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UPM Raflatac’s revolutionary Forest Film label material wins Innovation in Sourcing Award from Sustainable Packaging Coalition

UPM Raflatac’s Forest Film™ label material has received the 2020 Innovation in Responsible Sourcing Award from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). The announcement came on Wednesday, September 30, at the SPC Innovator Awards ceremony as part of this year’s SPC Advance virtual event. Forest Film is the world’s first polypropylene film label material derived entirely from wood-based sources based on mass balance approach and brings UPM Raflatac’s vision of “labeling a smarter future beyond fossils” to life.

"Forest Film deserves attention for being a notable introduction of bio-based polypropylene with a well understood feedstock and an assurance mechanism for responsible sourcing,” says Adam Gendell, Associate Director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. "It is a significant advancement in the field of bio-based plastics, and we feel it's earned its status as the winner of Innovation in Responsible Sourcing in the 2020 SPC Innovator Awards.”

The innovative sourcing begins with UPM Raflatac’s sister company, UPM Biofuels, who convert pulp production residue called crude tall oil from sustainably managed forests into renewable naphtha, a drop-in raw material for the chemical industry. This product, called UPM BioVerno, is sent to a resin supplier and then a film supplier to convert it into the filmic face material UPM Raflatac then manufactures into the laminate label material known as Forest Film.

It is an International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS-certified product, meaning it uses sustainable resources to replace an equivalent amount of fossil resources in the production process – the mass balance approach. Forest Film products are proven to deliver savings on greenhouse gas emissions. When a comparison is made between a standard label construction and Forest Film, the carbon footprint, including biogenic carbon, significantly reduces emissions up to 66 percent (based on UPM Raflatac’s life cycle assessment study critically reviewed to be in accordance with ISO 14040/44 and PAS2050 standards)?.

Forest Film has identical performance to traditional plastic film label materials. It is now available as either polypropylene or polyethylene, in both clear and white films for a number of packaging end-uses.

“Thank you to the Sustainable Packaging Coalition for this tremendous honor,” says Tyler Matusevich, UPM Raflatac’s Sustainability Manager for the Americas. “Responsible sourcing is top priority for our company because raw materials are one of our biggest sources of environmental impact. Forest Film answers our customers’ and brand owners’ needs for using renewable instead of fossil-based raw materials. Thank you to all the SPC members who continue to drive the sustainable packaging industry forward. Let’s collaborate, let’s learn together and let’s change the world!”

UPM Raflatac’s collaboration project with Sustana Fiber to recycle label liner waste into new label face material was also named a finalist for the SPC’s Innovation in Recovery Award 2020. This recycled label face stock contains up to 30 percent recycled fiber made by Sustana Fiber from waste label liner collected by UPM Raflatac’s RafCycle™ service and other mixed paper waste collection streams.