Manager, Energy and Climate Policy
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Finnish forest industry climate roadmap
The Finnish forest sector assumes an ever more significant role in Finland’s ambitious attempt of becoming carbon neutral by the year 2035. According to the Finnish forest industry’s climate roadmap, forest industry mills could be fossil fuel free in 15 years, and wood-based products could offer increasing climate benefits substituting products with higher carbon footprint. At the same time, the total added value of forest industry production could be increased while forest resources increase as well. The industry strives to reach almost full carbon neutrality by 2035 and even becoming carbon negative thereafter.
Current and target state
The scenarios compiled for the roadmap illustrate that the forest industry could continue to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. Forest industry emissions accounted for 3 Mt CO2 in 2017 and in the low-carbon scenario they drop close to zero in 2035. Meanwhile, the roadmap also states that the forests carbon storage could to increase from 3200 Mt CO2 to 3550 Mt CO2 by 2045 and thus it is possible to increase the amount of growing forest stock by active forest management.
The Finnish forest industry is capable of bringing increased added value, tax income, and new jobs to the Finnish economy while mitigating climate change.
The forest industry plans to reduce emissions by replacing fossil fuels, natural gas and peat. Carbon capture and utilization (CCU) is a potential measure to be taken into use in the 2040s. The need for fuels is decreased by electrifying processes and increasing energy efficiency. The industry aims to replace the remaining fossil energy with bioenergy and biofuels while some oil and gas boilers remain to be used as reserves and peak power. Existing capacity is primarily replaced after is retired. For instance, a significant share of natural gas boiler capacity will reach the end of its life during the decade 2025-to-2035. An increased amount of black liquor, a by-product of the pulp industry, is to be used as fuel and new products.
Active forest management is needed to accelerate the growth of forests r, including the high-quality regeneration material, forest fertilisation, and increased seedling tending.
Needs and requirements
To develop forest business with higher added value and new export products, investment-oriented and cost-competitive policies are needed to leverage the future potential of wood processing. This requires investments in mills, the forest industry and expertise, and also success in international competition.
Future and positive impacts
The climate benefits of Finnish forest industry products are generated when fossil fuel-intense products are replaced with wood-based products. The annual global climate benefit of products made from Finnish-grown wood are estimated to be over 16 Mt CO2/a, which is five times higher than the direct emissions of forest industry mills. The climate impact is estimated to grow up to 17.5 Mt CO2/a by 2035. The roadmap also suggests that at the same time it is possible to increase the added value of forest industry production, which in turn, would create economic benefits for society in the form of e.g. tax revenue and new jobs.
Did you know that...?
• The forest industry covers approximately one fifth of Finland’s goods exports
• 75% of Finland’s land area is covered in forests, which makes Finland the most forested country in Europe. Forests are also our most valuable natural resource.
• Forest industry products account for over 16 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions abated globally per year. This is one-third of all CO₂ emissions of Finland at the moment.