Blog | 09/18/2023 09:45:25 | 2 min Read time

Forest campaigns and constructive dialogue

Elina Warsta

Senior Manager, Global Forest Affairs, UPM

Discussion on forest loggings and the role of the forest industry is active again. Is our forest management sustainable? Does the forest industry pay enough attention to climate change and biodiversity? Do we listen the worries from Environmental NGOs? Is the forest discussion in Finland genuinely interactive?

From global point of view forest growth and the use of renewable resources such as wood should be increased to phase out from fossils. According to research human-induced climate change is one of the root causes for the speed of the current biodiversity loss, and therefore replacing fossils is necessary also from the biodiversity point of view. Developed countries should reduce consumption, while growing population in developing countries will inevitably increase consumption. The need for food, feed and sustainable consumer products will increase in the future.

Finland has long traditions in forest research and forestry, and the sector keeps renewing based on new research knowledge. The Finnish Forest Industries have a joint climate roadmap, and wood industry roadmap for biodiversity has just been published. UPM is committed to reduce its own carbon dioxide emissions 65 % and 30 % from the value chain by 2030. In practice this means e.g. cutting emissions from forest harvesting and wood logistics. UPM is committed to enhance biodiversity in its own forests in Finland and the progress is measured with multiple indicators, such as the number of broadleaved trees or deadwood. As one of the largest forest owners in Finland, UPM is carrying the responsibility, and encouraging other private forest owners to do the same i.e., by providing guidance on biodiversity.

Non-governmental organizations are essential part of democratic society, and irreplaceable piece of the puzzle gathering different views together. In Finland NGOs can participate in the preparation of national forest policy as well as EU initiatives through national coordination groups. Our civil servants are responsible for seeking the compromises to fit in various views for example in the national forest strategy. National guidelines for forest management are prepared as part of the strategy. Threshold for participation is intended to remain low.

Forest industry is one of the founding pillars in the Finnish economy at present and in the future. Responsible use of natural resources should be observed from various perspectives: dialogue between corporations and NGOs should be enhanced. Social media has polarized the atmosphere and made it far too easy for strong opinions. Luckily, we do have also constructive dialogue, and often the most remarkable negotiations take place behind closed doors. 

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