“The requirements for our partners are revised every three years, and this time, for example, we wanted to make sure that all related risks were mitigated, and topics concerning the climate were further highlighted. Also, we wanted to focus on making the actual document more user-friendly and as easy to understand as possible,” says Nina Norjama, Director of Social Responsibility at UPM.
UPM’s leading principle is that we do not compromise our standards of integrity under any circumstances, and we expect the same from our suppliers and third-party intermediaries. Our commitment to integrity is stated in our Code of Conduct, which was renewed in 2019. Accordingly, the Supplier and Third-Party Code was aligned and updated in 2020.
Internal training and new sourcing tools
Another focus area in the renewal was to make sure, firstly, that everyone within UPM is familiar with the requirements set for suppliers and third parties. Also, all those working with partners and, for example, involved in negotiating contracts, should understand The Supplier Code on a detailed level. This has required organising extensive internal training sessions and producing e-learning materials.
“Similarly, we want to ensure that our partners and suppliers are better informed of these documents and understand that they need to accept and comply with the requirements. This has been made easier with the renewal of UPM’s sourcing process and purchasing systems. From now on, a new digital platform requires all suppliers to register and agree to comply with UPM Supplier Code before they can enter into an agreement with us,” Norjama says.
Practical guide offers real-life examples
Besides updating The Supplier and Third-Party Code itself, a revised practical guide, with examples and good practices for its implementation, is now available on UPM’s website in 22 languages. The practical guide should also help suppliers to promote the same requirements in their own supply chains.
“For example, the practical guide now gives concrete suggestions on how our suppliers can minimise their negative environmental impact. Also, previously we simply referred to the ILO’s fundamental conventions as our requirement for working conditions, and now we tell our suppliers what the conventions mean in practice, such as keeping the working hours reasonable,” Norjama explains.
Based on supplier risk assessments, UPM evaluates the activities of selected suppliers in more detail, for example, through annual surveys and audits. If any gaps are noticed in the supplier’s performance, they are required to take corrective measures.
“Suppliers can then suggest corrective actions themselves, or we can help them in the right direction. For example, in occupational safety, we often explain our own practices and suggest solutions,” Norjama says.