Nearly three years’ wait due to Covid-19 was over last fall, when UPM had the privilege to host the BFA field trip to Finland. And as they say, good things come to those who wait.
Field trips are an important opportunity for BFA members to explore bioplastic feedstock sourcing issues in a specific region and make connections in the biobased and biodegradable plastic space. In addition, this is an opportunity to learn about natural resources and the conservation priorities of the region. It is not often there is an opportunity to host multinational companies such as those represented by BFA’s membership all at once.
Beyond fossils strategy and sustainable packaging introduced
For UPM it was important to introduce the beyond fossils strategy and sustainable packaging material portfolio from papers to renewable wood-based raw material for bioplastic. In addition, we wanted to create an in-depth understanding of the role of sustainable forest management.
“The key issue mentioned at the end of the two-day visit was transparency and honesty from UPM. UPM was also credited for our ability to talk at a very detailed level. The fact that we can provide a full circle holistic story at the UPM Kaukas mill integrate is a major benefit and that received strong recognition,” says Marko Janhunen, Director, Public Affairs in UPM.
On the ground our visitors, including BFA members and WWF-US experts from the Plastic & Material Science team, got to see how the supply chain goes from sustainably managed forests to pulp and paper mills and continues from a pulp mill to the UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery. The biorefinery produces unique UPM BioVerno naphtha™ which can be used as a renewable raw material for plastic. UPM BioVerno is already replacing fossil raw materials in many end-uses in the packaging, textiles, construction and automotive sectors.