Story | 12/23/2022 00:28:00 | 4 min Read time

Sustainable forest management

The process to manufacture our bio-based ingredients uses wood from sustainably managed forests and side streams from sawmill operations. Using these wood streams reduces CO2 emissions in materials and optimizes the positive CO2 effect of sequestration. Certified hardwood from regional forests and a tight chain of custody make the UPM BioMotion (renewable functional filler) and UPM BioPura (renewable glycol) feedstocks truly sustainable.

When wood from central European forests is transformed into UPM Biochemicals’ bio-based ingredients for consumer products, we ensure that we can follow its journey from forest to biorefinery and into a product. The origin of our wood is always known. And the end consumer can therefore connect their product back to the carbon value of our forests.

All wood we use comes exclusively from sustainably managed forests and is 100% either FSC® or PEFC certified and covered by a third-party verified chain of custody. The certification confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers while ensuring it sustains economic viability. These principles cover a broad range of issues, from maintaining a high level of ecosystem services to securing safe work spaces and income for rural people, as well as monitoring the environmental and social impacts of forest management.

“Our sourcing causes zero deforestation, and our regional sourcing of wood enables local value creation and ensures compliance with high social and environmental standards, says UPM Biochemicals’ Martin Ledwon. “Our wood originates from the selectively harvested forest, not from clear cuts and a substantial part of the forest is always retained in harvesting.”

“We use individual trees so that the remaining trees accelerate their growth – increasing their value as a carbon sink – and new trees grow from the undergrowth and emerge through natural regeneration. This accommodates all types of forest management and timber qualities that are not used for furniture production or other higher-value uses. The carbon bound in wood is further stored in products made from our bio-based ingredients, especially in applications with long service life, such as rubber and durable plastics. Today, more than 60% of beech is used in fireplaces for heat – the least climate-effective use of any wood. Developing new industrial applications in the bioeconomy, based on beech forest thinnings and waste, supports our climate adaptive, responsible forest management goal.”

 

Using renewable carbon from wood to produce bio-based products has a clear benefit in tackling the climate crisis. In contrast to carbon from fossil feedstocks, the renewable carbon from wood is part of the natural carbon cycle, which does not release any additional CO2 into the atmosphere.

UPM’s Leuna biorefinery’s proximity to managed forests and side-stream wood products reduces the length of the supply chain and benefits the locality - providing opportunities for employment, forestry businesses and economic development.

 
 

Beech is considered central to UPM Biochemicals’ long-term strategy to make forests more climate stable. Broadleaved trees such as beech improve forest growth and increase the diversity of forests. By developing an additional use for beechwood, UPM will contribute to increasing the share of native beech trees in German forests. This provides a stable source of wood raw material to fulfil the demand of the biochemical refinery in the long term and will simultaneously increase the biodiversity of forests overall.

At Leuna, in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, UPM Biochemicals is investing 750 million Euros in enabling the transition to renewable carbon for use in the chemical and plastics industries. The bio-mono ethylene glycol - UPM BioPura™ - that will be manufactured in the UPM biorefinery in late 2023 will serve as a base material for various industrial products and consumer goods, such as plastic (PET) bottles, packaging materials, polyester textiles, and engine and battery coolants. A glycol mix can be converted into cleaning agents, de-icing fluids, fragrances, and cosmetics. Wood-based renewable functional fillers - UPM BioMotion™ - are a completely new, sustainable product and alternative to carbon black and precipitated silica in various rubber end uses such as tyres, hoses, rubber floorings and scores of other rubber applications.

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