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Raflatac steps up its climate-friendly innovations

UPM Raflatac, a global supplier of innovative and sustainable labeling materials with two plant in Western North Carolina, is  accelerating its journey towards becoming the world's first label materials company beyond fossils.

In practice, the initiative means increasing the use of certified fibers and traceability of biobased materials, fostering reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and developing innovative products and services that help brand owners take positive climate action and go beyond their climate goals, the company said in a news release.

UPM, Raflatac’s parent company, is among the first forest industry companies committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5 °C to take tangible actions to mitigate climate change. UPM has also joined the Climate Pledge, which commits the company to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040. For its part, UPM Raflatac aims to reduce or replace virgin fossil sources of carbon by applying the principles of reduce, recycle, renew, and reuse through responsible sourcing, sustainable operations and logistics, and innovative products and services.

“Our ambition is also about designing better solutions for the packaging industry through the smart use of materials and enhanced recyclability and reuse," said Ashley Drew, sustainability manager for UPM Raflatac, Americas. "For us, climate has been a strategic issue for a number of years, so we have already made significant headway in our climate ambitions."

UPM Raflatac has taken big steps to make its production more sustainable. The Mills River factory plus five of ten others around the world are fully powered with renewable electricity. As a whole, the company has reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of its production sites by 47 percent since 2015. Furthermore, a high share of UPM Raflatac’s products use certified materials from forests that are managed as carbon sinks.

“The time for incremental improvements has passed and the industry must take bold steps to drive effective climate initiatives,” Drew adds.

In an addition to its two plants in the area, the company operates an office in Biltmore Park.