The products of the forest industry offer solutions in a situation where the focal point of consumption is shifting towards renewable energy sources and natural resources.
The forest industry is responding to global climate, energy and environmental challenges in a sustainable manner. Increasing the market shares of wood, paper and paperboard products makes it possible to reduce consumption of non-renewable raw materials and thus conserves natural resources for future generations. These products can be recycled and reused many times, which increases the effectiveness of raw materials utilisation considerably. At the end of their lifecycle, these goods can be utilised in the generation of renewable energy together with biomass that is unsuitable for processing.
Building with wood binds carbon
The foresight report points out the possibilities that are associated with wood construction. By increasing the share of wood construction, it is possible to reduce energy consumption and increase the amount of carbon dioxide that is bound in wooden buildings, which is why it is important that wood-based products are granted the positive climate status that they so clearly deserve. Among other things, Finland’s abundant raw materials reserves make it possible to increase wood construction. Diverse utilisation of wood would also improve the availability of biomass, which is needed for fibre and energy products. The sawlog section of tree trunks is already used to make construction products and the thinner parts of the trunk to make pulp products, while the rest is used to generate energy.
The forest industry is on a development path that supports the achievement of climate targets
The forest industry’s climate achievements are impressive: carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of manufactured product are down 40%, 80% of the electricity it consumes is already CO2 free, its products bind atmospheric carbon dioxide and the forest-based sector produces 70% of Finland’s renewable energy. The most cost-effective way to promote the production of renewable energy in Finland is to look after the development of the forest-based sector’s manufacturing operations.
Sustainable forestry and biorefineries, which were highlighted in the report, are key enabling factors for the manufacture of, among other things, environment-friendly transport fuels in Finland. The energy and carbon dioxide balances of fuels manufactured by biorefineries are excellent, as are several other quality factors of these products. The raw materials the forest industry uses do not have an alternative, competing use within the food industry.
According to the foresight report, new concentrations of innovation will be created at locations where manufacturing operations continue to develop. A successful manufacturing sector will be a necessary ingredient for the prosperity of Finland in the future as well. National policies can greatly influence the development of industry by establishing an operating environment that is conducive for manufacturing. The forest industry supports the foresight report’s criteria for good political steering – longevity, consistency and cost-effectiveness. These criteria enable the development of viable industrial activities in Finland.
Ahti Fagerblom, Director (Energy and Climate Policy),
tel: +358 9 132 6667, +358 40 820 9763
Stefan Sundman, Senior Vice President (Energy and Environment),
tel: +358 9 132 6611, +358 40 535 0501