Finns love trees and renewable forests. We also have a deep and wide-ranging appreciation for products made of wood and wood materials. For example, more than 70% of Finns would prefer living in a loghouse or other type of timber-framed house rather than in a stone house. Of course, this is not possible for everyone, but it certainly is a common hope and dream.

What is it about wood as a material that fascinates people? Which factors inspire a consumer to choose a wooden product? The answer can be found in the versatility and durability of the material. Wood has a pleasant feel and is renewable, recyclable, aesthetic and often Finnish. Compared to plastic or steel that are appreciated for characteristics such as affordability and durability, wood has a considerably wider range of properties.

From the perspective of promoting the economy and creating well-being, Finns have a positive attitude towards the manufacture of wooden products as long as new trees are planted and grown in place of the harvested ones. Almost 80% of consumers share this mindset. Similarly, two thirds of Finns find harvesting trees for manufacture acceptable as long as negative impact on biodiversity is aimed to be minimised. Finns also have a positive attitude towards the use of renewable materials when they are used to replace products made out of fossil resources.

Consumers more aware of products’ climate impact than biodiversity impact

Finnish consumers find the use of forest industry products an eco-friendly choice (64%), and only an incremental number of us (3%) think that the use of wooden products accelerates climate change.

However, consumers are not quite as sure about the biodiversity impact of products; 37% believe that using wooden products promotes biodiversity, while 17% believe the opposite. In turn, 23% believe that using wooden products has very little impact on biodiversity, and 23%responded that they cannot say.

These figures show that, when it comes to communicating about biodiversity, the forest industry and companies manufacturing wooden products, in particular, have their work cut out for them, but the opportunities are also intriguing. Increasing consumers’ understanding of not only the products’ carbon footprint but also their handprint, in other words their positive climate impact, may have an extensive impact on consumer habits. Our consumer habits may be climate positive and promote biodiversity.

P.S. The data referred to in the blog post are based on the Consumption Behaviour and Sustainability survey commissioned by Finnish Forest Industries and conducted by Taloustutkimus Oy. A total of 3,108 people responded to the survey between February and March 2022. The margin of error for the results of the internet panel survey is +/- 1.8 percentage points.