Fresh ideas for new wood products

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"Fresh innovations in the wood products industry are created by broadminded experts and managers as well as through the open-minded combination of different ideas. In addition to a strong understanding of the markets, the industry needs visionaries and shapers of the future,” said Antro Säilä, Senior Vice President in charge of the Business Environment and Innovation division of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation, at a meeting held at the Wood- and Bioenergy Fair in Jyväskylä on 3 September.  

Säilä pointed out that fresh growth often emanates from miniscule kernels, which is why we should never give up faith. Networked operating practices and new types of business models provide even smaller companies with the opportunity to create fresh products and services. Composite products and new types of structural solutions are examples of areas with strong growth expectations. “The prevailing difficult economic situation should not be allowed to gnaw at our faith in the future – instead, we must ensure that we are fit to take advantage of new opportunities when the economy begins to recover,” he continued.  

Domestic market plays an important role in development    

“The majority of wood products are consumed in construction. The domestic building sector is the Finnish wood products industry’s largest individual market area. People’s housing needs will never become virtual, so growth in this segment is set to continue. The popularity of wood as a building material is based on its good competitiveness,” Säilä said of the development trends affecting wood construction. He also emphasised the importance of understanding the needs and wishes of the customer.  

Over 40% of the wood products industry’s production is consumed in Finland, which is why the domestic market’s role in experimentation and the development of new products is so important. This is why suitable locations and projects for large-scale wood construction should be identified and launched right now.  A little more than one cubic metre of sawn timber per person is consumed annually in Finland. Elsewhere in Europe, consumption is just 0.3 cubic metres per resident. The Finnish sawmill industry produces 15% of Europe’s (EU25) sawn timber.    

Wood is the only significant renewable construction material

Wood is the only substantial renewable raw material for construction products that can be recycled and used to generate energy at the end of its lifecycle. The energy solutions of the future will also associate the industry ever more closely to overall energy policy. It is possible to improve energy efficiency by using more wood.   

Further information:
Antro Säilä
Senior Vice President, Business Environment and Innovation,
Finnish Forest Industries Federation
tel. +358 40 589 1891