Inquiry: Finns would replace plastics by using more wood – forest sector is considered a responsible actor

Around three out of four Finns would like to refill their cars with wood-based fuels instead of fossil fuels. Image: Vilma Issakainen

90 percent of Finns consider the forest sector to act at least fairly responsibly. According to an opinion poll published today, Finns’ attitude towards wood-based products is particularly positive.

The forest sector is considered to act the most responsibly with regard to safeguarding the origin of wood. The majority of Finns also have a positive opinion of what the forest sector does for the sustainability of production, the production and use of energy, mitigating climate change, the protection of waterways and employer responsibility.

Over 90 percent of the respondents have at least a fairly positive attitude towards wood construction, as well as towards wood-based packaging, such as cardboard, and tissue paper. Over 80 percent have at least a fairly positive attitude towards wood-based products for interiors and fuels and towards printed magazines and newspapers.

Attitudes are particularly positive towards replacing plastics by increasing the use of wood. Replacing plastics with wood in packaging is viewed at least fairly positively by 79 percent, and 74 percent regard the replacing of plastic shopping bags by paper ones at least fairly positively.

31 percent of the respondents have a positive opinion about clearcutting forests, while 15 percent see it as negative and 9 percent are strongly against it.
The opinion of 36 percent of the respondents lies between the two extremes. Those who view clearcuttings as negative are primarily concerned about biodiversity and landscape values.

Wanted: more forest protection

Six out of ten respondents consider that forestry carries its responsibility for biodiversity at least fairly well. Almost the same number think that forestry also acts at least fairly responsibly as regards protecting threatened species and mitigating climate change.

In line with this, biodiversity and climate change were also cited as the most important challenges of the forest sector: every second respondent considered them as the greatest challenges of forestry. The majority, or 58 percent, sees biodiversity as the most important thing for forestry to invest in in the future, while 50 percent called for investments in climate change mitigation.

Over half of the respondents want more forest protection. Increased protection gained most popularity in western and southern Finland.

The Finnish forest sector itself also views the increased protection of forest biodiversity positively. The sector has repeatedly demanded additional finances for the Metso forest biodiversity action programme, and safeguarding biodiversity is also an increasingly important part of managing commercial forests.

Forest sector is well known by all

In general, the forest sector is considered to act responsibly: regardless of age, sex or place of residence, roughly nine out of ten Finns consider the forest sector to act at least fairly responsibly.

Even younger respondents consider that they know the forest sector well. They know what they think about its level of responsibility and the share of ”Don’t know” answers among people of 18 to 24 years of age is only a quarter at the highest.

The opinion poll was financed by the Finnish Forest Foundation. It was designed in cooperation with the communication agency Pohjoisranta Burson-Marsteller and conducted through an internet panel by the Bilendi company in the summer of 2018.

The maximum statistical margin of error of the poll was 1.4 percentage points in either direction.

Author

Hannes Mäntyranta

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