The EU Commission has published a new forest strategy, which applies to the entire forest-based sector. The strategy emphasises the diverse and sustainable utilisation of forests and the significance of the forest-based sector as a locomotive for the bio-economy, growth and employment. Forest policy will continue to be the competence of the Member States.
The forest strategy emphasises strong cooperation between the Commission, the Member States and stakeholder groups in promoting the diverse utilisation of wood as a sustainable, renewable as well as a climate- and environment-friendly raw material. The strategy underlines that the EU must improve its forest-related coordination and increase the role of the livelihoods forests provide.
The strategy also supports innovation as an important aspect in the promotion of wood use. The Commission and the Member States must now invest in long-term research and development work to generate fresh innovation and new products. However, innovative new products and services will not become a reality without an existing and successful industry.
The strategy points out how the EU’s own legislation affects the costs of the forest industry and its value chains. An open assessment of this impact is an absolute necessity for the building of a bio-economy that bases itself on renewable natural resources, and this assessment must be realised by the end of 2014 according to the guidelines staked out in the strategy.
Under the strategy, the Commission will cooperate with the Member States and stakeholders to draft criteria for sustainable forest management, which can be applied regardless of the use wood is intended for. Sustainable forest management must be examined comprehensively, irrespective of whether wood is steered into, for example, processing or energy production. The Commission and the Member States must ensure that possible criteria are based on existing sustainable forest management principles that evaluate sustainability on the national and regional levels. Furthermore, the criteria must take into account special characteristics and existing national forest legislations of the different Member States.
Director General Timo Jaatinen, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 6600
President Juha Marttila, MTK, tel. +358 20 413 2340