Forest certificates tell about the sustainable origin of wood

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UPM Timber uses certified high-quality Nordic pine and spruce as raw material for its products. The international PEFCTM and FSC® forest certificates are signs of wood's sustainable origin.

About 85 % of Finland's managed forests are certified under PEFC, whereas the continuously growing FSC certificate covers only a few percent. All UPM's own forests are certified. In addition, UPM's FSC group certificate (FSC C 109750)  is in steady growth with over 200 000 hectares of managed forests already registered under the group certificate. 85 % of all wood & wood fibre used by UPM originates from certified forests.  

We interviewed Sami Oksa, director of stakeholder relations and previous environmental manager of UPM Wood Sourcing & Forestry on verifying the origin of wood:  

Why is it important to verify the origin of wood?

The origin of wood is one of the most important KPIs of responsible operations. The information on the origin of wood proves that the wood used in UPM products does not originate from e.g. conservation areas, tropical natural forests or from other unsustainable sources. By knowing the origin of wood, we can always be sure that the most important aspects on sustainable forestry are fulfilled and that these aspects can also be verified afterwards.  UPM is a frontrunner in verifying the origin of wood and today, the company can track 100 % of the origin of the wood and wood fibre sourced by UPM and used in UPM products.

How do you track the origin of wood?

When tracking the origin of wood, the key is to follow the wood supply chain backwards all the way back to the area where the tree originally grew. If you can do this, you can always track the origin of wood. The origin is usually followed with the support of company's own IT system. The information of a tree's each step is saved to the IT system. This enables us to track the origin of wood or wood fiber used in a single product from customer all the way back to the distributor, to the mill, to the wood truck and to a single forest stand.

How carefully do you transfer the information of the wood origin in the supply chain?

A tree and a product made from wood always carries the information of the origin. This means that each party in the supply chain has its own dedicated sign in the IT system. This information is linked to the wood and is transferred from one IT system to another in the supply chain. This way, the information of the wood and wood fibre used as raw material in a product can always be tracked and followed backwards to the place where a single tree has grown, e.g. to a forest stand.

What kind of wood is illegal?

Illegal wood can be for example wood that is logged against law or sourced from protected area. Illegal wood can also be stolen or sourced from a forest estate without forest owner's permission. In addition, we talk about illegal wood when the taxes or other legal payments has not been payed. One of the most important responsibilities of forest industry is to always be able to prove the sustainable and legal origin of wood. An independent third-party verifies the chain of custody system every year.

Read more:

Key entrepreneurs form an essential part of our responsible supply chain

Learn more about forestry and wood-sourcng at UPM