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UPM Raflatac has improved its circular economy performance, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s current Circulytics assessment.

The assessment, which scores UPM Raflatac at a B-plus, reveals that the company has made strides in enabling circularity through innovation and material sourcing, and with a strong vision for a decarbonised company.

However, despite improving on last year’s score of C, the assessment report notes the company still has work to do in increasing the proportion of energy from renewable sources and scaling up the sourcing of non-virgin materials.

The Circulytics assessment indicates that UPM Raflatac has succeeded in mapping out the materials sourcing of the entire product portfolio, which puts the company in a strong position to manage material choices.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s digital Circulytics tool gives companies the most comprehensive picture of their circular economy performance. By using company-level data and applying insights and analysis from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Circulytics helps to highlight opportunities for innovation and allows companies to track their progress.

The report also noted that UPM Raflatac's ‘Beyond Fossil Fuels’ strategy provides a strong vision for a decarbonised company: “It is important to ensure that this strategy goes beyond the aim of shifting to bio-based materials and goes into an actionable level of detail on how silviculture practices, product design, recirculation processes, and business models contribute to circular outcomes. It is promising to see that all innovations are evaluated according to sustainability criteria.”

Additionally, the report stated that scaling up the sourcing of non-virgin materials should be a priority.

It went on to say that, “UPM Raflatac’s existing label waste recycling service RafCycle offers a promising closed-loop solution, and scaling this would accelerate the company’s drive for material circularity.”

According to the report, it will be crucial to collaborate with suppliers of the biobased alternatives to shift production of these materials from “sustainable” to “regenerative” in line with the Circulytics definition.

The report also went on to encourage the use of more renewable energy in the company’s manufacturing facilities. Currently, five of the company’s 10 factories around the world are fully powered by renewable electricity. Expanded renewable energy use is an ongoing target for UPM Raflatac’s Biofore Site initiative.

“Going further we need to develop our capability to have hard data available in certain areas and that’s something we have been working on and developing and we still have work to do,” said Ronja Dorairaju, specialist, sustainability, UPM Raflatac.

Ronja Dorairaju, specialist, sustainability, UPM Raflatac
Ronja Dorairaju, specialist,
sustainability, UPM Raflatac

Robert Taylor, sustainability director, participated in the sounding board developing the Circulytics tool and said, “Circularity is core to our business strategy and the tool has provided a valuable insight into our performance and where we are on our journey. It was also rewarding to collaborate with industry colleagues to develop the methodology, share experiences and find new ways to tackle some common challenges.”

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has recently announced the launch of the next Circulytics update to be released in October 2021, which will provide more advanced functionality and a more holistic look at an organisation’s circularity.

“UPM Raflatac has continued to participate in developing the Circulytics methodology and I am glad they can find value from completing the assessment. We look forward to seeing the next steps of UPM Raflatac's transition to a more circular way of doing business,” added Jarkko Havas, lead of insight and analysis at Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

UPM Raflatac is a signatory to The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

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