Sustainable use of forests

Sustainable forest management practices ensure that different aspects of sustainability are considered and the use does not exceed the rate of growth.

Forests cover roughly 75% of Finland’s land area. The volume of wood in Finland’s forests has increased by approximately 70%, or around a billion cubic meters, in over 50 years. Applied sustainable forest management practices ensure that different aspects of sustainability are considered and the use does not exceed the rate of growth.

In 2021, Metsä Group’s wood procurement totalled 35.3 million cubic meters. Out of this, 26.1 million m³ was used by Metsä Group's own mills. 80% of the wood was procured from Finland, 6% from Russia, 7% from Sweden and 7% from the Baltic countries. Metsä Group applies the same sustainable forest management practices in all wood procurement areas.

Forest certification is proof of sustainable origin of wood

The most significant tools to ensure sustainable forest management and a traceable origin of wood are the certification schemes PEFC (PEFC/02-31 03) and FSC® (FSC-C014476). Forest certification takes into account social, ecological and economical aspects in forest management operations and sets a wide range of sustainability requirements, from safety at work to considering nature values and future growth of the forest. By setting requirements that assure a certain level of performance, irrespective of country, forest certification is a valuable tool to increase sustainability.

88% of the wood Metsä Group used was certified whereas globally only about 10% of forests are certified. By following FSC and PEFC chain of custody certification requirements, Metsä Group is not only sourcing wood mainly from certified forests, but also choosing responsible partners and suppliers and following and reporting certified amounts and origin information correctly throughout the chain. In addition, we also make sure that all the non-certified materials follow and exceed requirements, for example, the legal requirements in sustainability related issues.

Metsä Group promotes forest certification systems. We believe there is still a great potential through additional hectares of forests that could be managed more sustainably and development of the schemes which would have an effect on a wider scale. Metsä Group is also an active member of PEFC and FSC, both at national and international levels.

Ensuring the future growth of forests

Ensuring the future growth of forests

Metsä Group’s forestry services help to ensure the future growth of the forests, including services such as tending young stands and forest regeneration. In 2021, Metsä Group delivered approximately 34 million seedlings to Finnish forest owners. The forest owners planted about half of these and the rest of the seedlings were planted by contract entrepreneurs. In regeneration felling, on average four new seedlings are planted for every harvested tree. In addition, multiple broad-leaved trees appear naturally in regenerated areas compared with the amount of seedlings planted.

The impact of climate change on forests

Climate change affects the growth of forests and their capacity for carbon sequestering, as well as their susceptibility to damage. The changing climate creates good conditions for the growth of trees – plants photosynthesise and grow more rapidly in warm conditions and within a high concentration of carbon dioxide. However, the changing climate also poses risks. Droughts, floods and forest damage may become increasingly common in the future.

Active forest management has an increasingly important role to play in the changing climate. Climate change has increased the growth of wood, particularly in Northern Finland. Of Finnish tree species, birch especially has benefited from the increased warmth. Spruce has poor tolerance to storms and is susceptible to drought, root rot and damage caused by the European spruce bark beetle. Damage caused by the European spruce bark beetle may increase, since the reproduction of the pest insects is accelerating as the climate becomes warmer.