The green gold is what we call the forests here in the Nordic countries. I fully agree, for various reasons. To us, the forests are much more than just the most remarkable natural resource. Our forests provide both a source of recreational nature values and the renewable raw material for daily commodities. Our forests grow nowadays more than ever. In Finland, only 60 per cent of the annual growth is used. In the summer season, when the northern half of the globe enjoys the sunlight day and night, our trees grow even more intensively than their peers in the south.
When facing the big issues, such as deforestation and hydrologic circulation, you realize the importance of complete ecosystems and their effects on the surrounding environment - and in the end, on our global climate.
Forest certification covers today about 90 per cent of the Finnish forests. While we take this for granted, let's keep in mind that the share of certified forests in Asia, Latin America and Africa, has recently reached 2.2 per cent. Globally, certification covers about 10 per cent of the forests. To sum it up, certification is the key for having this sustainably managed valuable raw material available even in the future.
Understanding the close connection between this multifunctional natural resource and its sustainable use is possible through figures and history: every fifth ordinary Finnish family owns a piece of forest - me being one of the private forest owners. Our forest act, first given in 1886, is the oldest in the world: its key message is "to renew your forest always when utilizing the wood it provides". It has guided us towards sustainable forest management.
Our unique concept of "every man's right" is something worth explaining, too. It means everyone is legally entitled to enjoy the forests' recreational aspects, outdoor activities, hiking as well as picking berries and mushrooms. No entrance tickets needed - just go and enjoy. According to various researches, forests are an excellent place to make your mind and body relaxed.
Managing the forests sustainably also offers regular and continuous income to forest owners. The raw material is processed with the best know-how to create the best end-use product. The wood from these forests ends up included in the daily lives of millions of people as buildings, tissue, food packaging and furniture, to mention just a few. In addition to those, we have wood-based solutions in our daily commodities, such as in tooth paste or yoghurt.
When diving deeper into any daily commodities, we meet an interesting question: can you name any other material, whose origin can be followed as thoroughly as wood's? All the wood Metsä uses can be traced back to the forest. Tracking the origin of wood is something we at Metsä Group are pioneers in.
Next time you are in touch with certified wood, you can take it as a message: "This wood came from a forest where there's room for different values and functions. This forest continues to grow".
Director Sustainable Forestry