In Finland forest industry already today is an excellent example of circular economy. The raw material is fully used. Out of 2.2cbm of logs we can produce only about 1cbm of sawn timber but also the side products (bark, chips, saw dust) can be utilised as fossil free source of energy, for pellet production etc. Also, the treetops and branches at the felling site can be collected and used for energy production.

In 2020 the share of renewable energy of the total energy consumption in Finland was about 40 %. The share of wood-based fuels of the total energy consumption was approximately 28 %. The use of wood for energy production does hence advance the good forest management and decreases the consumption of fossil fuels as a source of energy.

Furthermore, the forest industry is constantly developing more energy efficient production processes and new ways to utilise the side products.

Forestry in Finland

Forestry in Finland is strictly regulated and guided by the national laws, forest certification schemes and forestry recommendations. The first Forest Act in Finland entered into force in 1886 and already back then the Act prohibited the disposal of forests. This means that in Finland there is an obligation of the forest owners to regenerate the forests after cutting. On average  4 – 5 new trees are planted for each felled tree. Keitele Group does offer forest regenerating services for the forest owners.

Forests, Timber and Wood Products as a Solution

A growing forest can bind carbon dioxide effectively from the atmosphere and the carbon stays stored in wooden products until the end of the products life cycle. For building products this can mean dozens of years, in some cases even over a hundred years. Even after that, wooden products can be used further for energy as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Approximately half of a trees dry weight is carbon. For sawn timber this means that one cubic meter of sawn timber can bind approximately a tonne of carbon. An average Finnish wooden single-family house does bind carbon in its wooden structures approximately 25 tonnes. This is equal to 10-year emissions of car driving of an average individual.

Well-managed and sustainable utilisation of forests is a long-term solution for binding and storing carbon.

Key terms

Carbon footprint – carbon dioxide emissions caused by human activity, often also other significant greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, are taken into account

Carbon handprint – a beneficial impact on climate created by using a product, process or service

Carbon sink – any action, process or mechanism that binds carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, carbon sinks increase the size of the carbon storage

Carbon storage – a form of carbon that instead of being released in the atmosphere is bound for example in a tree or some other type of biomass

Carbon neutrality – a balance between carbon emissions and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere