Sunday, March 4, 2012
Case study no 3
The third case was about the Fray Bentos mill in Uruguay, close to the border with Argentina. It involved already a long history of dispute on the subject of how much the mill will pollute the Uruguay river and should it be built or not. In the end it was built and is now owned by UPM, even if it was built by two other companies. The mill employs several thousand people. It's interesting to go to google maps and see that the UPM area is almost as big as the town Fray Bentos itself. UPM area is the gray part on the right of Fray Bentos.
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I think that the most concern about this pulp mill was the water use and the pollution of the river. UPM is actually saying that water is one of their key resources in their operations and it seems they are trying to account for their water footprint. However, it is quite bad presented in this video. When they are saying that 99% of water comes from their supply chain and only 1% from their direct operations it sounds like they try to push the blame on the supply chain. Of course they should be responsible for their suppliers as well! Moreover, the mill in Frentos Bay is a pulp mill and "wood pulp" goes under the 99%, so how is that not under their "direct operations"?
You can read more about their water footprint accounting here. Again, it looks good but how easy it is really for stakeholders to obtain any relevant information from the report?