Realizing the green economy

Nature provides the resources which are essential to our survival and our economy. Natural resources are the heart of companies’ productivity. Preserving these resources and using them sustainably is crucial for businesses’ long-term sustainability. IUCN has partnered with UPM, a large pulp and paper manufacturing and timber company based in Finland, to establish indicators and standards for incorporating biodiversity conservation into the company’s business model.  

UPM understands that natural systems are much more productive when allowed to thrive and continue their natural diversification. This understanding of the concept of Nature-based Solutions for long-term gain in the context of ecosystem health and economic benefit is one of the reasons why UPM was awarded the Dow Jones Sustainability Award for 2012.

With its global membership and cadre of experts in various fields of conservation, IUCN will help UPM to identify models which can ensure a long-term fiber supply for the company while maintaining high standards and competitiveness. The biodiversity conservation indicators and standards developed in the project will provide concrete documentation on UPM’s efforts to promote achievable and verifiable benefits in the contexts of social, economic, and environmental well-being. UPM contends that by adhering to internal policies aimed at biodiversity conservation, fully integrated as part of their business model, results will not only be positive and desirable, but also profitable. Again, UPM is aware and implementing a management strategy that has its underpinning imbedded in Nature-based solutions and long-term forest management is much more effective with this approach.

In partnership with the IUCN Finnish National Committee and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, represented by the newly elected European Councillor Jonathan Hughes, IUCN will engage rural villages in Finland to assess how rural communities adapt to sustainable economic development through the IUCN Forest Landscape Restoration approach and identify ways for UPM to move towards higher utilization of materials and less waste production.

Detailed information will be gathered to assess UPM’s efforts. Field verification in scoping exercises in both Finland and the United Kingdom has already taken place in 2012. IUCN’s Finnish National Committee and the Scottish Wildlife Trust are integrally involved in helping identify experts suitable for third-party verification. 

The expected results of the project are:

  • An innovative model corporate biodiversity conservation strategy results from UPM’s work;
  • Monitoring results indicate whether the UPM’s biodiversity strategy actually conserves biodiversity;
  • IUCN verifies whether corporations such as UPM can be good stewards of the land;
  • IUCN enhances its credible and trusted knowledge for valuing and conserving biodiversity and this in turn leads to better policy and action on the ground;
  • Tighter relationships and capacity building among existing and prospective IUCN Members.

Implementation period: July-December 2012, in view of establishing longer term cooperation
Partners: IUCN Finnish National Committee, Scottish Wildlife Trust
Contact: Richard Aishton, ENPI FLEG Project Coordinator


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