Point of view

Point of view: Forests – Lifeline for green growth and societal wellbeing

Author

Director Kirsi Joensuu and Chair of Board Anne-Christine Ritschkoff, Finnish Forest Association

Forest Academy for decision makers, November 21st-23rd 2018 Finland.Forest Academy for decision makers, November 21st-23rd 2018 Finland.

Forests are a lifeline for a sustainable and inclusive world. Both in Finland and Sweden, forests have a crucial role in green growth as well as in societal wellbeing. A European-level Forest Academy provides an excellent forum for discussions, sharing knowledge and shaping solutions on the sustainable use of forests.

Forests are and have always been a lifeline for the Nordic countries, especially for Finland and Sweden. Forests are our green diamond, on which our economic, social and environmental wellbeing has been based for centuries. Therefore, the sustainable management and use of forest resources have a key role in the Nordic forest strategies.

Both in Finland and Sweden, forests hold a crucial role for both green growth and societal wellbeing. With their ability to absorb CO2, our forests and sustainable forest products act as European carbon sinks. Furthermore, the forest-based products and biomass provide an alternative to fossil-based products and pave the way for sustainable growth. The Nordic everyman’s rights are an excellent example of how to increase wellbeing and health; the social effects of forests are remarkable.

The sustainable use of forests requires sustainable forest management, which is at the core of the Nordic philosophy. The current debate on the sustainable use of forests is a necessity. Climate change, supporting biodiversity, and other global challenges force us to find solutions that enable sustainable growth and the welfare society.

Finland and Sweden are the global forerunners in forest product technologies. The Nordic innovations in wood-based textiles, bioplastics, building and other materials, and added value compounds, such as forest-based fine chemicals and food ingredients, shape the core of circular bioeconomy in our countries. These innovations are not only important for the economy, but also a crucial part of resolving the mitigation of climate change.

Finland and Sweden, as leading forest countries, can take the driver’s seat in the forest debate. We should further enhance our good cooperation in forest matters and share our knowledge on sustainable forests with the European community. The Forest Academy provides an excellent forum for discussions, sharing knowledge and shaping solutions.

The second Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers pilot event, organised as a joint venture between Finland and Sweden, takes place on 27–29 June 2022 in the Stockholm region. At the time of the first event in Finland in 2018, none of us organizers could ever have imagined how the world would change in the near future.

During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, when everything around us was closed, many reconnected with forests, as the doors of many other places were closed.

Not only the pandemic, but also changes in the geopolitical environment and Russia’s war against Ukraine, have changed the world. We are seeing forests and wood as solutions in a transition towards an ecologically – but also economically – more sustainable world.

We wish the participants of the Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers to experience fruitful discussions during the forum – a joint Nordic venture that will hopefully continue in the near future.


The Forest Academy frontpage


 

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