UPM and WWF promote the sustainability of wood based biofuels as strong, open and honest partners

12/16/2014 22:00:00

The energy revolution is now a reality and UPM has boldly started implementing an important part of it: to replace fossil fuels with sustainable alternatives. The WWF Energy vision clearly demonstrates that we can produce all needed energy with renewable alternatives by 2050. Biofuels are an important solution of this vision, especially in marine, aviation and heavy duty transport.

The dialogue between UPM and WWF Finland to ensure the sustainability of wood-based biofuels has been extremely constructive. We have been able to talk directly and with open honesty with each other as friends but with constructive criticism. This has been the key to building a broader foundation for the sustainability of wood-based biofuels. UPM and WWF have a long history of working together especially on sustainable forest management. This level of collaboration is also important in the dialogue on wood-based biofuels.

Sustainability of wood-based biofuels must be ensured

UPM and WWF Finland are working together to minimise the impact of wood-based liquid biofuel production on forest biodiversity and carbon stocks, as well as limiting the impact on food production.

Biodiversity must be preserved by protecting sufficient amount of forests and by adhering to the highest possible sustainability standard in the management of commercial forests. The impact of biofuels on the climate must be minimised by creating lower greenhouse gas emissions from biofuel production, by reducing the climate impact caused by the use of forests and by using residue streams as raw material wherever possible.

At EU level, both WWF Finland and UPM promote legally binding, robust and ambitious sustainability criteria for biofuels. In my opinion, UPM's approach demonstrates a powerful example of this.

Improving certification is part of the co-operation

Our co-operation is being followed closely around the world. For example, our commitment to jointly develop current certification practice and to contribute to the development of the RSB certification for wood-based biofuels has been noted and globally well received.

Frontrunners need to have courage and the ability to renew. UPM can clearly demonstrate both. Since our dialogue began, I have thought that it is important to show in Finland that it is possible to produce wood-based biofuels sustainably. If we can not do it here, it is probably not possible anywhere else.

From my office window in Helsinki, I can see the big coal pile of the Hanasaari district heating power plant. It reminds me that we still have a long way to go for a true energy revolution. However, UPM has shown the way forward and how to take small steps every day towards that goal. Responsible corporates make it a reality.