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Finnish forest industry at turning point


November 20, 2007
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Helsinki, Finland — Jussi Pesonen, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation …

Helsinki, Finland — Jussi Pesonen, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and president & CEO of UPM discussed the industry’s turning point at the Federations annual autumn meeting recently. “Increasing the efficiency of operations, streamlining structures and developing new businesses and products will safeguard the industry’s competitiveness and establish a strong foundation for future, he said. “I foresee a lowering of the barriers that separate manufacturing from services as well as the adoption of networked activities between strategic partners.”

Pesonen mentioned the overall cost level as a current challenge for the forest industry, noting that the cost of raw materials, labour and transports is higher in Finland than in key rival countries. “A lot of work is needed to improve Finlands cost competitiveness. In addition to measures undertaken by companies themselves, state authorities play a crucial role in the development of our operating environment.” He noted that energy costs were more of a factor in the forestry industry than in other sectors.

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“Modernisation of the paper industry’s collective labour agreement, the term of which ends next spring, is one of the most central improvements necessary to improve competitiveness and, as such, a shared responsibility for both employees and employers. Many of the recently concluded collective labour agreements in the forest industry contained significant steps forward, thanks to which it will be possible to improve productivity and respond more flexibly to changes in demand. Once the means necessary for real productivity increases were discovered, it was also possible to raise employees’ income levels.”

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation represents companies in the wood-processing industries in Finland. Membership covers the pulp, paper and paperboard industries and most of the sawmilling, wood-based panel and wood products industry in Finland.


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