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UPM Recognized by FAO for Exemplary Forestry in Uruguay

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UPM, Finland, has received recognition from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for its exemplary forest management practices. The recognition was conferred by the Forestry General Direction of Uruguay as part of a National Workshop titled "Methodological Transfer of Exemplary Cases of Sustainable Forest Management." 

The acknowledgement followed a thorough investigation of various aspects of the company’s production chain conducted by a panel of experts from the INIA (Agribusiness Research Institute), the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of the Republic of Uruguay, and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. The panels studied the four fundamental dimensions of forestry: 
  • Social. Local development contribution, employment quality and safety, respect of rights, social inclusion, appreciation of cultural diversity and local knowledge 
  • Economic. Usage diversification and the value add of products and forestry services
  • Environment. Biodiversity conservation, innovative preservation and protection mechanisms, initiatives to increase environmental benefits and appreciation of environmental services
  • Governance and technical aspects. Diversity in management processes, innovative alliances and technical aspects of forestry management. 
Vicente Plata, officer in charge of FAO Uruguay stated that "exemplary cases of sustainable forestry management serve as examples to showcase knowledge, capabilities and good practices in social, environmental and governance matters for better forestry management." 

Álvaro Fitipaldo, UPM Forestal Oriental’s director of forestry operations added that "UPM receives this distinction in a very special year as we are celebrating 25 years of operations in Uruguay. These have been 25 years of sustainable and responsible forestry management that translates as results such as this one, which we are very proud of. Over this time, we have deepened and consolidated our work in fundamental aspects such as social, environmental, economic, and governance and technical matters, developing the rural communities in which we operate." 

UPM’s operations in Uruguay include the Fray Bentos pulp mill, the UPM Forestal Oriental forestry and wood sourcing company, and its two nurseries, as well as the UPM Foundation, which works in cooperation with local organizations to contribute to education, entrepreneurship, and improving the quality of life through projects focusing on the rural areas where the company operates. 

UPM Forestal Oriental owns about 230,000 hectares of land, of which about 60% is planted with eucalyptus. The rest of the land is protected or used for forestry-related infrastructure, cattle grazing, and other non-plantation operations. All of UPM's forest plantations are certified to FSC® and PEFCTM standards. 

Sustainable forestry is one of UPM’s key environmental responsibility areas, and biodiversity is one of the main environmental drivers in the advancement of sustainable forest management practices. Promoting biodiversity is part of everyday forestry and wood sourcing operations as defined in the company’s unique Global Biodiversity Program. 

In Uruguay, UPM’s biodiversity projects include a conservation program for Yatay palm trees growing on UPM Forestal Oriental's land and a program to manage native grasslands with the goal of conserving the Capuchino bird. Moreover, as an active member in the New Generation Plantations project initiated by the WWF, UPM will again co-host the second Uruguayan study tour in November of this year. 

The Fray Bentos pulp mill started operations in 2007 and remains one of the world’s most modern and efficient pulp mills. Its annual production capacity is 1.3 million metric tons of chemical eucalyptus pulp. Besides pulp, the Fray Bentos mill is a significant biomass-based energy producer, its electricity production accounting for 11% of Uruguay’s total energy production. The mill’s wood raw material comes from sustainably managed local plantations. 

In Uruguay, UPM has 550 direct employees and it indirectly employs around 3,400 people. UPM Uruguay’s value chain creates altogether 6,400 jobs and its contribution to Uruguay’s GDP is approximately 1.3%.

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