The UPM Raflatac Asia-Pacific team has been a real changemaker in achieving the company’s climate ambition and currently holds the highest share of FSC-certified paper used – nearing a full 100%. How did they manage to achieve this?
“In the early stages of our ambitious project in 2018, the share of FSC-certified fibre used in our paper products was below 40%. In only 18 months, we managed to increase it all the way to 94%. The aim is to reach a full 100% in the very near future,” says Juan-Manuel Lopez Ruiz, Director, Paper Laminates, APAC.
The whole Asia-Pacific organisation, from sourcing to sales, strongly engaged in this transformation journey. The smooth delivery of the many-sided project can be attributed to the commitment of the entire team. All team members pulled together with amazing enthusiasm, making it their common goal.
Wide scope of delivery
“After drilling down to the actions needed to fulfil our sustainability promise and analysing the impact of the changes on our business, we realised that it would shake all the pillars of the company. This was combined with the reality that we live in the Asia-Pacific, where countries have widely differing regulations and geopolitical cultures,” Ruiz says.
Although sustainability has taken hold across the world, it is important to find the local angle. “Alignment and commitment played an important part in getting everyone involved, and we also got a lot of support from the management. But most importantly, the strong engagement of our people was the key to success,” Ruiz observes. “Also, it was crucial that the front-end sales team understood why we were doing this and how it should be communicated to the customers.”
Full transparency expected
The focus now is on consumers and meeting their needs. Ruiz says that all products have been designed based on the FSC certification since 2018. It is also important to find the additional sustainability features that can further differentiate UPM Raflatac.
“Nowadays, consumers expect full transparency; the ones in East and Southeast Asia are no exception. Thanks to our journey, we have established ourselves as the go-to company in the region, with certification systems that allow us to ensure that our fibre sourcing has no links to historical deforestation,” Ruiz adds.
“The response from the customers has been very welcoming. Many companies are looking for ways to protect their brand and seek suppliers with credible validations that can be passed on to the end-users.
“Our current spearhead product RAFNXT+ is FSC certified but it is also the world’s first label material verified by the Carbon Trust to help mitigate climate change. Now that these labels are also available as carbon neutral, we have taken one more step towards a future beyond fossils.”