Sustainable forestry in the Northern hemisphere has become a hot topic, with environmental NGOs widely calling for forests to be better protected. At Stora Enso we believe that safeguarding the biodiversity of forests is a cornerstone of a successful bioeconomy. This requires sustainable forest management, sufficient forest protection, and open stakeholder dialogues.
Priorities for Stora Enso include promoting sustainable forestry and ensuring that all the wood we use comes from sustainably managed sources. As Stora Enso does not directly own forests in the Nordic countries or Russia, we must work hard to advance sustainable forestry in our supply chain. To do this we use externally assured traceability systems and forest certification processes. When it comes to disagreements on harvesting, we encourage our wood supply partners and NGOs to engage in open dialogues.
In Finland, NGOs have been concerned that harvesting volumes are expected to increase. The harvesting activities of the state-owned enterprise Metsähallitus have been criticised in Kainuu, in Northeast Finland, where NGOs have called for more forests to be protected. Metsähallitus is an important wood supplier to Stora Enso in Finland. Even though Metsähallitus has a participatory stakeholder process in place to help build a common understanding on the commercial use of state-owned forests, a mutually acceptable solution has not yet been found in Kainuu.
Stora Enso calls for constructive dialogue between Metsähallitus and environmental NGOs. It is of the utmost importance to Stora Enso that we do not use wood from forests subject to such disputes. We will not receive any pulpwood from the disputed areas in Kainuu until the situation has been resolved through dialogue, and studies confirm that the forests can be harvested sustainably.
Stora Enso believes that the Finnish government should step up funding for voluntary forest protection schemes. We are committed to further promote the responsible management of biodiversity as an essential part of forestry. This will enable a healthy balance between the needs of the bioeconomy and forest conservation.
In Russia, we promote sustainable forestry among all of Stora Enso’s subsidiary companies and wood suppliers. We also provide training on sustainable forestry for our own employees and for our partners.
We carefully track all of the wood we purchase back to its origins using externally assured processes, to ensure that it comes from legal and sustainable sources. Stora Enso does not accept wood from protected areas or forests designated for conservation. We additionally respect any areas identified as Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs).
Over the last few decades forestry practices in Sweden have improved considerably with regard to sustainability, and there is today a good balance between social, environmental and economic objectives. Stora Enso believes that even if further development is still needed, Swedish forestry is heading in the right direction. Data from the Swedish Forest Inventory shows positive trends including increases in the areas of old-growth forest, the prevalence of broad-leaved trees, and the amount of ecologically valuable dead wood in forests.
Stora Enso actively participates in several ongoing national initiatives aiming for further improvements in sustainability, including the development of a national forest programme and the revision of the national FSC®* forest certification standard.
Public debate on the future role of bioenergy is also heating up in the Nordics. Environmental NGOs and other stakeholders have voiced their concerns that more wood will be harvested in future to generate bioenergy. They fear this will have a negative impact both on biodiversity, and on the functioning of forests as carbon sinks, which helps to combat global warming.
Stora Enso believes that sustainable forestry can play a crucial role in combatting global warming. In this context we emphasise the need to use all the parts of harvested trees as efficiently as possible. The most valuable round wood is used to make wood products such as building materials. Other round wood can be converted into pulp, which can be used to make renewable packaging, paper and biomaterials products that are preferable to products containing fossil carbon. The remaining by-products such as bark and branches can then be used as a valuable source of renewable energy.
Currently around 3% of the wood procured by Stora Enso in Finland, and 4% of our wood in Sweden, ends up being used to generate energy. Stora Enso’s mills additionally produce renewable energy from various by-products of pulp-making processes, including black liquor, bark and sludge. In 2015, about 81% of the energy produced within Stora Enso’s mills was obtained from these renewable by-products.
At Stora Enso we believe that a viable bioeconomy can only be created if forests are sustainably managed, and raw materials are used efficiently. The long-term success of our business depends on healthy and naturally diverse forests that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere to combat global warming, while also providing local communities with income and employment.
*FSC ® trademark licence number FSC-N001919.
For more information contact:
Head of Forests, Plantations and Land Use, Sustainability
+358 2046 24972