A Turning Point for Responsible Forestry in FinlandThe first week of October ushered in a major breakthrough for responsible forestry and the Finnish forestry sector. Following a lengthy road of extensive negotiations over the past decade, stakeholders from the environmental, social and economic chambers collectively approved a Finnish FSC forest management standard, reconciling conflicting interests and paving the way for the responsible management of Finland’s forests.
“The Finnish forest industries are key players in the global industry and the recent development in the FSC standard is great news which will be very welcome to a great number of GFTN participant companies who have long hoped for such a development,” said George White, Head of the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN).
With the approval of this national standard by FSC International expected in the coming months, Finnish forest owners will now be able to benefit from international demand for sustainable wood and paper, while at the same time safeguard the rich biodiversity in their forests, such as Lapland reindeer.
Similarly, the standard presents a model for engagement with indigenous communities, as indigenous peoples’ rights to participate in the forest management process was integrated into the FSC standard. This issue was one of the most heavily debated, as the rights of the indigenous peoples of Finland, particularly the reindeer herding Sami culture of Lapland, have been a point of contention over the years.
The standard will also improve the level of sustainability in Finnish forestry by allowing for wider buffer zones around lakes and rivers, adoption of a high conservation value concept, restricted logging in important bird habitats and paying more attention to peat forests and other key forest ecosystems.
Home to several of the world’s largest paper producers, this development will have a significant impact on the availability of FSC-certified paper in the future. In fact, UPM has already started the testing of the FSC standard in its own forests. It is expected that many other large forest products companies will follow suit.
“We have continued to ask for FSC-certified material from our Finnish suppliers and are glad to see this important step in the right direction for both Finland and the forest products marketplace,” said Lena Dahl, Environmental Specialist, Tetra Pak—a GFTN-Sweden Participant and global leader in sustainable food and beverage packaging. “We believe this standard will play a significant role in increasing the availability of certified material in the global marketplace, and in the long-term, hopefully also contribute to the livelihoods of the many smallholders or private forest owners of Finland.”
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