We bring the forest to you

We bring the forest to you

Sustainable forestry and forest certification

Traceable wood from sustainably managed forests

Metsä Board’s home country, Finland, is the most forested country in Europe. Forests cover approximately 75% of Finland's area and over the past 40 years the growing stock of the forests has increased by more than 40%. The share of strictly protected forests account for 10% of Finland’s total forest area, and a majority of the strictly protected European forests are located in Finland.

We procure most of our wood raw material from Finland and Sweden (79% in 2020) both of which have a long tradition in forest management, the development of forest and environmental related legislation and forest protection certification systems. The biodiversity of forests and endangered species are both protected by legislation and encouraged through forest certification schemes.

The four species we use for our paperboard production include pine, spruce, birch and aspen. In total, our supply of wood amounts to around eight million cubic meters a year.

We have the wood raw material supply chain in own hands

Wood is the starting point for making pulp and paperboard, so forests are of vital importance to us. Metsä Board procures all its wood through the operations of Metsä Forest. The pulp we use is manufactured either in Metsä Board’s own pulp mills or in the pulp mills of our associated company Metsä Fibre. All these companies are members of Metsä Group, which in turn belongs to over 100,000 Finnish forest owners.

Metsä Group has historically worked closely with forest owners and continues to offer a range of innovative forestry services that enhance the value of their forest assets. Sustainable forestry means forest renewal. Therefore, for each tree harvested we plant four new seedlings – it’s in all of our interests to ensure that forests are regenerated.

In recognition for its sustainable forest management, Metsä Board has achieved a position on CDP's Forest A List.

Values guide Metsä Group's operations

Forest certification

Forest certification helps to conserve biodiversity and preserve habitats and biotopes typical of natural forests. Certification also safeguards good conditions for people working in forests and ensures that forests can continue to be used for recreational purposes. Of the wood used by Metsä Board, 80% came from certified forests in 2020. The remaining part comes from controlled forests, and all our wood is traceable.

All the wood we use comes from sustainably managed forests, and responsible forest management is of vital importance to us. All our mills have certified environmental management systems (ISO 14001) and quality management systems (ISO 9001), as well as PEFC™ and FSC® Chain of Custody. Metsä Board was the first European paperboard manufacturer to be approved to use the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) on-product label in North America. SFI® is the North American forest certification system endorsed by PEFC.

Metsä Board as a member of Metsä Group works to support sustainable forest management and safeguard biodiversity during forestry operations. We promote forest certification in all of the regions where we operate, and actively participate in its development. To support this aim, Metsä Board’s target is to reach at least 90% certification rate of the wood used in the operations.

About 10% of all the forests in the world are certified
Only 25% of world’s commercial forests have been certified
80% of the wood used for Metsä Board’s paperboard is certified (2020)

Forest certification schemes are voluntary systems which support the well-being of forests and confirm the legality of the origin of the wood. Forest certification is based on inspections carried out by an independent third party. The certification process has two main parts: forest certification and certification of the chain of custody. Forest certification helps to demonstrate to the buyers of wood and paper products that their purchasing decision supports sustainable forestry.

Metsä Group supports forest certification schemes that are suitable for local conditions and are inspected by a reliable and independent third party. We also actively promote forest certification initiatives in all of the regions where we procure wood. The forest areas owned or leased by the Group’s companies are all covered by sustainable forest management certificates.

Tracing system and audits secure responsible wood supply

Metsä Group’s internal auditing procedures and wood origin tracing system control the actions of the wood suppliers and harvesting contractors. The auditing covers a wide range of sustainability issues from the preservation of valuable natural features and the legality of the origin of the wood to social issues such as preserving the rights of indigenous people and safety at work. This work enables us to identify the legal and sustainable origin of the wood, and to officially define the share of certified wood in the wood raw material used in our mills.

Advanced technology facilitates the verification of the origin of wood. Modern information systems and digital maps can be used during wood harvesting, enabling the whole wood transportation chain to be traced from the stump to the mill.

On top of our internal audits, the preservation of valuable natural features during forestry operations are also evaluated by forest authorities, external third-party management system audits and forest certification audits.

Traceable origin of wood

​Wood used in our products originates from certified (PEFC™ and/or FSC®) or controlled forests. Licence codes: PEFC™/02-31-92 and FSC®-C001580

Audits of wood procurement

​Metsä Group, external auditors and authorities conduct on-site audits at the logging site.

Actions at the production units

​All production units in the supply chain calculate the share of certified wood used in the product and report it forward all the way to the customer.

Customers and certificates

​Certification shows customers that the wood used in the product originates from sustainably managed forests.

We know the origins of all the wood we use, whether it comes from certified forests or forests that are otherwise controlled. This ensures wood’s legality and minimises the risk of unacceptable practices along the supply chain. Our chain of custody certificates and wood origin tracing system document the actions of the wood supplier or harvesting contractor, together with the origin of the wood and details of nature management methods.

Our wood suppliers and contractors have also committed themselves to our sustainability principles, which are included in our contracts with them. These commitments extend throughout the supply chain, including all possible sub-suppliers and subcontractors..

Forest biodiversity

Metsä Board and the whole Metsä Group support voluntary actions that aim to preserve valuable natural features in the forests.

We are committed to preserve the biodiversity of forests in all of our forest-related operations, and to actively promote nature conservation together with our partners. Metsä Group aims to develop the management of the ecotones along the margins of forested areas, in order to enhance their functioning as natural habitats for game animals, birds and other species.

The protection of forest biodiversity and threatened species as part of forest management is controlled through legislation. The criteria used in voluntary forest certification schemes further emphasise and often exceed legal requirements. PEFC™ and FSC® certificates assure for example that the harvested wood cannot originate from forests where genetically modified trees are planted.

Forest owners and the forest industry continuously work to preserve biodiversity. Forest certifications safeguard that ‘retention trees’ are always left at felling sites in the context of regeneration felling. These ‘retention trees’ add diversity in tree ages and generate decaying wood. Also older trees with holes in are vital for many forest species.

To further increase the amount of decaying wood and trees with holes, Metsä Group has started to systematically make high stumps at the felling sites. This practice is voluntary for forest owners and is always discussed in connection with each wood sale. Already 84% of the forest owners have chosen to have high stumps in their forests.

Conserving water resources

Even though fresh water is not scarce in the regions where Metsä Board procures wood and operates, we value water resources and strive to minimise our impacts on them. For this reason, we carefully consider how our forestry operations will affect groundwater reserves and surface waters from lakes and rivers to smaller streams, ponds and springs.

Reducing our impacts on water resources is one of the main environmental targets for Metsä's wood supply operations. We have defined practical actions to help us meet these targets and developed a set of indicators to follow their implementation and impacts. Our water protection actions include the provision of internal training on water protection requirements and the further development of internal controls. The success of these actions is followed through with internal and external controls.

Circular  economy

The world is facing many challenges: the population is growing fast, natural resources are decreasing, biodiversity keeps on shrinking and global warming needs to be tackled. In a circular economy the resources used to make a product are not lost once the product’s first life has ended but can be used again and again.

Transition to a circular economy requires many changes throughout the value chains, and the right mix of incentives. One prime example of a material that is already established within a circular economy is renewable fresh fibre, which can be recycled, re-used or biodegraded.

Our paperboards contribute to circular bioeconomy

Paperboard is an ideal material for a circular economy, where raw materials are recovered after their primary use and then used again in a similar way or for new purposes. Paperboard is well recognised as a recyclable material, and its fibres can be reused for making board and paper. Moreover, it is possible to reuse fibres for other purposes, such as building materials and insulants.

However, board and paper are not infinitely recyclable, as fibres eventually lose strength and length after reprocessing for the fourth or fifth time. To keep the recycling loop running, fresh fibres need to be constantly added into the cycle.

When fibres can no longer by recycled, they can still make an important contribution to energy production as they can be incinerated or gasified to generate energy. However, in most cases it is more sustainable to recycle the board than to use it for energy generation.

At Metsä Board we use wood fragments discarded during production processes in our own renewable energy plants to supply the power we need to make paperboards, as well as heat for local communities. Altogether, Metsä Board utilised 99% of its production side streams as material or for renewable energy in 2020.

Making the most of wood

Metsä Group utilises wood raw material to the full. In addition to our core products, the various production processes yield side streams which constitute valuable raw materials for our partners within other industrial branches.

The most valuable part of the wood, the logs, is utilised in the Group’s sawmills, whilst the thinner parts of the wood are the main raw material for the Group’s pulp and board mills.

Wood from forest thinnings, branches and the sawmills’ side streams (such as wood chips and sawdust) are supplied to the pulp and board industry as additional raw material for pulp or can be used as surface materials for jogging paths, for example. Harvesting residues, bark, and the black liquor produced as a by-product of the pulp-making process can all be incinerated to produce renewable energy for use in our own production processes and in neighbouring communities.

Making the most of wood

Äänekoski, Finland, where one of our paperboard mills is located, is developing into a significant centre for circular bioeconomy.

Metsä Board’s associated company Metsä Fibre started up a bioproduct mill in Äänekoski in August 2017. On top of the core product of the pulp mill, the bioproduct mill produces tall oil for glues, inks, paints and biofuels; turpentine for odorants and paints; and renewable energy products, such as bioelectricity, process steam, district heat and bark-based solid fuel. In addition, the odorous gases of the bioproduct mill are converted into sulphuric acid, to be used as a raw material by the mill. This is a major step towards more closed chemical cycles.

Sustainable supply chain

Metsä Board, as part of Metsä Group, focuses on working with ethical, reliable and environmentally sustainable suppliers, whose responsibility and quality will facilitate long-term cooperation and responsible profitability. We strive to develop cooperation based on trust with our selected key suppliers.

We see no scope for compromise on responsible purchasing and sustainability throughout our supply chains. This enables us to guarantee long-term success both for us and for our business partners, helping us to be a profitable and responsible business operator.

Efficient supply chain management and on-time deliveries are key elements in our business operations. For this reason, we ensure reliable, safe and efficient logistics. Efficiency is attained by maximising delivery volumes using optimised modal selection, return load utilisation and by minimising ‘empty’ kilometres. As our mills are located close to our main raw materials, we are always able to optimise our transport routes. Increased efficiency reduces costs as well as emissions to air.

All our wood purchases come from Northern Europe, and our target is to use local suppliers whenever feasible.

Supplier Code of Conduct included in contracts

Whilst wood and fibre are our main raw materials, we also purchase chemicals and other materials, machinery, equipment and services.

All the wood we need is procured through the operations of Metsä Forest and the pulp we use is manufactured by ourselves or by the associated company Metsä Fibre. Responsibility of our wood suppliers is always assured through the PEFC™ or FSC® Chain of Custody systems that cover all our operations. Chain of custody systems safeguard that the wood does not originate from illegally harvested forests and that the rights of the supply chain workers and indigenous people are respected.

Responsibility of suppliers of all other materials and services is ensured by a group-wide process in Metsä Group’s centralised purchasing function.

Metsä Group expects all of its suppliers to commit themselves to responsibility and sustainability, to high standards of business ethics, and good working practices. Our Supplier Code of Conduct emphasises a respect for human rights and the need for a safe working environment, as well as actions against corruption and bribery. For forced or child labour we have a zero-tolerance.

In 2020, suppliers that were committed to our Supplier Code of Conduct covered 96% of our total purchasing spend. The Code of Conduct is nowadays included in all our new and renewed contracts, and the key personnel in our purchasing department have passed specific training on our purchasing policy including ethical and environmental aspects.

Supplier risk assessment and auditing process

As a member of Metsä Group, we continuously develop a common monitoring process for our suppliers, conduct risk assessments, and prepare audit plans for each of our purchasing categories. Audits are conducted either by Metsä Group's own personnel or by a third-party. One of the most important issues is to ensure is that there are no incidents of child, forced or compulsory labour in our suppliers' operations.

Each supplier is subject to an assessment of the country risk. In addition, 84% of our suppliers, measured by costs, have been subject to a Know your supplier check which checks suppliers’ backgrounds in terms of trade sanctions, money laundering, corruption, human rights violations and other key risks. Metsä Board also has a corresponding process applicable to customers. In addition, 54% of suppliers, measured by spend, have completed a sustainability evaluation, which includes a supplier self-assessment questionnaire and the required development actions when necessary.

Every year, Metsä Group and external parties audit some of the suppliers. These audits also include questions pertaining to the environment and social responsibility.

All our mills comply with existing chemical legislation when procuring and utilising chemicals in our production processes. We hold regular discussions with our external material suppliers to verify their REACH pre-registration and registration status. We maintain a detailed database on the most important chemicals used in our production processes, containing key environmental, health and safety information on each of the chemicals concerned.

Sustainability in wood supply


Forest regeneration

Sustainable forest regeration

​Most relevant points for sustainability:

  • Growth of the forest
  • Safety at work
  • Native tree species
  • Secured and sustainable origin of the seeds
  • No use of GMOs
  • Legality guaranteed


  • Company’s own audits
  • Forest management audits (in certified forests)
  • Quality and environments management system audits
  • Authority inspections

Standing forest

Standing forest

​Most relevant points for sustainability:

  • Growth of the forest
  • Health of the forest
  • Biodiversity safeguarded
  • Legality guaranteed


  • Forest management audits (in certified forests)
  • Controlled sources audits (in non-certified forests)
  • Authority inspections

Harvesting area

Sustainable forest harvesting

Most relevant points for sustainability:

  • Growth of the forest
  • Safety at work
  • Protection of soil and water
  • Health of the forest
  • Biodiversity safeguarded
  • Legality safeguarded


  • Company’s own audits
  • Forest Management audits (in certified forests)
  • Controlled origin audits (in non-certified forests)
  • Quality and Environment Management System audits
  • Authority inspections

Supply chain

Sustainable wood supply chain

​Most relevant points for sustainability:

  • Knowledge of the origin of wood
  • Safety at work
  • Transparency of the supply  chain
  • Emissions minimised
  • Legality guaranteed


  • Company’s own audits
  • Chain of custody audits 
  • Quality and Environment Management system
  • Authority inspections