Vice statsminister Ebba Busch anförande vid evenemanget "Into the woods" i Finland
Anförande från energi- och näringsminister samt vice statsminister Ebba Busch vid evenemanget Into the Woods, som är en del av initiativet Ett nytt europeiskt Bauhaus, i Esbo, Finland den 24 november 2022.
Talet är publicerat på engelska. Det talade ordet gäller.
Dear exellencies, ladies and gentlemen, bästa åhörare, hyvät kuulijat! I’m deeply honoured to be here representing the new Swedish government. I would like to thank our Finnish colleagues for inviting us all and for arranging this event in this beautiful venue.
As Northerners, we are all somehow related to the forest. The woods are our home environment and, at the same time, one of our most important resources. It is a key resource for our industry as well as for our wellbeing, culture and environment.
Using wood for building our houses has been a matter of course for as long as we have lived here. Among Swedes, the small, red painted wooden house is probably one of the foremost national symbols that we all can relate to. I reckon most of you are familiar with the works of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Those Bullerby houses are common on this side of the Baltic Sea as well.
Now might be the time for us to broaden the scope for what the woods can bring us. It might also be part of the solutions for the great challenges that we face today.
Climate change leaves no one unaffected. Environmental problems are one of the great cross-border issues of our time. Our climate and environment policy must be ambitious. The Swedish government will develop a programme for international climate investments in accordance with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. These investments will contribute to achieving the Swedish climate objective of net-zero emissions by 2045.
When it comes to the climate action, trade-offs must be made when interests are at odds. Forestry is one example, where we would like to encourage the EU to take full account of the role that the forest plays – both as a source of energy, as a base for sustainable products and as an economic engine. But also as a carbon sink and basis for biodiversity.
Forestry and the use of forest-based products is a key priority for the green transition. Forest based products, such as wooden houses, both reduce the dependency of fossil-based materials and act as carbon sinks, often for generations.
Therefore, we need more – not less – sustainably produced wood from the forest. We need the forest to grow even better and continue to develop the way we manage our forests. High environmental ambitions should go hand in hand with increased sustainable forest growth and production.
Each forest is a unique forest. And each forest owner is unique with unique goals for her forest. This diversity is a valuable strength as well as a big opportunity.
In line with this I think it is crucial not to think “one size fit’s all” when it comes to forestry. It is important to allow for consideration to local and regional conditions.
It is my firm belief that sustainable forestry contributes to both fight climate, change, safeguard biological diversity, and to enhance the bioeconomy. Many Swedish business actors have solutions that can accelerate the transition, in areas such as sustainable materials, renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as create future competitiveness, and add values for people and the society.
Modern industrialized construction with wood is an excellent example. In Sweden wood increases rapidly as a building material in family houses, schools and other buildings. This creates double climate benefits: Carbon stored in the building as well as less CO2-emission from fossil-based materials.
Around 70 percent of Sweden is forest land. And about 80 percent of our forest land is in active use for timber production. Every year almost 100 million cubic metres is harvested to be used as long-lived wood products, packaging, paper and energy by people all over the world. And every year, at least 380 million trees are planted in Sweden. Over the past 100 years, Sweden's forest resource has doubled. Active and sustainable forest management is an important part of that.
Apart from the obvious climate benefits of wood construction I would also like to highlight other positive aspects of this material. Wood is unique in the potential it brings for industrialisation. Given its low weight you can manufacture large, prefabricated elements in a controlled factory environment. This enables automation, repetition and cost-effectiveness.
As the construction sector struggles with low productivity, low innovation and high costs the benefits of increasing productivity in this sector cannot be understated.
What goes around comes around, or, as Finns phrase it: Som man ropar i skogen får man svar. Niin metsä vastaa kuin sinne huudetaan.
No one can deny that the design of our built living environments impacts our lives and shapes us as human beings. It affects our performance, resilience, health and well-being, but also how we take part in society. High quality in architecture and design is therefore a matter of quality of life and sustainability.
The New European Bauhaus reflects Sweden’s views on architecture and design as key tools for building sustainable societies. We all need carefully designed living environments that are both human-centred and address all the dimensions of sustainability.
The creative process of architects and designers offers unique opportunities to probe more deeply into the problems and conditions prevalent in our societies, to find new solutions, to spur innovation process and the transition to a green economy. And not least, to create sustainable, inclusive and beautiful living spaces and environments in both urban and rural areas.
With architectural expertise, sustainable forest-based materials, and innovative companies the tradition of wood construction can continue to create resilient and beautiful living environments for future generations.
From a Swedish perspective, I really appreciate the ambition of this event to highlight the value chain from forest to built environment. In line with the ambitions of the New European Bauhaus, this holistic view to sustainable development might be a key to future progress.
Innovation and research are the long-term motors of economy. Increased investment in these areas is crucial for European companies to assert themselves in global competition. The progress in wood building technology is a great example of how such investments can help us solve the urgent challenges of our time.
I thank you once again for bringing these crucial issues to the agenda, and I wish you all a fruitful day of discussions and cooperation.