Ursula von der Leyen: "The forests are our best allies to fight climate change"

Photo: Lauri Heikkinen / Finska Regeringskansliet

How can forests provide inspiration and materials for sustainable construction, while fostering biodiversity and carbon storage? This issue is currently being discussed in a Finnish forest, where the EU initiative New European Bauhaus has arranged the conference "Into the Woods".

The New European Bauhaus initiative, which is part of the European Green Deal, aims to build a more sustainable, inclusive and beautiful Europe. The transdisciplinary initiative creates a bridge between science, technology, art and culture.

In addition to being a creative meeting to promote sustainable construction and design, Into the Woods is a high-level arena for politicians and decision-makers. Among the participants is the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius.

"The forests are our best allies to fight climate change", said von der Leyen in her address.

Director General for the Swedish Forest Industries Federation (SFIF), Viveka Beckeman, is also there to partake in the discussion.

"Wood is a fantastic material for which we keep discovering new uses. The technical development enables us to use the unique properties of wood to create increasingly challenging constructions and designs. We constantly strive to use the whole tree as efficiently as possible. Into the Woods provides inspiration in our efforts to create beautiful and healthy environments for people to live and work in", says Viveka Beckeman.

The meeting’s Nordic character was provided by the Prime Ministers of Finland and Estonia, Sanna Marin and Kaja Kallas, and Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Ebba Busch. Busch emphasized the forests’ great importance for our personal well-being as well as for the climate, biodiversity and the economy. Increased construction in wood was highlighted as an important way to replace fossil-based building materials, but also as an opportunity to create new human-centered living environments.

"The forest is a key priority. We need more wood from sustainably managed forests. High environmental ambitions go hand in hand with high growth", said Ebba Busch.