In honour of the International Day of Forests (21 March), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) organised a forest and energy conference in Rome, Italy.
Metsä Group's SVP of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Riikka Joukio was invited to give a presentation on Metsä Group's views on a resource-wise bioeconomy, new bioproducts and the sustainable production of renewable energy. Joukio's main message to the audience was that renewable energy production must be based on production sidestreams, not on burning wood that is suitable for further processing.
"We should remember that industrial wood use mostly takes place in the northern hemisphere, where the principles of sustainable forestry are strong and established. In the southern hemisphere, most wood is still used directly as firewood. This means that the value that would be added by processing is not created, and neither is the related well-being," explained Joukio.
According to the UN's predictions, the world's demand for energy will grow by 50% by 2030.
"Renewable energy production methods are continuously developing. This sparks the question of whether we might run out of biomaterials rather than energy," concluded Joukio.
In addition to Joukio, presentations were also given by FAO's Director-General José Graziano da Silva, Fiji's President Jioji Konusi Konrote and UNCCD's (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) Executive Secretary Monique Barbut.
You can watch a recording of all the presentations here. Riikka Joukio's presentation starts at 0:38:00.
You can also watch a short inteview with Riikka Joukio by FAO below.