UPM Timber and Sumitomo Forestry Group united by dedication to sustainability

For many years, UPM Timber has been a close partner of Japanese company, Sumitomo Forestry CO., Ltd., and this partnership will continue throughout 2020. UPM Timber provides raw material to subcontractors of Sumitomo to make laminated posts and beams, which are then used by Sumitomo in house construction. The company operates in a variety of forestry subsectors, such as forest ownership and management in Japan, timber and other building material businesses, housing, construction and real estate.

- Since the company was founded in 1691, Sumitomo Forestry Group has undertaken many businesses based on the needs of the times, expanding our business scope into businesses such as forestry, distribution of timber and building materials, housing both in Japan and overseas, and biomass power generation. In recent years, we have also been promoting our business for medium- and large-scale wooden construction toward realizing the concept of “Environmentally-Friendly and Timber-Utilizing Cities” that changes cities into forests, explains Akira Ichikawa at Sumitomo Forestry Homepage. Mr. Ichikawa is The Chairman of the Board and Representative Director as of 1 April 2020.  

- Going forward, the Sumitomo Forestry Group will continue to strive toward the realization of a prosperous society together with our corporate brand message “Happiness Grows from Trees,” while creating solutions to social issues and expanding our businesses, he continues.

Strong cooperation despite the distance

UPM Timber primarily supplies redwood from Alholma and Kaukas sawmills to Sumitomo, as well as some whitewood from Seikku sawmill.

- We appreciate Sumitomo Forestry’s ongoing cooperation and their continuous support in our strategic programmes, says Area Director Satoshi Sakashita, who is responsible for sales in UPM Timber’s Japanese market.

- UPM is one of our main suppliers of lamina for Japan. We have also launched a joint project for marketing of UPM products to Asian countries. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the environment on a global scale, and we have practiced sustainable management that leads to the SDGs. We have established timber procurement standards that emphasize sustainability and have set out a goal to handle 100% sustainable timber by the end of fiscal year 2021. We thank UPM for supplying us with sustainable European lumber. We consider UPM as one of our key strategic partners and look forward to working together to create new value for European lumber, says Yoichi Hosoya, Deputy Divisional Manager of Timber and Building Materials Division and General Manager of International Marketing Department.

imagezkaba.pngImage: Sumitomo Forestry and Nikken Sekkei

Concrete jungle to skyscraper forest

Sumitomo Forestry is also known for their ambitious building projects. To celebrate the company’s 350th anniversary, the group hopes to construct a 350-metre skyscraper built primarily with new technology of wooden materials in Tokyo by 2041. This project, named W350, is part of Sumitomo’s broader vision for a future city that blends with forests and nature by increasing the use of timber in the urban area.

Sumitomo Forestry plans to use 90% wooden materials in the W350 project, with steel being used for the remaining 10%. To create an inviting and peaceful atmosphere, the interior structure of the 70-storey building will be made entirely of timber. The building is estimated to store up to 140,000 tons of CO2.

The company has conducted simulation tests and is satisfied that W350 will be earthquake-proof; however, the building’s fire safety features still require some work.

- To accomplish this project, we need to collect results from research and technological development together with our many partners. We are working together on developing and researching construction methods, wood utilization, urban green spaces, sustainability and the benefits of digitalization, explains the spokesperson from Sumitomo’s Tsukuba Research Institute. 

imagegudz8.pngImage: Sumitomo Forestry and Nikken Sekkei

Responsibility as part of everyday life

UPM Timber and Sumitomo Forestry both emphasize the importance of responsibility in all their business. Timber products and wood have a long tradition in both Finnish and Japanese construction, and it is important to preserve and further develop this tradition to meet today’s requirements. Both companies are extremely committed to complying with industry-specific regulations and recommendations that will enable an ecological, healthy and natural use of timber and wood, both now and in the future.

- The root of our Group’s corporate philosophy is Sumitomo’s Business Spirit, which places prime importance on fairness and integrity for the good of society. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our group strongly recognizes the weight of our responsibilities to society, and the importance of conducting sustainable management over the long-term, Mr. Akira Ichikawa concludes.


Main image: Sumitomo Forestry and Nikken Sekkei

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