Blog | 05/08/2024 05:20:55 | 4 min Read time

Pulp is a business based on trust

Paulo Arend

Sales Manager, Europe, UPM Pulp

Person-to-person relationships and sustainability are both integral parts of the pulp business.

I recently received a call from a customer concerning one of the most pressing issues in the industry today – the new EU Regulation on Deforestation-free products (EUDR). He had heard some conflicting statements from another company on how the upcoming requirements affect pulp suppliers and their customers, and turned to me for confirmation. Thanks to our strong relationship built up over the years, he trusted UPM as the right source to clarify what the regulation means in practice. 

This example demonstrates well how a good customer relationship is always based on trust – trust in the product, the service, and the people. This means that customers can rely on the quality of our products as well as on timely deliveries and the accuracy of our documentation. They need to have a sense that our people are here to serve their best interests, utilising our know-how and expertise to make that happen. 

I believe that person-to-person relationships are fundamental in this business and one of the factors that differentiates UPM Pulp in the industry. We treat all our customers equally, engaging them in direct discussions and work in close cooperation with every single one to find optimal solutions to their needs. Even though a lot has changed in the industry, with the operating environment becoming more complex and automated, interpersonal connections remain at the core of what we do. 

Walking the sustainability talk with a proven track record  

The EUDR topic also exemplifies how sustainability has become an integral part of business – and business relationships. Besides following our actions towards a world beyond fossils, our customers are pushing us to go further. We are slowly but surely moving to an economy that will not only be built on financial value, but also on sustainability-based value. The pulp industry is at the forefront of this trend and has much to gain from showing the world that fibres are the raw material of the future. 

We are in a good position as an industry, since forest-based companies have a significant role in promoting sustainable development. Well-managed forests play an essential part in natural carbon and water cycles, biodiversity and the wellbeing of local communities.  

Besides complying with all national and international regulations, UPM is recognised by various institutes as a top performer in terms of sustainability. For example, leading sustainability ratings provider EcoVadis has recognised UPM with a platinum score based on our sustainability performance. Only 1% of the 100,000 global companies assessed by EcoVadis reached platinum level. UPM’s latest score of 87/100 was one of the highest in the Manufacture of Pulp, Paper and Paperboard industry category. 

State-of-the-art technology and sustainability in action 

Recognitions and awards are one thing, but it is concrete actions that really count. I recently visited Uruguay to audit our operations in the country with two of our European customers from the specialties and tissue segments. We toured UPM’s eucalyptus plantations and research centre, the newest of our three tree nurseries, the Paso de los Toros pulp mill as well as our pulp terminal in the port of Montevideo. The customers witnessed first-hand the major benefits that UPM’s operations provide to Uruguay as a whole and were especially impressed by the state-of-the-art technology we employ. 

The audit – one of the first at our new pulp mill – was very successful, recognising the high level of UPM operations and efficiency of our processes and quality standards. The feedback highlighted specifically our sustainability efforts, employee management, transparency, and future-oriented actions, with additional emphasis on the areas of quality and safety. 

Such a strong statement is absolute proof that we are on the right track, and how our sustainability focus is clear and visible to our customers in all our actions. 

 

 

Paulo Arend 
Sales Manager, Europe 
UPM Pulp 

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