The year 2020 will go down as one of the most notorious in modern history and easily the most disruptive of this century so far. Not since World War II have countries faced such burdens on their people, health systems and businesses thanks to the challenges posed by the first global pandemic since 1918.
Yet, among the disruption there have been affirming signs of hope and renewal. Our global CO2 emissions have reduced, air pollution is down due to people travelling less and there is a realisation that we must shift to a more sustainable way of living giving us hope that we are well on our way to a world Beyond Fossils.
Bernd Eikens, UPM’s Executive Vice President of Biorefining, says of the year: “2020 has been an exceptional year, but what stands out for me is the fantastic commitment and effort of our team.”
“Our Uruguay growth project moved on at full speed and with high attention to health and safety. We carried out maintenance works at our pulp mills in Finland, and the Fray Bentos pulp mill had a very good year with excellent environmental performance”, Eikens continues.
Throughout the past 12 months, we have covered a number of important topics including the climate crisis, our pulp mills, the construction underway in Uruguay and much more. Here are a few of our favourite stories from a year we will be talking about for the rest of our lives.
Running a pulp mill with 1,000 employees and 500 contractors is a challenge – doing it during a global pandemic requires a team at the very top of its game. We sat down with Vesa Volmari, who is in charge of UPM’s Kaukas Mill in Lappeenranta, to find out what goes in to keeping everyone safe and production optimal.
It has only been 17 months since UPM announced its plans to construct a new 2.1 million tonne greenfield eucalyptus pulp mill. We took a virtual trip to South America and learned about the incredible people who are driving this massive project ahead, despite the many obstacles put in their way during 2020.
Lake Saimaa is the largest of its kind in Finland and a source of huge pride for the people who live in the area. It provides work, numerous leisure opportunities and a home for the Saimaa ringed seal, or saimaanorppa. UPM is constantly working to ensure the lake stays clean and healthy. Find out more in our article from September.
The Covid-19 pandemic has meant people all over the world are turning to online shopping by the millions. What has that meant for an industry that was already exploding before the virus hit? In August, we took an in-depth look at what is happening in the world of e-commerce world and how pulp is playing a critical role.
UPM’s second mill in Uruguay is beginning to take shape, but our responsibility goes far beyond a pulp mill and its employees. The mill, with it forestry and logistics operations, will create around 10,000 new jobs, which will require new transport links, accommodation and infrastructure across the region. With these many benefits come some social issues that simply cannot be ignored. This article took a deep dive into the subject.
What will 2021 bring?
“Looking back at these articles, it reminds us that our teams everywhere quickly adapted to the changing situations in the market, making sure we kept our commitments to customers throughout the year”, Eikens believes.
So, as the world prepares for the second year of an already unique decade, it is time to look forward. “This resilience and positive spirit will give us a strong start into 2021, and the exciting times we have ahead of us!”
“Whatever the shape of the recovery curve will be, we will ride it with the same determination and continue our commitment to growth, sustainability and quality in everything we do”, he concludes.
Text: Craig Houston