According to the preliminary data of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation, the value of January-March production in Finland was about €4.3 billion, of which €0.8 billion was generated in the wood products industry and €3.5 billion in the pulp and paper industry. The volume and value of production increased in all of the main product categories.
Bioenergy subsidies must not steer industrial wood into combustion
“The Government’s proposal to build more nuclear power will, when realised, improve the forest industry’s operating and investment prerequisites in Finland. Additional nuclear power provides the forest industry with the ingredients for developing more and more diverse processing operations and to increase its utilisation of forest energy,” says Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
“It is very important that the supply of wood raw material to the forest industry is safeguarded during the further development of bioenergy subsidy decisions, as has been promised by the Government. Industrial wood must not be steered into combustion,” Jaatinen says.
“Timber sales also need to be improved so that we can keep production operations up and running. A steady flow of wood is a fundamental precondition for the success of the forest industry.”
Stevedore strike eroded production volumes in March
The forest industry’s production and export volumes were lower than estimated in March because of the two-week stevedore strike. The exceptional arrangements in the deliveries caused by the strike affected the paper industry in particular.
The labour market organisations must initiate discussions on the development of industrial peace regulations in such a way that prevents strikes by key employee groups from substantially disrupting the Finnish export sector’s operating prerequisites.
The operating environment was stabilised by the sensible collective labour agreements that were negotiated for the forest industry in March. The industry and the Paper Workers’ Union reached an agreement to substantially develop the collective labour agreement of the paper industry employees in order to promote competitiveness.
How well the key export markets bounce back from the deep economic slump will determine how the recovery of the Finnish forest-based sector will continue. Finnish companies have undergone an extensive structural change to improve their competitiveness and are now stronger actors than they were before the recession. The importance of cost management will, however, continue to increase.
Timo Jaatinen, Director General, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 6600
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Background information for journalists:
There are 50 pulp, paper and paperboard mills, some 170 industrial-scale sawmills and 15 panel products factories in operation in Finland. Throughout the cluster, wood processing provides employment for some 200,000 Finns and its economic footprint affects around 500,000 Finns in total.
The forest industry of Finland manufactures paper products for almost 100 million Europeans and wood products for 50 million consumers worldwide. Finland’s ample timber resources, sustainable forestry practices and world-class expertise in the forest industry provide our country with a unique opportunity to lead the way into the bioeconomy of the future.
Helena Aatinen, Senior Vice President (Communications), +358 9 132 6645, +358 40 548 6675