Story | 09/19/2022 10:05:02 | 6 min Read time

UPM’s WISA plywood – responsibly made from start to finish

High quality WISA plywood products are manufactured according to the strictest sustainability principles. This means you can depend on reliable deliveries, minimized carbon footprint, professional service, and guaranteed compliance with local norms and standards.

WISA plywood products are the trusted choice for many construction industry professionals around Europe. The local production and availability of WISA plywood have been beneficial to customers amidst the recent disruptions in global supply chains. However, there are many more benefits to choosing WISA plywood – let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Made from sustainable raw materials using local bioenergy

When choosing WISA plywood, you can be confident that its wood raw material comes from responsibly managed forests in Finland and the Baltic countries. Often these are local forests close to the mill, and the logs are transported to the mills using floating, rail or trucks. All the raw materials are native tree species – spruce and Baltic birch – that grow well and maintain biodiversity in the local ecosystems. The origin of all wood is always known, and the supplies are covered by a third-party verified chain of custody certificates under the FSCTM (FSC C009856) and PEFC (PEFC/02-31-112).

Manufacturing WISA plywood requires electricity and heat too. At UPM’s plywood mills, more than 90% of the heat is generated with bioenergy. The required heat is produced at the mills’ bio-boiler plants that use the by-products of plywood production, such as bark and wood chips, as biofuel. Furthermore, the ash from the plant can be used locally for soil improvement and as fertiliser.

Reliable and fast deliveries to customers

Finished WISA products are shipped from the mills either directly to the customers or service stocks using rail, road or sea transport. As UPM is a large European company with shipments to many markets, WISA plywood products can be shipped together with the group’s other products, such as paper and timber. The large logistics volume brings added security to deliveries.

To ensure timely and flexible delivery to distributors and end-users, UPM Plywood has also set up several service stocks for key markets. For example, there are local service stocks providing products to customers in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Nordic countries. Each service stock offers a wide and localized selection of WISA products.

Reduced carbon footprint throughout life cycle

From the forest to the customer and beyond, the efficient transport and processing of WISA plywood is also good for the climate and the environment. WISA plywood is a climate smart material that acts as a carbon sink throughout its lifetime with a very low life cycle contribution to fossil CO2 emissions. This has been verified in EPD calculations that cover the product's environmental impact from raw material sourcing to disposal.

To improve further, UPM has set a target of reducing its supply chain emissions by 30 percent against 2018 levels by 2030. As part of this, a fleet of environmentally smart LNG fuelled vessels will start sailing from Finland to Poland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France and Spain in 2022.

Starting from May 2022, all WISA spruce plywood products are manufactured using the WISA BioBond technology that uses wood-based lignin to replace oil-based phenol in the plywood bonding process. This is one concrete action toward reaching the 2030 targets.

Guaranteed compliance with European norms and standards

UPM’s WISA plywood product range is the largest in the European market. All the products are safe and certified. In addition to the voluntary FSC and PEFC certificates, all WISA plywood products comply with the EU Timber Regulation and the UK Timber Regulation that prohibit the trade of illegally harvested timber in the European Union and the United Kingdom, respectively.

All WISA plywood products for construction carry both the CE and UKCA safety marks. These indicate that the product conforms to the requirements and can be freely sold in the European Union (CE mark) and the United Kingdom (UKCA mark). Users can verify the WISA product’s performance from the product-specific Declaration of Performance (CE mark) and Declaration of Conformity (UKCA mark) documents on the website.

In addition, all WISA plywood products for construction have the Finnish M1 emission classification, which ensures that the product is low-emitting. Alongside the European emission classifications such as Germany’s Blue Angel, France’s A+ and Denmark’s Class 1, M1 is one of the most comprehensive ones. The certificate is needed if construction firms want environmental ratings for their buildings, such as BREEAM, LEED or RTS.

Understanding local needs

Although similar across Europe, the local construction standards and practices differ in some respects from one country to another. This is why UPM Plywood has established local offices in key markets. Our local professionals understand the local requirements and business culture and can better help you in finding the right solution for the application. In addition, the professional technical service in Finland assists in solving any technical puzzles that might come up.

Benefiting local communities

As part of the forestry group UPM, UPM Plywood is a Finnish company with headquarters in Lahti, Finland. At each of our plywood mills and sites, the company plays a significant role in the local community by creating jobs and promoting wellbeing that extends far outside the mill gates. Currently, more than 2,000 people are working for UPM Plywood.

Local first-graders visiting Pellos mills.

Local first-graders visiting Pellos mills

Finally, the positives also apply to where the story of WISA plywood begins – the forests. Family forestry is alive and well in Finland, with around 60 percent of the country's commercial forest areas and 80 percent of its roundwood coming from privately-owned forests. There are around 600,000 forest owners in Finland, many of them earning a significant part of their income from the forest. As ownership of the family-owned forest is passed to the next generation, it goes without saying that the forest must be managed with good care.

At UPM Plywood, responsibility is a solid part of everything we do. To learn more about how WISA plywood products deliver responsibility to customers, visit our Responsibility Made Easy website.

Text: Janne Suokas

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