Manufacturers of paper products, plastics films and labeling materials have good reasons to take a positive attitude toward reducing pollution, encouraging sustainability and making processes more energy efficient. The Finnish conglomerate UPM Raflatac — which has always claimed strong ecological credentials — plans to place the issue of sustainable development ever higher up the agenda. This was announced by Heikki Pikkarainen, president, speaking at the opening ceremony of a new PSA factory in Changshu, China.
“Environmental compliance is a matter of rising importance throughout the whole labeling value chain. Therefore, we have decided to take an active role in developing the sustainability of self-adhesive labeling technology. Moving forward, we will continue to search for new eco-friendly solutions to exceed our customers’ expectations while reducing environmental impact. We’re aiming for a sustainable future.”
UPM Raflatac is currently implementing the environmental ISO 14001 certification process across its factories globally. In effect, it extends a policy of environmental management which has been a corporate priority since the company’s formation in the early 1970s. Pikkarainen said the group had set the benchmark for the entire labeling industry: “We’re continuously researching new ways of reducing waste at all stages of our products’ life cycles, from the use of raw materials to our customers’ processes.” A product that typified this approach was UPM ProFi, a wood-plastic composite manufactured mainly from surplus materials from laminate production.
The Changshu factory is located next to a UPM paper mill on the River Yangtze, about 60 miles west of Shanghai. It will supply paper and film label materials for markets in China and the Asia Pacific region. It has its own power plant, effluent treatment plant and a harbor. The company says the US$40 million it cost to develop and build the factory forms part of a global growth and investment strategy. This includes a new facility under construction in Dixon, IL, USA, and the doubling of film production capacity in Europe carried out in 2006.