How do forestry practices differ in Finland and Russia? What can be learned from experiences in these countries and how can forestry be intensified responsibly? A recent field trip by the Boreal Forest Platform (BFP), a stakeholder forum organised by WWF Russia, aimed to exchange best practices on responsible forestry among stakeholders in Finland and Russia.
The BFP was established in 2015 by WWF Russia to promote open dialogue and knowledge exchange among peers and professionals in the field of responsible forestry. Stora Enso has been an active member in the platform from the beginning.
"For Stora Enso, the Boreal Forest Platform is a key forum for stakeholder engagement in Russia, enabling good dialogue between the forest industry, environmental NGOs, and regional authorities on topics that are of importance and interest to all parties – including topics we may disagree on," says Terhi Koipijärvi, Resource Director at Stora Enso Wood Supply Russia.
One of the key objectives of the platform is to promote responsible and intensive forest management in Russia while also taking environmental and social aspects into consideration. The platform also aims to develop local policy on the sustainable use of forests.
Biodiversity in the spotlight
The BFP field trip in June 2017 visited forestry company Tornator’s harvesting sites supplying wood to Stora Enso in Imatra, Eastern Finland, followed by forest visits in Lodeinoe Pole in the Leningrad region in North-West Russia. During the trip, topics such as biodiversity protection, thinning of young stands, and the use of advanced technology in forest management were in the spotlight.
"We see a growing interest in implementing Scandinavian forestry models in Russia among forestry companies, not only through pilot projects but by changing the mainstream practices. This is an ambitious change," says Nikolay Shmatkov, Director of WWF Russia's Forest Program. "I hope this BFP field trip can contribute to discussions on sustainable forestry by taking a close look at the local ecosystems and by identifying gaps and opportunities in both countries."
At the end of the field trip, the participants prepared recommendations for Russian stakeholders, including companies and authorities, on future policy development. For Stora Enso, participating in such a dialogue is part of living up to its values in Russia.
"We see many opportunities for social, ecological, and economic development in Russia in using forests in a more intense yet responsible manner. The forestry resources of North-West Russia have great forestry potential, and are of course also important for Stora Enso's wood supply," concludes Koipijärvi.
In 2016, more than 3 million m3 of wood, equivalent to 8% of Stora Enso's total wood procurement, was procured in Russia for the company's board, pulp, and sawmills both in Russia and Finland.
Over one million hectares of certified forests
In addition to the company's leased forest areas, Stora Enso procures wood from external suppliers in Russia. Since 2010, Stora Enso has been working together with WWF Russia to expand its FSCTM* certification groups, and to make certification more accessible and cost effective for small and medium-sized forestry companies.
"Group certification is an efficient method for promoting responsible forest management, biodiversity protection, and voluntary forest certification among forest companies, forest and regional authorities, and other local stakeholders," says Olga Rogozina, Environmental Manager at Stora Enso Wood Supply Russia.
In May 2017, two wood supply companies in Karelia joined one of three FSC certification groups managed by Stora Enso. This added 413 000 hectares to the total area covered by Stora Enso's group certifications, and increased the total extent of certified areas to approximately 1.2 million hectares. This area includes Stora Enso's Russian subsidiary companies which have been FSC-certified since 2006.
* FSC License Code FSC-C100071