March 7, 2005

UPM to harmonize chain of custody systems to show real percentage of certified fibre

UPM has announced plans to implement a generic chain of custody covering all forest certification schemes at all of its mills worldwide. This will allow the company to show the real share of certified fibre in its products. Chain of custody is a verified system for tracking the changes in custodianship of forest products and value-added products during the transportation, processing and distribution chain from, the forest floor to the end user.

UPM buys wood and fibre material from forests certified according to several schemes. Almost all of its mills have either a PEFC or FSC-certified chain of custody in place. While there are more than 50 different forest certification schemes worldwide, only these two chain of custody systems are recognized internationally. The lack of mutual recognition has caused problems in reporting the real share of certified wood, and makes it difficult for customers to decide which chain of custody to choose.

"UPM's Nordland paper mill is a good example of the restrictions of the present chain of custody systems," said Jaakko Sarantola, UPM's senior vice-president of forestry and wood sourcing. "The mill uses pulp from both PEFC and FSC-certified sources, but the Nordland mill's PEFC chain of custody means that the FSC material is classified as non-certified. With this new model UPM will be able to tell its customers the real percentage of certified fibre in their products. Furthermore it offers them the chance to use the chain of custody of their choice," he explained.

Based in Finland, UPM has 22 paper and pulp mills in eight countries and 30 wood products production units in five countries. The company's North American holdings include its Miramichi mill in Miramichi, New Brunswick, and the Blandin paper mill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. In addition, UPM operates production facilities (manufacturing various specialized products such as self-adhesive label stock, siliconized papers and industrial wrappings) in four U.S. states, as well as Canada and Mexico.

UPM's Caledonia paper mill in the U.K. has obtained dual certification for its chain of custody, and the experience gained during the dual certification of this facility will help as the company begins implementing use of the new model at its Nordland and Rauma paper mills and Pietarsaari pulp mill. This phase will be completed by the end of 2005. The generic chain of custody model will eventually cover all of the company's wood sourcing and production worldwide. It also includes the setting of uniform requirements for the origin of wood of UPM's wood and pulp suppliers.

UPM's mills use about 30 million cubic metres of wood annually; the company purchases more than a million tonnes of pulp from external suppliers. Three paper mills use only recycled fibre. The company aims to increase the use of certified wood in all its mills, and providing credible information on the origin of wood through the whole chain--from forest to the customer--is essential for UPM. This project is one of a number of initiatives by UPM aimed at contributing to sustainable forest practices and the harmonious development of the different forest certification schemes.

PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) is, by area, the world's largest forest certification system. PEFC is an umbrella organization for the mutual recognition of national or regional forest certification schemes which meet internationally recognized requirements for sustainable forest management. Its members are national or regional forest certification schemes based on inter-governmental processes for sustainable forest management around the world. PEFC has endorsed 17 national forest certification systems. More information is available on the PEFC Web site.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1993, whose task is to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. The Council has defined ten general principles of forest management. The actual certification standards are drawn up in accordance with the FSC principles in a national co-operation process. To date, 48 million hectares of forests have been certified according to FSC standards in more than 60 countries. More information is available on the FSC Web site,

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