather because of pressure from external stakeholders. But whatever the original reason, this has led to an open and transparent reporting culture.
In Europe today, environmental legislation is more or less the same in every country. Selected industries must comply with the Industrial Emissions Directive and industry-specific Best Available Techniques (BAT) BREFs. The BAT BREF sets the minimum standard of environmental indicators that all pulp and paper companies must measure, report and comply with.
At UPM, we use high-quality, certified laboratories to carry out the measurements. This guarantees professional and reliable analysis. In addition, authorities perform their own measures regularly at the mills. At UPM Changshu in China, we have an online system that allows the authorities to follow-up our performance 24/7. This is what we call maximum transparency. But measurement alone is not enough. The data must be reliable and disclosed publicly.
We take reporting seriously
This is not the first time we have discussed reliable reporting on UPM’s Viewpoint Blog. A few years back, we wrote several blog posts on this important topic, one of them being “Win-win or verifiers’ paradise?” At that time, our main message was that the same reporting principles and requirements for verified data should apply to all companies.
Recently, the number of questions related product level data and its verification has been growing again. If you have followed the latest news, you will know why. Instead of answering all of the questions one by one, we aim to sum up our approach in this blog post.
UPM publishes its responsibility-related data at three different levels: Group, production unit and product level
At Group level, summing up the performance of the six business areas, we rely on UPM’s Annual Report with GRI framework and external assurance. At production unit level, all our pulp and paper mills – even in China and Uruguay – report their environmental performance annually in the EMAS statements (EMAS: EU-level Eco-Management and Audit Scheme), and these are verified by several partners globally.
Customers and consumers are becoming more and more interested in product-related information. In many cases, the third-party verified eco-labels are the solution, as they give information about our sustainable products. However, eco-labels do not exist for all products and we still need to show the environmental data somehow. We have solved this problem by offering product-specific Product Declarations verified by a third party.
To ensure full visibility, all UPM’s environmental and social responsibility certificates and product declarations are available on UPM’s Certificate Finder, published on UPM’s web site. For example, UPM Paper Europe and North America (UPM Paper ENA) has just published its Paper Profiles and Product Safety Profiles on UPM’s Certificate Finder.
When feasible, we also provide third-party-verified product information to various stakeholders and co-operation partners. One good example is WWF and their Environmental Paper Company Index (EPCI) and Check-your-paper (CYP) tool.
We at UPM strongly believe that transparency pays off. Our ultimate aim is that our customers and consumers can trust us and our products.
On top of that, you can use our products as much as you like, and they will neither cause emissions nor use energy when you are using them! At least here in Finland, we are now experiencing the darkest time of the year. Light up a candle, find a good book and enjoy reading. No measurement or verification needed!
Director, Environment and Responsibility,
UPM Paper ENA
Director, Ecolabels and reporting,
UPM Environment and Responsibility