The Swedish forest sector drives sustainable growth in the global bioeconomy. In order for this growth and development to continue, competitiveness in the forest industry is a must.
The Swedish forest industry is world class, with a current base that consists of timber goods, paper and cardboard. The forest sector in Sweden contributes around SEK 130 billion to the domestic economy on an annual basis and employs about 70,000 people.
Why competitiveness is important
The Swedish forest industry's customers and competitors are found far beyond the country's borders. A large part of our production is exported and sold on highly competitive markets where pricing is often global. That is why it is important for the Swedish forest industry to be able to operate on an equal playing field in terms of electricity prices, permit reviews, investment climate and taxation. Maintaining international competitiveness is thus essential for the safeguarding of jobs, exports and welfare.
Political decisions can help or hinder competitiveness. Access to cost-efficient transport is vital for the forest industry. The raw materials that we produce are transported considerable distances for processing, with the finished products then sent all around the world.
The forest industry is an electricity-intensive sector. Consequently, energy supplies and electricity prices are important factors in competitiveness. The Swedish Forest Industries Federation would like to see a long-term and predictable energy policy. It thus welcomes political agreements that transcend party and block lines.
A sustainable sector
The more we use our forests, the more climate benefit they provide. This is especially true when oil-based products and services are replaced by our forest-based, renewable, raw materials. Furthermore, the more value we add to our Swedish raw materials in turning them into products and services on the global market, the greater the impact our forests can have on the Swedish economy in terms of growth, employment and contributions in the form of tax revenues for Swedish welfare.
Our forests must, of course, be used sustainably. Today, the timber production goal and the goal of maintaining biological diversity are on an equal footing. This creates good conditions for sustainable forestry. For the Swedish forest industry, it is important that forestry operations, regulatory authorities and non-profit organisations try to reach greater consensus on targets for our forests as well as how a sound environmental approach is to be achieved.