Finnish-Swedish paper and pulp manufacturer Stora Enso has recently released a report that shows it has invested EUR 3 billion in forestry research abroad, compared to just EUR 1 billion in Finland.
Another forestry giant in the country, UPM has also been accused of failing to invest enough in forestry research domestically. Lauri Hetemäki, special researcher at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), says that the most recent paper machine developed and built in Finland dates from way back in 1998. Meanwhile, the firm has made forestry investments totalling EUR 1.8 billion abroad.
Hetemäki says the forestry products capacity in Finland has slowed down in recent years and says domestic investment in research and development is needed. She explains, “the cost-cutting measures do not mean the end of the world, as new operations will inevitably replace the closed mills. However, it is alarming that during the recession the prerequisites for new business activities are particularly difficult in those localities that have been hit by layoffs.”
Along with many other experts in the industry, she believed that wood based energy products could be the future of forestry but insists that government and companies need to invest in forestry research to make this happen.