Forest Academy

“Thanks for bringing us to the future! The EU Bioeconomy Strategy should be following what Finland and Sweden already do” - The Forest Academy makes an impact to EU Decision Making

EU Decision Makers received loads of new best practices, technologies, groundbreaking ideas and innovations during the three days of the first Forest Academy organized for them by Finland and Sweden. The importance of the forest sector in the fight against climate change was effectively revealed by the eye-opening presentations from Ministers of the two countries as well as top CEOs and experts. The various opportunities and the huge potential of forests were welcomed by a highly receptive audience.
Getting ready to see a real forest. EU Decision Makers at the Forest Academy, hosted by Metsä Group. Photo: Mikko Norros, Hopiasepät Ltd
Getting ready to see a real forest. EU Decision Makers at the Forest Academy, hosted by Metsä Group. Photo: Mikko Norros, Hopiasepät Ltd

Press Release, 23.11.2018 Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers, Finland

“Thanks for bringing us to the future! This was a really future-oriented visit,” assessed Robert Schröder,Member of the Commissioner Carlos Moedas’ Cabinet.

According to Schröder, the first Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers was a real eye-opener, highlighting the need for an interdisciplinary approach and broad cooperation between industrial, agricultural, economical and environmental actors and perspectives.

“We are working from our desks in Brussels, so this was a great opportunity to see how things work in practice. The Bioeconomy Strategy of the EU must reinforce what we have now seen: Finland and Sweden are frontrunners. The strategy should be following what Finland and Sweden already seem to do”, told Schröder in the conclusive discussion of the Academy.

The analysis of Schröder was strongly supported by other key influencers.

“The last couple of days have certainly educated me a lot. Among the many great presentations, we learned for example that the cement industry emits four times as much carbon dioxide as air traffic does, which really makes you think about constructing with wood”, described Tom Tynan, serving in the cabinet of Commissioner Phil Hogan.

“A really important message was that everything now made of fossil materials can soon be made of biomaterials from trees. Another message to be taken to policymaking is that the harvest must always be below the growth”, summarized Tynan his key take-aways.

“Spread the knowledge!”

Nathalie De Basaldúa, the Deputy Head of Cabinet of Vice President Jyrki Katainen, agreed with Schröder and Tynan and had an important addition to make.

“The knowledge of Finland and Sweden needs to spread to the EU. However, please broaden the Academy from the institutions to the people from the Member States, since so many things rely on the competence of states”, underlined De Basaldúa in her thanks to the organizers.

Broader communication of the huge potential of forests was called for also by Kristian Hedberg, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Elżbieta Bieńkowska.

“We got really valuable takeouts to our policy work. I come from these parts myself, but I still go back to Brussels with new understanding of what the future might hold. One important thing I think we should add to the list is raising the awareness of people. Many of the impressive visions we’ve heard have to be driven by customer demand”, reminded Hedberg in his closing remarks.

“Turbo-injection of information”

Many important observations of the discussed topics were brought to the table among voluble thanks to the organizers. The participants were really taken to forests and forestry, touching new products concretely and talking directly to the best experts Finland and Sweden can offer.

“This was really a turbo-injection of information. As a financial expert, I can see how with improved practical definitions of sustainability also finance will actually contribute to benefit the environment. The knowledge of the Nordic Countries needs to be taken into account in the decision making”, crystallized Eila Kreivi, Director at the European Investment Bank.

A notable MEP, Paul Brannen found a major possibility especially in construction.

“There are big wins to be made with building more with engineered wood. And do it quickly! That would be a good direction to be heading. Speaking for sustainable use of forests both preserving and utilizing is a highly winnable campaign”, argued Brannen, adding his thanks for the hospitality and high quality of the Academy.

The Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers isorganized by the Finnish Forest Association and Swedish Forest Agency, on the basis of the extremely successful Finnish Forest Academy for Decision Makers. The Academy, working with the patronage of the Finnish Prime Minister, has educated 1500 top Finnish Decision Makers to better understand the potential and status of forests and forestry. The next Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers will be organized with the lead of the Swedish Forest Agency.

Additional information:

Elina Antila, Director, Forest Academy for Decision Makers, Finnish Forest Association, +358 50 351 2411,



Getting ready to see a real forest. EU Decision Makers at the Forest Academy, hosted by Metsä Group. Photo: Mikko Norros, Hopiasepät Ltd
Getting ready to see a real forest. EU Decision Makers at the Forest Academy, hosted by Metsä Group. Photo: Mikko Norros, Hopiasepät Ltd

About Forest Academy

The Forest Academy for Decision Makers is an information and discussion forum for decision makers and other influential persons in society. Its aims are to stimulate the interest of influential persons in forest issues, to enhance their level of information on forests, and to forge interaction between experts in the forest sector and other fields. The body in charge of organizing the Forest Academy is the Finnish Forest Association.

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Latest releases from Forest Academy

Finlands statsminister Juha Sipilä föreslår en EU-klimatfond för beskogning – Ett viktigt nytt initiativ, som kommer att utredas, för att bekämpa klimatförändringen i partnerskap med Afrika, presenterat av minister Jari Leppä21.11.2018 19:19:00 EET | Tiedote

Finland föreslår ett viktigt nytt initiativ för att bekämpa klimatförändringen genom beskogning genom samarbete mellan EU och Afrika. Statsminister Juha Sipilä har redan diskuterat Finlands initiativ med Europeiska kommissionens ordförande Jean-Claude Juncker. Jord- och skogsbruksminister Jari Leppä har informerat EU:s jordbrukskommissionär Phil Hogan och medlemsstaterna om saken. Initiativet lanserades idag av minister Leppä på den första EU-Skogsakademin för beslutsfattare som ordnades av Finland och Sverige.

Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipilä Proposes an EU-Africa Forest Fund - Major New Initiative to battle Climate Change in Africa and globally now under consideration, presented by Minister Leppä21.11.2018 19:13:10 EET | Press release

Finland proposed a major new initiative to fight climate change with forestation through EU-Africa Partnership. Finland’s Prime Minister, Mr. Juha Sipilä has already discussed the Finnish initiative with the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker. Mr. Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry has informed the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan and the Member States. The initiative was presented today by Minister Leppä at the first Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers, organized by Finland and Sweden.

Pääministeri Juha Sipilä ehdottaa EU-Afrikka -metsärahastoa – Merkittävä uusi aloite ilmastonmuutoksen torjumiseksi Afrikassa ja globaalisti nyt harkittavana, maa- ja metsätalousministeri Leppä esitteli21.11.2018 19:07:11 EET | Tiedote

Suomi on ehdottanut merkittävää uutta aloitetta ilmastonmuutoksen torjumiseksi metsittämisen avulla, EU-Afrikka -kumppanuuden kautta. Pääministeri Juha Sipilä on jo keskustellut Suomen aloitteesta Euroopan komission puheenjohtajan Jean-Claude Junckerin kanssa. Maa- ja metsätalousministeri Jari Leppä on informoinut EU:n maatalouskomissaaria Phil Hogania sekä muita EU-maita aloitteesta. Aloitteen esitteli tänään ministeri Leppä ensimmäisessä EU-päätöksentekijöille pidettävässä Metsäakatemiassa, jonka järjestävät Suomi ja Ruotsi yhdessä.

KIIREELLINEN MEDIAKUTSU: Suomelta merkittävä ilmastoaloite EU:lle – Ministeri Leppä esittelee illalla pääministeri Sipilän uraauurtavan avauksen21.11.2018 12:00:48 EET | Kutsu

Pääministeri Sipilän merkittävä uusi ilmastoaloite Euroopan unionille nousee päärooliin, kun Suomen ja Ruotsin yhdessä järjestämä ensimmäinen Metsäakatemia EU-päättäjille (Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers) tänään alkaa. Maa- ja metsätalousministeri Jari Leppä esittelee Sipilän ehdotuksen kansainväliselle yleisölle heti akatemian aluksi, keskiviikkoiltana Asikkalassa klo 18.15 pidettävässä lehdistötilaisuudessa. Sekä Sipilä että Leppä ovat jo keskustelleet uraauurtavasta ilmastoavauksesta EU-johdon kanssa.

KALLELSE TILL MEDIA: Skogarnas roll i klimatförändringen: EU-Skogsakademin lägger fram ett nytt initiativ för att bekämpa klimatförändringen – minister Jari Leppä presenterar initiativet den 21 november19.11.2018 16:00:00 EET | Kutsu

Skogsakademin för EU-beslutsfattare (Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers) ordnas för första gången den 21−23 november 2018. Evenemanget ordnas som ett gemensamt initiativ av Finland och Sverige. Jord- och skogsbruksminister Jari Leppä och hans svenske kollega Sven-Erik Bucht inleder Skogsakademin med att berätta om skogsbioekonomi och skogens betydelse i bekämpningen av klimatförändringen. Presskonferensen hålls på onsdag kväll den 21 november 2018 i Asikkala.

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