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Assessing and promoting biodiversity requires collaboration throughout the value chain

Assessing and promoting biodiversity requires collaboration throughout the value chain

Promoting biodiversity is an inherent part of a forest-based company's operations and responsibility principles. However, the impacts of forest operations on biodiversity are not well characterized using existing life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies. This makes it difficult for businesses to distinguish between well-managed and poorly managed forests in terms of biodiversity.

UPM Raflatac has partnered with Quantis and Nestle Research Centre to study and capture the biodiversity impacts of forestry practices in life cycle assessment. The study shows how biodiversity in the boreal forest can be captured in LCA, allowing users of wood fibre-based products to differentiate between alternative sources of fibre and inform responsible sourcing decision making.

"Quantis actively supports reporting on the environmental impacts of forestry and land use change. Based on a keenunderstanding of biodiversity in the field, we believe this new approach paves the way for businesses to embed biodiversity assessments and lead the sector toward greater environmental accuracy," notes Vincent Rossi, Quantis' LCA expert.

"Biodiversity underpins our economy and our wellbeing. LCA is a commonlyused tool in our industry, yet it doesn't deal with biodiversity. This was a fascinating process that tested our combined expertise and challenged us to come up with a simple enough approach that could inform our decision making," says Robert Taylor, Director, Sustainability at UPM Raflatac. "The result of our efforts supports our Forest Positive approach and clearly demonstrates the importance of sourcing from sustainably managed forests."

Forests provide UPM with the company's main raw materials: wood and wood fiber. UPM has a biodiversity programme in place that aims to maintain and increase biodiversity in forests as well as promote best practices in sustainable forestry and wood sourcing. UPM is running several research projects and case studies in close co-operation with stakeholders aimed at developing methods of promoting biodiversity in commercially managed forests.

Read more about UPM's approach to biodiversity:  

An article based on the study has been published in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment: