Editorial: The forest shall not be destroyed

According to Juha Mäntylä, Executive Vice President, Metsä Forest Wood Sourcing, sustainable development is an essential part of the company’s quality package and customer charter.

Even though this title may sound like a modern slogan, it comes from the Finnish Forests Act of the 1920s. Sustainability was already an important aspect of Finnish forestry long before the idea grew into a popular concern and the focus of special legislation.

Sustainable development became a hot topic in the early 1990s, and by the end of that decade Finland had already made laws to encourage this objective. Finnish forestry is accordingly now governed by the world's most progressive legislative instruments, and sustainable development has become a condition of all Metsä Group operations and an essential part of our quality package and customer charter. We accommodate all aspects of sustainability: ecological, social, and economic.

Metsä Group is a major purchaser of wood. We supply some 30 million cubic meters of wood to industry every year, and we are proud of the fact that more than 80 per cent of this raw material is certified. Our operations are globally unrivalled in this respect.

Metsä Group uses both the PEFC and FSC certification systems. Even though the idea of sustainable development has long been influential in Finnish forestry, these certification arrangements help us to progress systematically. Average performance in matters of sustainable development is simply not good enough, and we are constantly seeking to improve our working methods.

Certification is also an important way of showing the customer that we are serious about sustainability and that it is part of everything we do, from drafting logging plans with landowners to harvesting timber and transporting it to the mill. Sustainability is reflected in our daily operations and policymaking, whether we are working in the forest, in the mill or at an office desk.

The wood that serves as our principal raw material is a renewable resource, but it passes through a quite extended process of growth and manufacturing. It takes about 80 years for a Finnish pine tree to mature, and so we have to take a long view of forest management.

Our end-customers - the consumers who buy paper towels or cereal packets in a local supermarket - are increasingly seeking reassurance that the environmental and social aspects of product manufacturing have been responsibly managed.

This is also a priority for us.

Juha Mäntylä

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