UPM wants to better listen to and understand stakeholders' expectations. But how to reach a younger audience and make the forestry company's objectives better known among them?
With this in mind, UPM started a three-year co-operation with The Guides and Scouts of Finland in 2020. The aim was to increase long-term dialogue and awareness particularly on climate change and sustainability between young people and businesses and decision-makers.
"Young people in particular are increasingly concerned about climate change, and that is why we want to contribute to a constructive discussion about solutions and alternatives," says Saara Tahvanainen, Vice President, Stakeholder Relations, UPM Fibres.
Making young people's voices heard
The partnership included several collaborative projects. In the Climate Backpack project, social media influencers gathered young people's ideas on how everyone can act for a more sustainable future. Messages were also collected on the campaign's own website and social media account.
In the end, young people sent hundreds of messages, highlighting their fears about the climate and their concern that problems will be left to future generations to solve. On the other hand, the young people also shared encouraging tips for climate-responsible behaviour. The messages were packed in a backpack, which was handed over to Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin in February 2022. The Climate Backpack project received three million views on social media in 2022 and the communications around the topic will continue in 2023.
Young people's voices were also heard in the company's, the Erätauko Foundation's and The Guides and Scouts of Finland's Erätauko discussions, where a constructive dialogue on forests and sustainable forest use took place. While some of the discussions were moved online due to COVID-19, all of the dozen encounters were fruitful.
"The young people were happy that we were ready to discuss and listen to their messages. In the confidential discussions, the young people asked us to do more to promote sustainable forest use and biodiversity, and we are certainly trying to respond to these requests as best we can," says UPM Forest’s Communications Manager Virpi Mäenanttila, who participated in the discussion.