UPM launches collaboration with Aalto Design Factory to promote sustainable design

Press Release 3.6.2021 10:00 EEST

UPM has entered a partnership with Aalto Design Factory to study sustainable design. Aalto Design Factory will investigate the extent that sustainability guides designers’ choices and explore new perspectives and ways of addressing sustainability throughout the life cycle of products and services. For example, decisions on materials are often made already during early design phases, and these have a significant impact on the resulting product sustainability.

UPM is keen to participate widely in research and development promoting sustainability. The core aim of Aalto Design Factory’s research project Design+Sustainability is to find new, effective means of promoting sustainability and to yield new information about how sustainability can be promoted from the earliest stage of the design process in the creation of new products and services.

“It’s great to have UPM enabling research on sustainable design. We at Design Factory are looking into how designers can incorporate sustainability into their work and organisations. This analysis also generates new insights about development trends and views for the future of the field. Sustainability plays a growing role in shaping the work of designers as well as the decisions of consumers, so the theme is very topical,” says Professor of Practice Tua Björklund.

New information about sustainability and design

The cooperation between UPM and Aalto University will provide new, internationally reviewed and published information about sustainability and the steering role it plays in design work, as well as what kinds of sustainability should be considered during the design phase. Design Factory is a global operator, and this study too will be conducted with international stakeholder groups in mind. The results will be made public to ensure that the project is useful to a wide range of operators.

“Design and design thinking have been studied extensively, but comprehensive scientific research on sustainable and responsible design is still lacking. I believe the results will be useful in practice, but there is also an academic need for this kind of research,” says Björklund. The results will be published by autumn 2022.

Ambitious responsibility goals

Sustainability is an important part of Aalto University’s work and research. UPM also has ambitious responsibility targets. As a manufacturer of materials, the company enables its customers and end users to make more sustainable choices.

“In our responsibility work we lean heavily on science. We want to constantly learn more and innovate sustainable products and solutions for the future beyond fossils,” says Sami Lundgren, Vice President, UPM Responsibility. “We want to sharpen our profile as a frontrunner in responsibility by inviting debate around different ways that we can all improve sustainability.”

Responsibility and circular economy play a key role in UPM’s Biofore strategy. “We will generate proven information on what kinds of choices and practices promote sustainable development starting from the early stages of the life cycle of products and services,” says Sami Lundgren. “We believe the information will be useful to everyone involved in the various phases of product design and production. In addition, this nicely supports UPM’s target of including the UN Sustainable Development Goals in its product development.”

The research project is led by Professor of Practice Tua Björklund. Aalto Design Factory was founded in 2008, and its Design Factory Global Network operates in 32 platforms in 25 countries. The experimentation platforms advance new co-creation and innovation practices in the education, research and practice of product development.

This partnership is a part of UPM’s Share and Care programme. The programme focuses on projects that are relevant to both UPM’s business and responsibility goals. The focus areas are: Reading & Learning, Engaging with communities and Beyond fossils initiatives. ​

For more information:
Sami Lundgren, Vice President, UPM Responsibility, tel. +358 40 580 0910
Tua Björklund, Professor of Practice, Aalto University Design Factory
tua.bjorklund@aalto.fi, +358 50 511 3182

UPM, Media Relations
Mon-Fri 9:00-16:00 EET
tel. +358 40 588 3284

We deliver renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood. As the industry leader in responsibility we are committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the science-based targets to mitigate climate change. We employ 18,000 people worldwide and our annual sales are approximately EUR 8.6 billion. Our shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. UPM Biofore – Beyond fossils. www.upm.com

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Aalto University
Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto University has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and nearly 400 professors. Our campus is located in Espoo, Finland. www.aalto.fi/en

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