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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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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.