Impressing by numbers

​Every second. That’s how often Metsä Group delivers a tree seedling to a forest-owner for planting. This amounts annually to 30 million seedlings and provides the foundation for sustainable forest management.
​Future continuity of supply is guaranteed for fresh fibres – the main raw material of Metsä Board’s products. For Metsä Board, a key part of sustainable forestry is forest renewal. “Here in Finland, four new seedlings are planted for each harvested tree. Metsä Group delivers seedlings to forest-owners for planting, and during the past couple of years this has amounted annually to 30 million seedlings, which is an impressive number,” says Soili Hietanen, Metsä Board’s VP of Sustainability and Energy.

Hietanen goes onto to state; “Good management in the northern forests has resulted in increased growing stock in Finnish and Swedish forests. Growing stock is increasing annually by 30–40% and currently the annual forest growth exceeds the amount of wood harvested. Another important but less known fact is that northern forests don’t require watering, as the Nordics are one of the world’s water-richest areas.”

Forestry for Metsä Board is not only about renewal, but equally important is certification. Hietanen expands;
“We promote forest certification in all of the regions where we operate and actively participate in its development via our parent company Metsä Group. The Group uses certification because it helps to conserve biodiversity, safeguards the rights of people working in forests and ensures that forests can continue to be used for recreational purposes.”

Metsä Group and Metsä Board actively work to support certification and has a stated Group target to keep the proportion of certified wood used in its operations at over 80%. In 2015, 75% of the wood used by Metsä Board came from certified forests.

The degree of forest certification varies globally (see world map below), and in Metsä Group’s and Metsä Board’s wood supply areas, the certification levels are high (see map below from Metsä Group’s wood supply area).The wood for Metsä Board paperboards comes mainly from Finland and Sweden where their mills are located, with some also coming from the Baltic countries and Russia. Ideally the wood is sourced within a 100-kilometre radius of the pulp mill.

In Finland, the wood comes mainly from 116,000 Finnish forest-owners that also own Metsä Group’s parent company Metsäliitto Cooperative. In Russia, the forest areas are leased by the Group companies and are covered by sustainable forest management certificates.

Whether the wood comes from Finland, Sweden, Baltics or Russia, an important factor is traceability.

“We know the origin of 100% of the wood we use and whether it comes from certified forests or forests that are otherwise controlled. A key point of traceability is that it helps ensure we know all our wood is legally supplied,” explains Hietanen.

Here technology helps: Modern information systems and digital maps are used during harvesting, enabling the whole wood chain to be traced back to the actual tree stump.

“All our mills have certified environmental management and quality management systems (ISO14001 and ISO9001), as well as PEFC and FSC chain of custody certification and FSC controlled wood status. Metsä Board also fulfils the obligations of the European Union Timber Regulation and the US Lacey Act, which both prohibit the marketing of illegally harvested timber and timber products”, states Hietanen.

Full use of a tree

“Even though here in the North we have plenty of wood, each harvested tree is used to the full. Trees are a valuable raw material which must be utilised efficiently. Each of Metsä Group’s five business areas contribute to maximising efficiency. Logs are utilised in the Group’s sawmills and plywood mills and sawmill by-products, like wood chips and sawdust, are used as raw material for pulp or for energy. Other by-products are utilised for soil improvement, while sawdust may also be used to surface jogging paths”, highlights Hietanen.

Pulp wood is utilised as the main raw material in the Group’s pulp, board and tissue paper mills. Residues such as bark and the black liquor produced as a by-product of the pulp-making process, can all be incinerated to produce bioenergy for use in our own production processes and in neighbouring communities. Finally, the wood-based products produced by Metsä Group can be reused and recycled and eventually burnt to generate energy at the end of their life cycle. “Our operations are a good example of a circular economy,” Hietanen points out.

Hietanen makes reference to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal about ‘life on land’. “The goal is about sustainably managed forests, combatting desertification and halting biodiversity loss. I feel that Metsä Board’s and Metsä Group’s work really helps to contribute towards achieving this goal.”

Coming back to the beginning of this article about delivering a tree seedling every second – how many did Metsä Group deliver while you were reading this article?

Around 350!



UN SDG Life on Land 

United Nations has set Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs in short – that are jointly agreed large-scale global commitments. They determine the targets and actions for world's development for the next 15 years. Also Metsä Board's operations support these goals. In this article series you can read about the targets that are most linked to Metsä Board.

Read also how Metsä Group's activities support reaching the UN​ Sustainable ​Development Goals.


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