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Blog | 09/10/2020 06:42:00 | 3 min Read time

There is no “going back” — let’s create a sustainable future together

Vera Bartsch

Manager, Sustainability, UPM Raflatac

Climate change is here to stay. But the great news is: we get to decide how we act now. Since COVID-19 hit around the world, we have not only seen a great deal of uncertainty and suffering—we have also seen what is possible. And we have a choice today to either go back to the normal we knew before or to create a new future beyond what we thought possible.

In 2020, I have heard far too often that now is not the time for sustainability as we face a crisis with COVID-19 and the expected recession that pushes sustainability into the background. But if there ever was a time when we need to take positive climate action for a sustainable future, it is right now. We have the chance to literally save the world.

Every person and every organization needs to act now—no one is too small to effect change. We cannot rely on frontrunners in sustainability to do it all or ask politicians to force change. Even as only one person, I can create change with my own decisions as a consumer, effectively voting every time I decide what to buy and, maybe even more importantly, what not to buy. And if only one person changes their behavior because of what I do differently, that is another piece of the puzzle.

Effecting change as individuals and as organizations

As an organization, we at UPM Raflatac get to make these decisions as well. We have already subscribed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We’re committed to the UN Global Compact Ambition for 1.5°C to mitigate climate change, and we’re a signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. But what does that mean in practice?

We enable you to influence the footprint of your packaging with the label materials you choose—whether you want to optimize resource usage or enhance the recyclability of your packaging. We help you understand the environmental footprint of your label choices and we offer our recycling services for your label waste, no matter where in the value chain you are. More pieces of the puzzle to create a sustainable future.

Beyond fossils is not only a nice idea but part of our DNA. We do not have a sustainability strategy, but a business strategy in which sustainability is the strongest driver. What drives you?


Collaboration is key to take positive climate action

Can we achieve our sustainability targets on our own? Nobody can—collaboration is key. We collaborate with our own suppliers and partners in developing new solutions and provide services and products to our label printer customers and brand owners looking for sustainable solutions in their packaging.

Only to name a few examples: we have partnered with the Carbon Trust that verified our UPM Raflatac RAFNXT+ paper portfolio to enable positive climate action. We provide ISCC-certified label materials in our UPM Raflatac Forest Film™ as well as our new UPM Raflatac PP C-PCR. Besides our products, we have partnered with WWF Poland since 2012 for the “Rivers for Life” and “River Guardians” initiatives, now enriching our cooperation by jointly working together for a circular economy.

In the first eight months of 2020, we have seen a change that never seemed possible. Some children in cities with strong air pollution saw a blue sky for the first time. Companies can change the label material when another one is not available—why not change deliberately with sustainability in mind from now on?

Let us all build on this to create our future in line with our earth we are lucky enough to live on. And if you only remember a few words from this blog, let’s go with these:

Sustainability is not something you ALSO do, it is HOW you do EVERYTHING.

Watch the webinar recording on "Take positive climate action with sustainable packaging"

Sustainability speeds us on the way to recovery

We need to get the circle spinning 

Labels matter in the post-COVID world




Vera Bartsch

Vera Bartsch

Manager, Sustainability, UPM Raflatac | "There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen
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