The Finnish forestry company UPM-Kymmene Corporation (UPM) has recently published EMAS environmental statements for four of its sites that, in addition to information regarding environmental performance, also include locally relevant information on societal aspects, as UPM outlined in a press release on 20 June 2017. Many EMAS registered organisations decide to integrate societal and/or economic information into their EMAS environmental statements; the integration of locally relevant information into site-specific environmental statements, however, might be a novelty not only for UPM but for the EMAS community as a whole.
UPM registered its first sites under EMAS soon after the scheme was established in 1995 and has since extended its corporate EMAS registration to sites in Europe, Asia and South America. The sites chosen for the current pilot project are four of UPM’s pulp and paper mills: UPM Changshu paper mill (China), UPM Nordland paper mill (Germany), UPM Kaukas paper and pulp mills (Finland) and UPM Fray Bentos pulp mill (Uruguay). Apart from energy consumption, water usage, and waste generation, the sites’ EMAS environmental statements also provide information on health and safety at work, employee trainings, and collaboration with local communities. In addition to English, all four environmental statements are also available in the local language spoken at the respective sites, i.e. Chinese, German, Finnish or Spanish.
In the company’s press release Gabriele Wende, Director, Environment & Responsibility at UPM explains the reasons for integrating societal information into site specific reporting: “We see ourselves as an integral part of the local communities. Being transparent with the environmental information and the impacts of our operations is very important, but we also want to share the societal aspects and impacts with our stakeholders". UPM will use the feedback from internal and external stakeholders on the new environmental statements to further improve its approach to EMAS reporting.
Societal and/or economic information can be integrated into the EMAS environmental statement in different ways. Depending on the environmental verifier’s accreditation, such information can be either validated in the same way as information on the organisation’s environmental performance, or added in a separate section without being validated. In that case, it is important to clearly distinguish between validated and non-validated information. Conversely, the EMAS environmental statement can also be integrated into a sustainability report to cover the ecological dimension of the company’s sustainability. To find out more, please consult our FAQ section: “How can the environmental statement be linked with a sustainability report?”