We offer amazing experiences in the conference, come and hear

Speakers 2023

Tino Aalto

Tino Aalto is Managing Director of Finnish Sawmills Association. Aalto took over as Managing Director of the Sawmill Industry from the position of Special Advisor to the Minister of Transport and Communications. Before that he has worked as a Special Advisor to the Minister of European Affairs and Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Previously, Aalto has worked in the Technology Industries of Finland, as the head of innovation policy and CEO’s advisor. He has also worked in Design and Consulting Firms Association and consulting house Miltton.


9.00 – 9.05 Welcome

Tino Aalto, Managing Director, Finnish Sawmills

15.45 – 16.00 Outlook of Finnish Sawmills and Closing of the day

Anniina Kostilainen

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. She has worked both in the public and private sector in various positions,  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.

Moderator and host
Tommi Sneck

April 2007 Director, Timber Industry, Koskisen Oy, Järvelä,Finland

Full profit & loss responsibility of softwood sawn timber business in Koskisen Group. My business division turnover is around 130m€ and it is consisting of sales of both rough sawn and further processed wood products. The unit has around 140 employees. Koskisen Timber Industry has the biggest sawmill integrated further processing capacity in Finland at the Järvelä site and is currently completing a 50Mio€ investment project to modernize sawmilling.

2020-Chairman of the board, Finnish Sawmills


9.00 – 9.05 Welcome

Tommi Sneck, Director, Koskisen Oy and Chairman of the Board, Finnish Sawmills


Pekka Haavisto

Pekka Haavisto is a Finnish politician of the Green League who has been serving as the Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2019. He was a Member of Parliament in 1987–1995 and was returned to Parliament in 2007. In 1995–1999, he served as Minister of Development and the Environment and in 2013–2014 as Minister for International Development. In 1993–1995 and in 2018–2019, he was Party Leader of the Greens in Finland. He stood as a candidate in the presidential election in Finland in 2012 and in 2018.

He has gained wide experience of various areas of foreign policy, for example, while chairing the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Task Forces on environmental impacts of war in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, occupied Palestinian territory and Sudan. He has also worked as the EU Special Representative for Sudan and Darfur, Special Advisor for the UN (ASG) in the Darfur peace process, and Special Representative to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in African crises. In addition, he has served in several positions of trust, including President of the Board of the European Institute of Peace (EIP) in 2016–2019, and Chair of WWF Finland’s Board of Trustees.


9.05 – 9.25 Opening     

Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs


Lauri Hetemäki

Lauri Hetemäki is Professor of Practice at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki. Previously, he has  worked e.g. as the Assistant Director of European Forest Institute and Professor in Forest Sector Foresight at the University of Eastern Finland. He is an author of 250 scientific and popular publications and has extensive experience in science-policy support work, e.g. for European Parliament, European Commission and national Governments. Hetemäki is a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry.


9.25 – 9.50 Opportunities and Challenges Within Forestry Sector Globally

Lauri Hetemäki, Professor of Practice, University of Helsinki

Heidi Schauman

Heidi Schauman has worked as global head of research at Danske Bank since September 2021. In this role she leads the research work in  macro, but also FX, FI and credit research in the bank. Before joining Danske Bank Heidi worked as chief economist at both Swedbank and Aktia Bank, and as an economist at Nordea. She also spent 8 years at the Bank of Finland preparing monetary policy in different roles. Heidi holds a PhD in economics from Hanken school of Economics.


9.50 – 10.15 Global Economic Outlook

Heidi Schauman, Global Head of Research, Danske Bank

Juuso Kaaresvirta

Mr. Kaaresvirta works as a senior economist at Bank of Finland Institute for Emerging Economies BOFIT. 

He has focused on variety of subjects related to Chinese economy, like her development, growth prospects, economic policy, banking and financial systems, China-Russia economic relations, China’s overseas lending and Finnish trade with China. He joined BOFIT in 2005.


10.45 – 11.15 Trading with China Beyond the 20th Communist Party Congress

Juuso Kaaresvirta, Senior Economist, Bank of Finland Institute for Emerging Economies BOFIT

Anna Ni

Currently Anna is working as Senior Advisor for Business Finland and has been working for Wood from Finland program since 2015. Before that, she worked as procurement manager for CNBM Forest (China National Building Material Group). Anna has more than 10 years experience in international sawn softwood trading and marketing. During her career, she has established strong networks in sawn softwood industry. Besides, she’s the member of Professional Committee of Wood and Bamboo Structure, Shanghai Society of Civil Engineering.


11.15 – 11.35 Softwood Market Outlook China

Anna Ni, Senior Advisor, Business Finland

Markku Kangaspuro

Professor. PhD. Markku Kangaspuro is director of the Aleksanteri Institute, Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies at the University of Helsinki. His expertise covers Russia’s political development after the fall of the Soviet Union and the history of the Soviet Union. He has over hundred academic publications and he is experienced lecturer. He is one of the most interviewed expert of Russian contemporary development in Finnish media and popular lecturer in public events.


11.35 – 12.00 Russian Means to Support Exports

Markku Kangaspuro, Director, Aleksanteri Institute – Finnish Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Helsinki

Antti Koskinen

Antti has over 20 years of experience in global wood and forest products industries. He has master’s degree in both forestry and economics.

At present Antti works in the Wood Products practice area within AFRY Management Consulting (former Pöyry). AFRY is a European leader in engineering, design, and advisory services, with a global reach and AFRY Management Consulting works globally to address challenges and opportunities in the energy, bioindustry, infrastructure, industrial and future mobility.

Antti’s work focuses on strategic analysis and business development in the wood products value chain. He has worked in projects in all continents and with all major European and Russian wood products companies. Assignments have included e.g. feasibility studies, M&A, market research, forecasting, sourcing and benchmarking.  Antti has followed closely the growth and transformation of Russian wood products industry for the last 20 years.


13.00 – 13.15 Russian Sawn Softwood Supply Outlook

Antti Koskinen, Manager, AFRY Management Consulting


Michael Berger

Michael Berger is the PEFC Secretary General/CEO from June 2022. He has worked at PEFC since 2011, most recently as Acting Secretary General/CEO. Dr Berger has over twenty years of experience in environmental and quality management, sustainable supply chain development, and management systems. After his studies in Economics and PhD in Forestry, he worked as a management consultant in different sectors, before serving as a Technical Expert for accreditation bodies and at a leading sustainability consultancy in Germany. Berger was also a lecturer in Corporate Social Responsibility at the School for Forestry and Sustainable Resource Management at the Technical University Munich in Weihenstephan. 


13.15 – 13.30 PEFC, sustainable sourcing in a dynamic context

Michael Berger, Secretary General/CEO, PEFC

Ivar Dembovski

Ivar Dembovski, is the CEO and one of the shareholders of RAITWOOD planing mill in Estonia. He has graduated from the Estonian University of Life Sciences and PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Edinburgh. He is a member of the board of the Estonian Forest and Wood Industries Association since 1996 with main focus on environmental benefits of using wood and the promotion of wood in construction and architecture, as well as a board member of the  Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering at the Estonian University of Life Sciences since 2018. He has also been a member of the Government appointed expert group for Green Turn Estonia 2021/2022. Mr Dembovski has started his career as being responsible for sales in the Netherlands, followed by other markets and, further responsibilities within the company. He has  been involved in developing a group of three sawmills and one of the largest planing mill in Estonia, using about 200 000 m3 of Nordic softwoods annually.


13.30  – 13.45 Softwood Market Outlook Estonia

Ivar Dembovski, CEO, Raitwood OÜ

Stephan Lang

Mr. Lang has started at Rettenmeier Ag in 2009 as the head of the Legal Department. In 2011 he was appointed the Managing Director of Tatra Timber in Slovakia and in 2013 he became a board member of Rettenmeier AG. In 2014 he continued as the CFO of Rettenmeier. He has been the CEO of the company since 2015. Mr Lang is a board member of the German Sawmill Association DeSH and a board member of the European Organisation of the sawmill industry. He has a PhD in law from the University of Munich.


13.45  – 14.00 Market Outlook Central Europe with focus on Germany

Stephan Lang, CEO, Rettenmeier AG


Elodie Lavigne

“Up to 2022, I’ll resume like this: Timber, Business, Scandinavia.

Softwood Timber Business : I have been responsible of the French market sales during last 20 years for Finnish private sawmills (Paloheimo, Versowood)


Flooring business: I have been working 7 years in parquet production as well as timber purchase for Finnish & Swedish companies (Paloheimo, Kährs-Nybron/Marty)”


14.00 – 14.15 Softwood Market Outlook France

Elodie Lavigne, Managing Director, Versowood France SARL
Stephan Sabine

Mr Sabine was born in New Zealand but brought up in South East England. He has been in the timber trade for 40 years starting as a Group Trainee with Montague Meyer in 1982 and eventually settling at one of their group companies ‘Macmillan Bloedell Meyer. He has had two sabbaticals in this 40 year period. The first returning to New Zealand to work for Carter Holt Harvey for 2 years in the late 1980’s.  Then joining Finnforest in 1999 for 6 years. On both occasions returning to MBM Forest Products as it later became and part of the Consolidated Timber Holdings Group. Mr Sabine and 5 partners bought Consolidated Timber Holdings in 2017 and sold to Rubicon Partners Private Equity in 2021.


14.15 – 14.30 Softwood Market Outlook UK

Stephen Sabine, Director, Consolidated Timber Holdings

Ibrahim Elshal

Mr. Ibrahim Elshal has been working in the wood business for 21 years. He is the CEO and Purchasing Director of the family company ”Elshal Timber” since 2007. Elshal timber is based in Egypt and working in softwood business for more than 40 years. The company imports wood products from Scandinavia, Baltics, Russia, Canada, Germany and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Ibrahim has been a speaker in several softwood conferences in Europe, Canada, and Russia. He has a B.Sc. degree in Architecture from Mansoura University.


15.00 – 15.15 Softwood Market Outlook Egypt

Ibrahim Elshal, CEO and Purchasing Director, Elshal Timber


Shunya Kato

Mr Kato is the head of POLUS-TEC HELSINKI OY, the branch office of POLUS-TEC, a leading company in the precept housing  industry. Mr Kato is responsible for lumber purchasing in Europe. Before his current position Mr Kato was involved in sales within POLUS-TEC. He has also experience in working with a trading company.


15.15 – 15.30 Softwood Market Outlook Japan

Shunya Kato, Managing Director, POLUS-TEC HELSINKI OY


Russ Taylor

Russ Taylor’s background in the forest industry started in 1974 and encompasses forestry, manufacturing, marketing and consulting positions.

Russ Taylor has conducted wood products market analysis/intelligence and business assessment/investment analysis on timber, lumber and wood products for global industry clients since 1988. 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.

After 28 years of operating International WOOD MARKETS Group, Russ restarted his independent consulting work in 2020 with RUSS TAYLOR GLOBAL – Wood Business & Market Consulting, where he is carrying on with similar analysis, forecasting and due diligence work as in the past. He continues to provide in-depth perspectives and presentations on the global wood industry.

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).


15.30 – 15.45 North American Supply and Demand

Russ Taylor, President, RUSS TAYLOR GLOBAL – Wood Business & Market Consulting