Business and Biodiversity: UPM



UPM is one of the world’s largest forest owners and wood users. The company has a long forest history and its appreciation of nature and good forest management is deeply rooted. Biodiversity has been one of the main drivers for UPM when developing sustainable forest management practices. Joining the ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative was therefore a logical step for UPM. Forest biodiversity provides UPM with its main raw material, wood, and gives future options for as yet unknown, unutilized resources e.g. bio chemicals. Preserving biodiversity will also help its forests and the species living there to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change.

In line with the signed Leadership Declaration, UPM has developed a global biodiversity programme that covers company owned forests and wood fibre sourcing in different countries. The programme aims to maintain and increase biodiversity in forests as well as promote best practices in sustainable forestry.

The biodiversity programme identified six common key elements considered important for forest biodiversity - native tree species, forest structure, deadwood, water resources, valuable habitats, natural forest. Global targets have been set for each key element that will be implemented through country level targets and local action plans:

The programme started in 2007 and includes biodiversity training for staff, implementation of the country level targets and action plans, the development of monitoring systems and the advancement of biodiversity research through specific projects.


Why does it make economic sense for UPM to be committed to biodiversity preservation? The forest provides not only the wood as raw material, but benefits can be derived also from non-wood products and nature management services.

UPM sees many biodiversity benefits from the implementation of its programme, particularly when referring to the chosen key elements. Native tree species, for example, support higher species diversity than their non-native counterparts and many species are dependent on native tree species for habitat, shelter and food. Deadwood provides important habitat, shelter and food source particularly for insects, especially beetles, fungi and lichens, but also birds, bats and other mammals. Structure that is mixed meets the needs of species that require variety in the distribution of trees either vertically or horizontally in a stand or across the forest. Water ecosystems provide a range of habitats for different mammal, plant, bird and insect species. Fresh waters are also important for drinking water, agriculture and industry.

There are several business benefits from connecting biodiversity and the bottom line. The forest provides wood as the raw material used by UPM, an ecosystem service worth about € 6 billion annually. Income derived from the sale of non-wood products and nature management services provides an additional source of revenue generation. From an operational perspective careful site planning and implementation ensures license to operate in the forest. Funding for new investments often requires high conservation values to be protected as part of any agreement. From a regulatory and legal point of view adherence with the law avoids prosecution and safeguards reputation. From a sales and marketing perspective biodiversity management is worth the effort as protecting biodiversity is an integral part of forest certification and that allows UPM to use product labels such as FSC or PEFC. This in turn improves the company’s reputation amongst customers, investors and other key stakeholders.

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FactBox UPM

Helsinki, Finland

Major Products
Energy & Pulp, Paper, Engineered Material

Global turnover 2014
9.8 billion Euro

Global employees
approx. 22,000