Forest industry in Finland

Wood processing remains an important sector of industry in Finland. In 2016 the value of production of forest industry in Finland, including furniture industry, was 20 billion euros. This was almost fifth of all industrial production.

With respect to foreign trade, forest industry is one of the key sectors as it accounts for a fifth of Finland’s export revenues and five per cent of the gross domestic product.

Modern forest industry uses efficiently by-products of industrial processes

Modern pulp and paper mills and sawmills operate with an integrated approach using industrial by-products for the production of other products or for energy. Traditional mill sites have been turned into biorefineries, where every component of the wood material is utilised for the production of innovative biomaterials and bioproducts. 

Finland has three major international forest corporations – Stora Enso, UPM and Metsä Board. All three of these major corporations have large mills abroad, too. In addition, there are currently about 170 industrial sawmills in FInland. Finland has a wide range of companies serving the forest industry in sectors such as forest machinery manufacture and the provision of consultancy services.

Wood raw materials contain ingredients that are increasingly used in chemical and medical industry

Historically, the Finnish wood-processing industry began with sawmilling. Nowadays the most important export products of Finnish forest industry are pulp, paper, paperboard, packaging materials and sawnwood. Products of the pulp and paper industries account for about three quarters of all forest industry products, while respective figure for the wood products industries is about 25 per cent. Nowadays sidestreams and residues of wood processing are used also for production of wood-based biodiesel and bio-oils.

In past years, there have been a large number of new innovations for using wood fibres. Examples of new wood-based products include microfibrils, nanocellulose, formable plywood, thermoformable paperboard and different biocomposites, which combine wood and fibres with other materials. Wood material and fibres are also used for medicines, functional foods, plastics and cosmetics. Wood-based textiles are currently being developed in several Finnish projects.

Related links
Finland's top export products 2017 (Finnish Forest Industries)
Statistics (Finnish Forest Industries Association)
Graphs concerning forest industry in Finland (Forest.fi)
Newest products and services of forest bioeconomy (Forest bioeconomy future catalogue)
Wood based bioeconomy solving global challenges, 2017

Further information

Kaisa Pirkola, Ministerial Adviser 
MMM, Luonnonvaraosasto, Metsä- ja bioenergiayksikkö 0295162350