Metsä Group’s Sustainability Report 2016

Our performance in social, environmental and economic sustainability.

Transparent sustainability reporting

Metsä Group has sustainability in its DNA. We communicate about our sustainability work comprehensively, transparently and openly. The Group's sustainability work is divided into four main themes that cover all our activities and where our actions have the most significant impact. The content of the report reflects Metsä Group's material topics. On this site, we have collected additional information about our sustainability work.

Full GRI content index available separately

The GRI content index for the report is available as a separate PDF supplement. Metsä Group's Sustainability Report 2016 has been prepared according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards at the Comprehensive level. The supplement includes also our Communication on Progress (COP) in implementing the principles of the United Nations Global Compact.

Metsä Group's annual reporting consists of the following reports: Annual Brochure, Financial Statements, including the Corporate Governance statement, and Sustainability Report. Click below for the PDFs.

For Metsä Group's previous sustainability reports and other annual reporting please go here.


Order printed copies

Order a free printed copy of the Sustainability Report 2016 here. The printed reports will be mailed starting end of March 2017.



Materiality – topics with the greatest impact


Sustainability at Metsä Group is driven by the strategy and a focused sustainability approach based on a comprehensive assessment of the most important sustainability topics from our business areas as well as our stakeholders’ points of view.

These most important, i.e. material, topics have been defined in 2011 and re-evaluated in 2014 together with our stakeholders. In the assessments, we considered stakeholder expectations and the existing or potential impact to the success of our five business areas. The thorough analysis consisted of management and expert interviews, internal workshops as well as an in-depth evaluation of sustainability trends, risks and best practices. The final results and the implementation plan of the re-evaluation were approved by Metsä Group’s Executive Management Team.

Metsä Group’s materiality grid consists of twelve topics that are notably important for Metsä Group’s businesses as well as for internal and external stakeholders with varying emphasis. Some, such as sustainable forest management and preserving biodiversity, have always been at the heart of Metsä’s way of working. With new forest industry investments, such as ours in the bioproduct mill in central Finland, and in Husum, Sweden, we see these subjects attracting new attention from stakeholders such as customers and the NGOs.  

The materiality of sustainability topics will be updated during 2017.

Metsä Group's top 12 material topics

1. Safety at work ​7. Sustainable supply chain​
​2. Sustainable forest management ​​8. Emissions to water and air
​3. Product safety ​9. Circular economy
​4. Product and process innovations ​10. New bioproducts
​5. Material and energy efficiency ​​11. Supporting local livelihoods and society
​​6. Bioenergy​12. Water use

Principles and policies guiding our work

Sustainability is based on Metsä Group's mission, vision and values. Ethical business is ensured by sustainability principles and Codes of Conduct for employees and suppliers guide our day-to-day responsibility work. In addition to public principles and policies listed on the right, we have also set policies for agreements communications, competition, information security, investments, legal, purchasing, risk management, security and treasury.

Human rights and anti-corruption

Metsä Group Code of Conduct is the basis for our ethical business practices. Both the Code of Conduct and the Code of Conduct for Suppliers build on the ten universally recognised principles of the United Nations Global Compact, which Metsä Group has been committed to since 2003. Metsä Group Sustainability Principles supplement our code of conduct and set out the guidelines for our sustainability management. All forms of corruption and bribery are prohibited in the Group's Code of Conduct. We train our employees on anti-corruption, which is included in the Code of Conduct training.

As stated in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), corporations have the responsibility to respect human rights and act with due diligence, and with a good understanding of its existing and potential human rights impacts. Metsä Group acts according to this principle to “know and show” in issues related to human rights. Our Code of Conduct prohibits the use of forced and child labour, and outlines about working conditions and safety at work. We are also preparing a public statement on the UK Modern Slavery Act by the end of June 2017.

Cooperation within undertakings is one of our main ways to be in official dialogue with our employees and prevent any possible disputes beforehand. The cooperation provide employees with possibilities to influence the decisions that affect their employment, working conditions and position in the company. The main focus is on the local level where shop stewards represent wider groups of employees. The multinational European Works Councils (EWCs) acting in our different business areas are important channels for internal communications and consultation between the corporation’s management team and personnel. The EWC, comprising elected employee representatives, regularly discusses issues that concern the personnel.

Sponsorships and donations

Metsä Group’s sponsorship and donation strategy focuses mainly on improving the well-being of children and young people. Support of political activities is subject to a separate approval by the Board of Directors. In 2016, Metsä Group did not give material support to political parties.

Long-term risk mitigation

Metsä Group’s risk management’s purpose is to ensure continuity of operations in the short and long term. At Metsä Group, risk management covers all levels of the value chain from securing wood supply to production units and customer deliveries up to preparedness in the event of any possible product liability cases. Under are listed the most important sustainability risks.

Debate on the sustainable use of forests is developing hand in hand with bioeconomy discussion. In northern Europe, the forests are a vast resource: in Finland, for example, currently some 40% of the annual growth of wood is left unused. Employing and using sustainable practices  in forest management for a long time, our forests are growing healthily, providing wood today more than ever before.

Preserving biodiversity is ensured with the PEFC™ and FSC® forest certification schemes in our wood supply areas. Both schemes aim to manage the risks related to the well-being of forests as well as protect waters and other natural values. In Finland and Sweden, the practice of mapping the status of endangered species is exceptionally comprehensive. Additionally, the renewal and biodiversity aspects are taken into account under the Finnish Forest Act, originating from 1886, that requires the renewal of the forest and comprehensive forest risk management. The legislation also requires measures when procuring coniferous wood to restrain the potential damages caused by bark beetles for the growing stock.

Regular in-time thinning and careful planning of loggings are tools that can both prevent and minimise storm damage. The dense road network in our forests enables access to repair storm damages. Most of the forest roads are open for public and recreational use.

Pests pose a potential risk for forestry all around the world. The phytosanitary risk assessments are carried out by the authorities who regulate the plant health legislation and are responsible for controlling that no new pests are introduced.

We work to identify the existing and potential risks related to our entire supply chain. Based on our current knowledge, we recognise that the potential risk for human rights abuses lies in our supplier chain rather than in our own operations; accordingly, we are continuously striving to mitigate this potential risk. We acknowledge the recent significant increase of refugees and other immigrants in Europe, which might increase the risk of forced labour, and pay special attention to it in our procurement processes.

The management of the tax affairs  is conducted by the Group-level tax team. The tax team monitors tax risks involved in business transactions and advises the Group companies in implementing the tax principles in their daily business as well as in business restructurings.

Enterprise risk management consists of internal risk assessments through the value chain, cooperation with insurance companies as well as systematic loss prevention work to mitigate risks. Major risks, such as fire, machine breakdowns and environmental damages, are covered by Group-wide insurance programme. Read more from Financial Statements.


Owned or leased main forest areas


Forest certification is a comprehensive tool that covers sustainability issues from safety at work to nature values and future growth of the forest, and makes it a good way to measure sustainability of wood origin. Main forest areas owned or leased by Metsä Group have been certified by both PEFC™ and FSC©. 

In addition to the areas presented in the table, Metsä Group owns small forest estates in Finland and in Estonia (altogether 155 ha). Further, Metsä Group owns shares (<50%) in the Finnish forest-owning entities Finsilva Oyj and Suomen Metsäsijoitus Oy, and in the Russian forestry holding Vologodskie Lesopromyshlenniki.


Country​Forest owner/
​Total area, hectares 1)​Of which protected areas, hectares​Certification
Finland​Kirkniemen Kartano Oy​961​217 2)​PEFC
​Russia​OOO Metsä Forest Podporozhye​271,865​95,900 3)​PEFC and FSC

1) Including forestry land and other land within the forest estate / area.
2) Including Nature Conservation Areas, Natura 2000 areas and Conservation Programme areas. Small-scale valuable forest habitats and the buffer zones of watercourses are not included in the figures.
3) Including forests with a protective function (e.g. forests along watercourses); those with special limitations of the utilisation regime; and biologically valuable forests that have been excluded from commercial use by the company. Strictly protected areas are excluded from the lease areas in Russia. Small-scale valuable forest habitats are not included in the figures.
FSC Licence Code FSC-C014476