Forest industry environmental and responsibility commitments progress report: significant progress made towards meeting goals

News |

The forest industry’s environmental and responsibility efforts are bearing fruit. According to the recently-published second progress report, favourable development has been seen with regard to all objectives. Investment into environmental protection continues to grow both in forests and at production facilities.

Well managed environmental and responsibility affairs are a competitive factor for the forest industry. The forest industry agreed on shared environmental and responsibility commitments already in 2012.

“As far as we know, we are the only sector in Finland that has taken such broad measures to jointly commit to voluntarily developing operations with regard to environmental and responsibility issues,” says Tiina Vuoristo, Manager, Sustainability, at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

The sustainable use of forests is the cornerstone of the forest industry’s operations. The forest industry has set a target of improving the living conditions of threatened forest species so that a smaller share of the species that were identified as being threatened in 2010 is still under threat in 2020. The forest industry is in the middle of a five-year Forest Environment Programme, which aims, for example, to increase the amount of decayed wood in commercial forests and to better promote forestry practices that take into account biodiversity in peatlands and mineral soils.
In 2016, 86 per cent of the wood used by the forest industry was certified, which means that the 2020 target of 80 per cent has already been met. For continued improvement, measures must be taken to ensure that the surface coverage of forest certification in Finland remains at a high level, and that the share of certified wood imports grows.

The forest industry’s strong focus on environmental protection continues

The efficient use of raw materials and the employment of side streams, as well as the recyclability of products, are bioeconomy principles, which are a crucial component of forest industry operations. A growing share of production side streams is processed further. This has resulted in a halving of landfill waste over the past five years.

The chemical oxygen demand (COD) of wastewaters from production facilities has dropped by 5% relative to production compared to levels seen in 2011. The objective is to reduce COD by 10% by 2020. Wastewater load is reduced through the modernisation of treatment facilities and processes as well as through the improved management of disruptions.

The forest industry’s financial investment into environmental protection is substantial.

“Over the past six years, forest industry facilities have spent about EUR 120 million a year on environmental investments and on other environmental protection costs,” says Fredrik Blomfelt, Acting Director, Environment, at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

Good progress has been made with targets related to energy use. In 2016, renewable energy accounted for 84 per cent of the forest industry’s energy production, up from 78 per cent in 2011. Voluntary energy efficiency agreements have also led to excellent results: the forest industry’s efficiency measures have resulted in energy savings of over 4 terawatt hours a year.

The forest industry’s second progress report regarding its environmental and responsibility commitments as well as environmental statistics for the pulp and paper industry are available online.

For further information, please contact:
Fredrik Blomfelt, Acting Director, Environment, fredrik.blomfelt@forestindustries.fi, tel. +358 40 705 7389
Tiina Vuoristo, Manager, Sustainability, tiina.vuoristo@forestindustries.fi, tel. +358 40 542 5365

Additional information

Fredrik Blomfelt

Manager, Environment, Acting Director

+358 40 705 7389