Story | 07/24/2023 10:07:09 | 3 min Read time

Making it happen at UPM Biofuels: Ramiro Llano develops sustainable agroforestry in Uruguay

Saara Töyssy

Editor, Tulus

Team Manager Ramiro Llano leads a motivated team of five in the UPM Biofuels Growth project in Uruguay. The team’s focus is on developing future solutions and concepts for carbon farming and agroforestry. The ultimate goal, mitigating climate change, keeps the team motivated. However exciting it is to research and create new sustainable business concepts from scratch – it is also a huge challenge. Let’s find out how Ramiro and his team tackles it.

Tell us a little bit about your career at UPM.

I joined UPM and the UPM Biofuels Growth project in Uruguay six years ago. I started as a supervisor in technical farming and then moved on to business development and finally to my current position as the Team Manager. My team’s goal is to develop business concepts and to research feedstocks that could fit the needs of UPM Biofuels and its possible new biorefinery in Rotterdam.

How is the work atmosphere at UPM Biofuels?

Very positive and enthusiastic. Our team in Uruguay has a high degree of interaction, great discussions, and lots of fun. We share a lot and truly enjoy every challenge that comes our way.  We also work a lot in contact with the Biorefining Strategy Team in Finland and the Forestal Oriental Team in Uruguay, with whom we have a close relationship that includes a personal level in addition to our shared work projects.

What motivates or inspires you about your work?

It is inspiring to know that we pursue mitigating climate change by creating new sustainable products and concepts. In our program this means researching and developing the best agricultural practices, concepts and technologies and then incorporating and transferring them with enthusiasm to local farmers and stakeholders. It’s exciting to work and explore with new crops and raw materials.

Although exciting and motivating, creating sustainable business concepts from scratch, is also a huge challenge. Resilience is needed as not all ideas can take off. As a team we support each other in getting through the failures or disappointments and moving forward. In new concept development persistence is needed to overcome the challenges. Confidence in the team and a positive mindset are the keys to success. Also at home I always find great support from my family, which I am grateful for.

Does your work give you opportunities for professional development?

I would say that my own professional development is mainly learning by doing. In this sense I highlight the support and mentoring from my colleagues Pieter Boutmy, Riitta Väisänen and Esa Laurinsilta, and the learnings I get from my other teammates and colleagues from UPM Biofuels and UPM Forestal Oriental. They have all pushed me to grow as a professional and as a person, showing deep commitment to UPM values. To pinpoint a few areas of development I would say I have learned a lot about business development and project management. I have also participated in internal trainings on management and leadership. 

 
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