The continuing COVID-19 pandemic affects people’s lives and the business operating environment in many ways. The implementation of the EU’s recovery package, NextGenerationEU, is underway, and the major investment in the green transition it involves is relevant from the forest industry’s viewpoint. It is important for the forest industry that the package is implemented efficiently, with a focus on enterprises, and with a technology neutral approach. At the European level, however, it must be ensured that the recovery mea­sures do not distort competition.

The forest industry’s products, made from renewable raw materials, and the sustainable forest management that facilitates their production, have the potential to offer significantly higher climate benefits at the global scale than at present, and foster economic growth in Europe.

The European Commission launched its massive climate policy proposals, known as the Fit for 55 -package, in the summer. The package includes numerous highly detailed regulations that affect the forest industry. Unfortunately, the legislative proposals lack, in many respects, an understanding of the economic use of forests, and the climate benefits that the forest sector produces. It is important to ensure that the details will be specified during future preparation, in a way that safeguards Finland’s competitiveness and takes the potential of forest industry products into consideration.

The green industrial transition, outlined in the European Commission’s Green Deal, is steered based on the European Industrial Strategy, updated in spring 2021.  Like the bioeconomy at large, the forest industry is notably neglected in it. The EU justifies this with the existence of the separate Bioeconomy Strategy, adopted in 2018. The problem is that the implementation of the Bioeconomy Strategy is currently limited to the domain of research policy and measures only, abandoning industrial bioeconomy in a policy void. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation finds this situation particularly problematic because industry-friendly strategies are very much needed alongside the EU’s highly pro-environmental policy drivers.

The results of a survey, conducted by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation in early August 2021 among Finns, about their attitudes towards the sector and the European Union, indicate that more than 80 % of the respondents consider the sector to be an important source of employment and wealth for the whole of Finland. In fact, 74 % of Finns agree, or quite agree that it is up to our decision-makers to defend the preconditions of the forest industry in the EU.

In this publication, we have assembled the forest industry’s most topical advocacy issues in the EU. Our experts will be happy to provide further information.