Woodworkers' union goes green:
Support for a green tax reform
Helsinki (30.09.2010 - Juhani Artto) The next Finnish
government programme should strongly support the wood-working
industries, the Wood and Allied Workers' Union in its new government
plan. It would help Finland both to reach the very demanding targets of
reducing carbon dioxide emissions and to create new sustainable jobs.
More support for wood-working industries could be implemented by a tax
reform that would favour products and production that are carbon neutral
or whose carbon foot-print is small. The same criteria should be adopted
in public investment support and research financing, the union says.
It is at pains to point out that one cubic meter of wood, used, for
example, in constructing buildings, reduces carbon dioxide emissions by
2 tons. This figure is arrived at, by calculating altogether the amount
of carbon dioxide that a tree needs for its growth (0.9 tons per one ton
of wood) and the carbon dioxide emissions of the competing material that
is replaced by wood (1.1 tons).
Favouring wood in the construction of buildings etc. could have sizable
positive and advantageous effects throughout the whole of Europe. A
quarter of the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, demanded by the
Kyoto protocol, could be reached by increasing the amount of wooden
buildings in Europe by ten per cent.
In Finland, up until recently it has been an article of faith…and a
common saying…that this far northern country has always lived and
benefited by using its forests. But today this saying has been
supplanted by another saying. Nowadays, modern Finns like to say that
Finland stands on two legs - one of them is wooden, the other one is
made of metal. The change has been based on the rise of metal,
metalworking and the electronic industries.
The basis for the enduring significance of the wood working industries
(including pulp, paper and board industries) lies naturally in the vast
forests Finland has. Finland has more forests than any other EU member
State, excepting that of Sweden.