The application period for Metsä Group’s funding programme for nature restoration projects started yesterday. Funding for planned and targeted measures aiming at safeguarding biodiversity can be applied for until 30 April. Metsä Group’s nature programme is a ten-year funding scheme, launched in 2021, which finances development projects promoting biodiversity implemented outside commercial Finnish forests. To date, 16 different projects across Finland have been granted funding, amounting to €600,000. The company does not seek business profit through the projects.
The funded projects can be related to rehabilitation of aquatic bird habitats and wetlands, watercourses, small waterbodies and the living conditions of pollinators, for example. Applications related to technical innovations and practical solutions are also welcome.
“Bolstering Finnish nature is an important common goal. Restoration is an essential measure in the work aimed at the recovery of nature at sites altered by humans. Metsä Group is a major social operator. With this funding programme, we want to demonstrate that the private sector can also finance restoration measures,” says Metsä Group’s leading nature expert, Timo Lehesvirta.
“Nature is our shared national capital, and we depend on it in many ways. The objective of our ten-year programme is to create a new operating culture and promote local cooperation where nature brings Finns together in the spirit of cooperation, bridging any divides,” Lehesvirta explains.
The selection of the projects is conducted by an independent expert jury, with representatives from the University of Eastern Finland, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.
“Metsä Group’s funding model for restoration projects leads the way as an example of the possibilities of corporate social responsibility in the midst of a sustainability transition. Companies play a key role both in safeguarding biodiversity and in climate action,” says Elina Oksanen, member of the Finnish Nature Panel, Professor in Plant Physiology and Biotechnology at the University of Eastern Finland and member of the jury.
This year, the ten-year funding programme has been allocated €600,000. The aim is to create a diverse set of cooperation projects over the years, in which best practices and the lessons learned are shared between the different operators to develop operations. The insights from these projects are shared in an annual event aimed at the project managers which also provides an opportunity for networking.
“The company bears an important responsibility in the environmental issues of forest management. The forest sustainability themes are developed and implemented in our ecological sustainability programme which has been integrated into the wood supply strategy. The funding programme for promoting restoration measures expands this set of actions,” says Lehesvirta.