The role of the European Union as a determinant for the operating environment of the forest industry is becoming even stronger. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is strengthening its advocacy in the changing situation by opening its own office in the capital of Europe. Experienced EU influencer Kaisu Karvala has been recruited to head the new office.

The European Union is a vital economic and political community for Finland and our forest industry. However, several recent European legislative projects have shown that the extensive climate and economic benefits offered by sustainable forestry, which is enabled by wood-based products and their production, are not properly identified or recognised in the EU.

- The EU is very strongly in the focus of the lobbying of Finnish forest industry. That is why we are starting to build our own, permanent presence in Brussels, says Paula Lehtomäki, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

Kaisu Karvala to head the Finnish Forest Industries Federation’s office in Brussels

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation will open its own office in Brussels in February 2023. Experienced EU influencer Kaisu Karvala has been elected to head the office. Karvala currently leads the Policy Innovation team of the public policy firm Access Partnership as the Head of Region Europe and UK. She works with sustainable development and EU legislation projects of global technology companies. Karvala and her teams also advise EU institutions and individual Member States.

- We primarily wanted a person with very solid Brussels experience and networks. And in this, Kaisu is the best expert, Lehtomäki says.

Karvala has led a wide range of global communications and advocacy campaigns. She has worked in Brussels since 1996. Among other things, Karvala has worked as Group Vice President for Corporate and Public Affairs at Telia, Chairperson of GSMA Europe, Vice President of Rovio Entertainment Global Public Affairs and Communications business unit and Chief Strategist of the Brussels-based consulting firm Fipra. Karvala has a Master's Degree in political sciences and government.

- It is a privilege to be able to represent the Finnish forest industry and introduce the world's most innovative renewable materials technology in Brussels. It's also time to strengthen our voice in the right arenas and at the right time. It is important that the EU recognises Finland's role as a driver of development: renewable and recyclable wood is an essential part of European material and energy self-sufficiency and, therefore, an important part of Europe's success and security. Finland must be even stronger and braver in defending its national interests when pursuing common goals, as do all other Member States, says Karvala.

- Understanding of the basics of Nordic forestry and forest industry, and the significant climate and economic benefits they produce, is, unfortunately, at a weak level. We need an even stronger voice in Brussels. Finland must take an active role in shifting the Union's focus from fossil raw materials and the materials based on them to renewable ones, Lehtomäki sums up.