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UPM strengthens the foundations of the bioeconomy with a new biodiversity commitment
UPM has today published a new biodiversity commitment, which is one of the company's responsibility targets for 2030. The new commitment and programme will be presented today at the Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
The aim of the commitment is to continuously improve the diversity of UPM's own forests in Finland. The company owns 570,000 hectares of forest, and managing these forests sustainably is essential to ensure the supply of wood.
UPM's own forests are strategically significant for wood supply, forest research, development of industry's best practices and training of employees. Improving biodiversity is part of the company's sustainable forest management. This protects water resources, promotes multiple use of forests and ensures the growth of forests that act as carbon sinks to mitigate climate change.
"Preserving biodiversity is the prerequisite of life. Moreover, it creates a basis for a sustainable bioeconomy and its limitless opportunities. Preserving biodiversity has been the key focus area in developing modern forestry. Now is the right time to announce this target which upgrades our approach to very practical collaboration and develops monitoring and verification methods. With this target and our actions, we want to open up new opportunities for different land uses that are guaranteed not to endanger natural resources or habitats. This is the only safe and sustainable way of moving from a fossil-based economy to bioeconomy," says Timo Lehesvirta, Sustainable Forestry Lead, Forest Global, UPM.
"It has been widely discussed that we need to mainstream biodiversity in all sectors of society. It's the only way to stop nature loss. Initiatives from the business sector play an important role in this work. I wish that the example set by UPM encourages also other actors in this field to give their own commitments," says Kimmo Tiilikainen, Finland's Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing.
UPM has carried out its biodiversity protection programme in company forests for over 20 years. The programme is based on an analysis of the essential differences between natural forests and commercial forests. Thanks to the programme, the ratios of tree species have diversified and the amount of deadwood, which is valuable to many forest species, is increasing. Some species are specialised to grow in conditions that differ from the surrounding forest environment. There are 38,000 protected habitats in UPM forests, and the programme protects all of them. Additionally, the programme develops new forest regeneration methods and collaborates with stakeholders in order to, for example, restore mires and small waterways.
The implementation of the biodiversity target and related actions are monitored by an independent group of researchers in the field. The researchers focus on the suitability of the actions taken and the use and development of measurement methods.
"Stopping the deterioration of natural diversity and turning the direction is one of the most important targets of our lifetime," says Liisa Rohweder, the Secretary General of WWF Finland. "To achieve this target, we need everyone's efforts. UPM's commitment is a bold and necessary step. It is important that the indicators used by UPM are strongly aligned with the UN's Aichi-biodiversity targets. We will closely monitor the implementation of UPM's biodiversity program," Liisa Rohweder continues.
The biodiversity programme will be carried out according to the annual plan, and the operations and results will be reported transparently.