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Blog | 05/02/2022 06:14:43 | 3 min Read time

World Forest Congress gives momentum to UPM Forest Action

Sami Oksa

Director, UPM Stakeholder Relations

Two years after the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, the world is rapidly moving into the post-pandemic era. Relief from coronavirus restrictions and the possibility of physical meetings are replacing exhausting remote meetings and work.

The era of distancing brought many good things, and we moved towards technological change at a fast pace. Personally, I found that in a remote world, sparring and spontaneous conversations diminished. I myself realised that in the remote world, interactions and spontaneous conversations diminished. Interacting with forest stakeholders is finally getting underway with our participation in the World Forestry Congress in early May.

World Forestry Congress brings together global forest stakeholders

The World Forestry Congress is the sixth annual congress organised by the FAO, and this time around it will be held in Seoul, South Korea, during the first week of May. The event will bring together governments, NGOs, private sector companies and others interested in forests to discuss forests, their importance and wood sourcing from around the world.

The aim of the congress is to highlight forest-related trends, challenges and best practices, from community forests to global business operations and objectives. Mitigating and adapting to climate change and addressing habitat loss are key actions expected from forests, and the aim is to create synergies and networks around all these topics.

Forests are the foundation of UPM's business, and we are one of the world's largest private landowners. We manage around one million hectares of forests and tree plantations in Finland, Uruguay and the United States. With great power comes great responsibility. Responsibility is at the heart of our strategy and guides us also in wood procurement. Naturally, we want to contribute and also learn.

UPM is committed to responsible forest management

At the beginning of March, we published a new 2030 forest responsibility programme, UPM Forest Action, which guides the company's wood sourcing globally and covers the forests and plantations owned by UPM. The programme has a positive impact on all aspects of sustainable forestry: climate, biodiversity, water, soil and social impact in all four of our wood sourcing regions in Northern and Central Europe, Uruguay and the United States.

But we cannot do it all alone. We need both partners and signals on what the next emerging trends are. Our customers, both forest owners and end users, want to minimise the negative impact of their activities and maximise the positive impact. Forests play an important role in this, as we have set a net positive biodiversity target for the forests we own in Finland and the plantations in Uruguay. This means that our activities will improve biodiversity compared to the past.

Working locally, we are rarely able to see the signals that can be found on other parts of the world. For example, measures to adapt to climate change in forests vary around the world. In Finland, we are increasing the amount of deciduous wood in our forests, but in Central Europe more attention is being paid to the depth of the tree root system to ensure sufficient water supply. Should we in Finland also pay attention to this? That is why we are involved in the World Forestry Congress, building relationships and looking for what may already be right under our nose but we cannot see. Sustainable forestry is a continuous learning process, and we want to be at the forefront of this process, today and in the future.

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