To find potential emission reductions, UPM Plywood is continuously scrutinising every link of its value chain. Continuous improvement is essential: there is always room to do things a little better!
A recent initiative to reduce the indirect emissions caused by UPM Plywood but generated elsewhere – known as scope 3 emissions – focuses on the work of the subcontractor at the log yard. The machinery used to transport, sort and prepare wood for the UPM plywood mills in Pellos and Savonlinna in Finland now runs on renewable diesel instead of fossil-based fuels.
The idea to change to biofuels occurred to Director for Wood Procurement at UPM Plywood Juha Korhonen when it was time to negotiate a new subcontractor deal for the UPM Savonlinna plywood mill a few years back.
“We required that the bids included a renewal of the machine fleet and a shift to fossil-free fuels. After going through the offers, we chose the most competitive and credible deal,” explains Korhonen, a seasoned woodsman with nearly 40 years of experience in the forestry business.
The same criteria will adhere to the upcoming bidding rounds for other UPM Plywood mills.
70% emission reduction
The new low-emission log yard practices have been in effect since the beginning of 2022 at the Savonlinna mill and since the spring of 2023 at Pellos. The bio-based diesel used for the machines emits 90 per cent less CO2 than fossil diesel. In addition, all the main machines are new, and as they weigh less, they are more fuel-efficient.
These initiatives have already resulted in a 70 per cent emission reduction of all UPM Plywood mills’ log yard contracting emissions, says Environmental Manager at UPM Plywood Sanna Kontinen. Moreover, UPM Plywood and the logging contractor have agreed to continuously find new ways of reducing energy consumption and emissions.
“Now we have a new machine in Savonlinna, a Caterpillar 988 hybrid. It’s like a hybrid car with an electric motor that the internal combustion engine uses, and the idea is to test whether we can achieve an even lower total fuel consumption,” says Korhonen, who does not have one negative word to say about the modern machinery.
“The benefits do not stop at the lowered emissions,” adds Kontinen. “These newer vehicle types also reduce noise and the risk of leaks, for example.”
Emission cuts add value for customers
Renewing the fleet for logging yard subcontractors at all UPM Plywood mills is not cheap. But responsibility is a core commitment that creates value for the customers.
“Reduced emissions from log yard operations help us fulfil our promises,” says Korhonen.
Kontinen points out how UPM Plywood is part of a greater value chain where every emission reduction counts for all parties involved.
“Whenever we reduce emissions from any sub-area of our operations, it shows as a decreased carbon footprint of the WISA plywood products’ entire life cycle. Our customers benefit when the carbon footprint of their raw material is as low as possible because it will minimise their total emissions,” she says.