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VILLE SKINNARI, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Ville Skinnari has been serving as Finland’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade in the cabinet of Prime Minister Sanna Marin since 2019. Skinnari has been member of the Finnish Parliament since 2015. Earlier in his career, he worked in the field of international trade, including developing Nokia’s service business for the Asian and European markets and serving as the Business Development Director for the Koillismaa region. He has also ran a small company of his own and worked as a specialist in international law. From 1995 until 1999, Skinnari worked as a freelance journalist in Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Since 2019 Skinnari is Member of the Governing Board for OECD/UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB). Previous activities include: Hockey Unlimited, Member of the Board (2014–2019); Lahti Energia Oy, Vice-Chair of the Board (2013–2017).

KAI MERIVUORI, Managing Director, Finnish Sawmills

Mr Merivuori has a solid track record within the international sawmill industry and its role within the forest industry sector. He has thorough understanding of the value chain from the forest to the customers. His managerial experience from industry management as well as from project management in multi-cultural consulting environment is profound. Mr Merivuori has been involved in developing the Finnish forest policy and legislation. He is a member of the Finnish Forest Council, Finnish Bioeconomy Panel, Specialist Board member Finnish Forest Foundation and a Board member EOS (European Organisation of Sawmill industries).

TOMMI SNECK, Director, Koskisen Oy and Chairman of the Board, Finnish Sawmills

Tommi Sneck is a director of the sawmill industry of Koskisen Oy, a leading family owned Finnish mechanical forest industry company, operating at two locations in Finland and in Russia. On the top of sawmilling, Mr. Sneck is responsible for the manufacturing and marketing of Koskisen’s further processed wood products. He is a member of the management team of Koskisen Oy. Tommi has graduated from Helsinki University of Technology.

Tommi has a profound working history within the international sawmill industry in Finland and abroad, both with private and public companies. His experience also includes international sales and sales management to wholesale customers, retailers and industries around the world.

Tommi has served as the Chairman of the Board of the Association of Finnish Sawmillmen and continues as a board member. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Sawmills Association and is also a board member at East Office of Finnish Industries.

ANNIINA KOSTILAINEN, Manager of Public Relations, Finnish Sawmills

MS Anniina Kostilainen works as a Manager of Public Relations at the Finnish Sawmills. She has her background in the forest sector in various positions. Ms Kostilainen has worked in the private sector, as a state official in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and as a Director of the National FSC Office. She is passionate about sustainable development, improving communications and finding the strengths of people and the whole sawmilling sector. Ms Kostilainen has an MSc in Forest Economics from Helsinki University.

ANNA NI, Senior Advisor for Business Finland

Currently Anna is working as Senior Adviser for Business Finland. She has Anna has got more than 10 years experience in international timber trading and an equally rich experience in global sawn softwood marketing, procurement and sales. Her abundant global sourcing channels of sawn softwood reach from Finland, Sweden, Canada, Russia, USA, New Zealand to Chile. During her career, she also has established networks for sawn softwood sales and marketing in China, furthermore she is skilled in macro-economy, foreign exchange and political policy analysis. She is a problem solver, self-motivated quick learner and a team player with high sense of responsibility.

RUSS TAYLOR, President, Russ Taylor Global

Russ Taylor worked in forestry and sawmills in his early career and then started International WOOD MARKETS Group in 1992. After 25 years, the business was sold to Forest Economic Advisors in August 2017 along with a commitment for a three-year employment contract. Effective September 2020, Russ has started up the next phase of his career with Russ Taylor Global – Wood Business & Market Consulting.

Mr. Taylor conducts wood products market analysis/intelligence and business assessment/investment analysis on timber/lumber for global industry clients and for internal reports. He (normally) travels extensively to key producing, exporting and importing countries in Asia, Russia, Europe, the Southern Hemisphere and within North America to obtain first -hand insights. He also created a number of monthly newsletters and various multi-client reports that involve strategic insights and outlooks for global markets.

Mr. Taylor has published hundreds of articles and has made about 300 presentations all over the world.

Mr. Taylor has a forestry degree (BScF) and an MBA, both from the University of B.C., and is also a B.C. registered professional forester (RPF-Ret).

PIIA-NOORA KAUPPI, Managing Director, Finanssiala ry

Member of the Board of Directors, UPM Kymmene plc and Gofore plc. Board Chair of SOS-Children’ Villages Foundation Finland, Board member of Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau. Member of the Board of Finnish Olympic Committee Support Fund. Board Chair of HIFK Gymnastics. Member of the Trustees of Helsinki Deaconess Institute and HSE Foundation. World Economic Forum Young Global Leader alumni.

Member of the European Parliament 1999–2008, Head of the Finnish Delegation in the EPP-ED Group 2004–2008. 

President of the European Banking Industry Committee EBIC 2010-2011. Chairman of the European Banking Federation Executive Committee 2014-2015.  

Mrs Kauppi is married to Mr. Jussi Antero Järvinen (Tax Partner, KPMG Finland) with four children, born in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2017. On her freetime she loves skiing, running and triathlon.

PAUL BRANNEN, Director Public Affairs, CEI-Bois and EOS

Paul leads the advocacy engagement of the European woodworking and sawmill industries towards the European institutions especially the Parliament and the Commission. Increasing the use of sustainable wood products in construction and in The Renovation Wave are the priorities with their contribution to helping tackle climate change being central.


Paul is a former UK Member of the European Parliament who in the last parliament served on both the Environment Committee and the Agriculture Committee. He led for the Socialists & Democrats political grouping on forestry and timber issues and was a rapporteur on the previous EU forest strategy and on the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry legislation where he was instrumental in achieving the inclusion of the promotion of long-life harvested wood products, particularly engineered timbers, for use in the construction industry. Paul was also vice chair of the Club du Bois.


Before becoming an MEP Paul worked for the development charity Christian Aid as head of advocacy working primarily on climate change. Earlier roles were with the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Labour Party and HSBC. He holds an MBA for Durham University and a degree in theology and religious studies from Leeds University.

GERD EBNER, Chefredaktion, Leiter Fachgruppe Holz

Gerd Ebner is editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Holzkurier. He is also responsible for two other B2B media. In total, his team includes twelve journalists – the largest editorial team covering the wood industry in Europe.

Ebner studied forestry in Vienna and has been with Holzkurier for over 25 years, since 2021 as editor-in-chief. Timber-Online – the English-language edition of Holzkurier – was also developed under his responsibility.


Dr. Andreas Nikolaus Kleinschmit von Lengefeld is founder and CEO of Homo Silvestris Europae. The company was created under French law in May 2021 in Paris, France.

His career in the entire European forest-based sector spans for 30 years today.

He is the co-coordinator of the late WoodCircus project (, which recently published the White Paper 2040 for the European Woodworking industries. Until the end of 2021 he was employed for two years in the function of Director of International Operations and beforehand for more than 7 years as Director for Innovation and Research at the Institute of Technology, FCBA, HQs in Paris, France.

Throughout his career he had been driving and coordinating manifold industry driven initiatives on European level as for example, since 2005 setting up of the European Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform – FTP (involving 26 National Support Groups, including NO and CH). While steering the FTP he engaged in the production and launching of the European White Paper for the European Bioeconomy (2011), the preparation and facilitating the realisation of the Public-Private-Partnership BBI-BIC, plus several ERA-NETs of high relevance for the forest-based sector.

He coordinated under the EIP AGRI the focus group (FG20) on “Sustainable Mobilisation of Forest Biomass” (2018) and he is the coordinating expert of the EOS (2020) study on a “Real- Time European Forest Monitoring System (RT-EFMS)”.

During his career he had been invited and appointed as member of various expert and advisory groups, lately in the ECOFOR Scientific Council, the ESB Scientific Council. He held various board member positions within the InnovaWood network and the EFI. He initiated the European Hardwoods Innovations Alliance – EHIA.

Since 2012 he is actively involved in the programme committee of the yearly ForumBoisConstruction in France.

AILA AHO, Senior Adviser, Vihreä raha Oy

Aila Aho has extensive experience from leadership positions in banking and finance in the Nordic countries. She has specialized in sustainable finance since 2015 and was a member of the groundbreaking European Commission Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance (2018-2020).  

Currently she works as a Senior Adviser in sustainable finance and strategy in Vihreä raha Oy. Her previous positions include: Head of Sustainable Financing Wholesale banking,  Global Head of Export and Project Finance and Client Executive, in Nordea.  She has complemented her Master’s degree from Aalto University with a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business,  Cambridge University.

MIKAEL WIGELL, Research Director, The Finnish Institute of International Affair

Mikael Wigell is Research Director at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and Adjunct Professor in International Political Economy at the University of Tampere. He earned his PhD at the London School of Economics and he has been a Visiting Fellow at the Changing Character of War Centre, Oxford University. He has also been a Member of the Development Policy Committee of the Finnish Government and President of the Finnish International Studies Association. He is a pioneer in geoeconomic and hybrid threats analytics and he has written a number of policy reports for the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Government of Finland. He currently leads the International Business Risk and Resilience Monitor-project funded by the European Commission, as well as the Nordic Security of Supply in an Age of Disruption-project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. His latest book is as editor of the volume Geo-economics and Power Politics in the 21st Century: The Revival of Economic Statecraft (Routledge, 2018; 2020).

PIA ERKINHEIMO, Director, customer & dealflow, The Finnish Climate Fund 

Pia Erkinheimo works at The Finnish Climate Fund as a member of the executive team, being responsible for dealflow and customer relationships. Her background is from companies like Nordea, Nokia and Capgemini. The European Commission has benefitted from her S&T&I experience for +15 years as innovation expert and jury member, and she has advised The G7 countries in digital technologies, advanced robotics, and data economy. 

Besides that, she is a member of the board at the Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland, and is or has been involved in half a dozen growth companies either as an investor, board member or member of the executive team. She is a member of FiBAN, Finnish Business Angels Network where she was also a member of the board in 2018. Pia is a co-founder of Women in Tech Finland, network of companies standing for diversity and inclusion. 

ULLA TAPANINEN, Tenured Associate Professor Maritime Transport, Estonian Maritime Academy

Ulla Tapaninen, Adjunct Professor PhD, has 30 years’ experience in logistics and maritime transport research and development work. She has worked in two Finnish shipping companies, Finnlines and ESL Shipping, in three universities Aalto, University of Turku and now in Tallinn University of Technology, focusing on sustainable shipping. In addition, she has worked for City of Helsinki in maritime and cross-border transport development projects. She is keen spekaer at seminars, has written several books on logistics and maritime transport, and you can also follow her in 

HUBERT SPETH, Prof.Dr., Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Mosbach

  • Head of the Timber business Management course at Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Mosbach;
  • Germany Coordinator of the Virtual Wood University, a joint research project of European universities from Lahti Finland, Tallinn Estonia, Salzburg Austria and Mosbach Germany;
  • Co-editor, Virtual Wood Profcast, a podcast in interview form on current topics in the wood industry –
    see: ;
  • Ambassador for Forestry and Wood Trade of the Coalition for Wood Construction at the Office for Policy Advice Berlin Germany;
  • Co-founder of the think tank ”ReThinkingWoods”;
  • University teaching on International Timber Trade at University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan, Rottenburg and Salzburg;
  • Studies in Forestry and Environmental Engineering;
  • Doctorate about International Timber Trade at the University of Hamburg;
  • Eleven years co-owner of United Timber Agencies in Hamburg Germany;

TAKESHI IWAKURA, General Manager, Sumitomo Forestry

2006 joined Sumitomo Forestry after college graduation

2011 procurement of housing division

2013 domestic sales of MDF

2017 domestic sales of sawn timber (East Japan)

2020 Amsterdam office (General manager)

2022             〃

Eeva Grannenfelt, Founder & Chair of the Board, Grannenfelt Finance Oy

Eeva Grannenfelt is the founder and Chair of the Board of Grannenfelt Finance. She has almost 40 years of experience in financial markets. During her extensive career she has held different management positions in banks and pension funds. Prior to Grannenfelt Finance, she worked for Pension Elo where her responsibilities included unlisted investments, corporate lending, alternative investments and macro views. Before Elo she worked as a chief investment officer for Pension Fennia for 11 years. 

In addition, Eeva is a second-generation entrepreneur, owner in two growth companies and a board member for Fountainpark Ltd.

Stephen Tomlinson, Director, Park Row Partners Limited

Over 30 years selling softwood to UK Importers, from Sweden, Finland, Baltic States, Russia, Germany, Austria and Canada.  Negotiating with suppliers from these countries on an Agency basis and that of a principal.

2008-Date                 Founder Director, Park Row Partners Ltd

2003-2008              Joint Managing Director, North Sea Lumber (Sales) Ltd

1988-2003                 Sales Director, North Sea Lumber (Sales) Ltd

1984-1988                 Assistant Branch Manager and Sales Representative, Mallinson Denny (Now part of the Metsa Group)

Jaakko Jukarainen, Senior Manager, Sustainable Finance, Danske Bank

Jaakko Jukarainen is an expert of green financing. In his work at Danske Bank he analyses the investments and projects of companies and evaluates their compatibility with the green criteria.