As of January 2022, Ilkka Hämälä takes over from his predecessor Ignazio Capuano as Chairman of Cepi, one of the leading and most influential trade associations representing the forest and bio-based industry sector in Brussels, the capital of the European Union. His mandate will last for two years.
Mr. Hämälä has since 2018 been the President and CEO of Metsä, a forest industry group originated in Finland and operating in about 30 countries. The Group's annual sales is roughly EUR 5.5 billion and it employs some 9,300 people worldwide. Metsä Group’s parent company is Metsäliitto Cooperative, which is owned by approximately 100,000 Finnish forest owners representing almost half of Finland's private forests, which are some of the largest in the European Union. During his career, Mr. Hämälä has held various high-level positions within Metsä Group, starting his career in the company in 1988.
The outgoing Chairman Mr. Capuano, a strong supporter of the modernisation of the paper and pulp industry, oversaw during his tenure the alignment of the sector with the objectives of the EU Green Deal, now at the stage of a legislative proposal by the European Commission and the EU’s main instrument in reaching the Union’s climate objectives. He saw the Green Deal as an opportunity for an industry which everyday products are meant to offer sustainable options and alternatives to more carbon-intensive goods.
Mr. Hämälä will be taking over in what is a challenging global economic and political environment. As the face of an industry which is often seen as a role model for its commitment to sustainability, he will continue the work of his predecessor, working hand-in-hand with EU Institutions in support of the European Green Deal, while ensuring that the industry remains competitive and that a safe regulatory environment enables the investments necessary for it to further transform, innovate and achieve its emission reductions targets, in line with the EU’s climate ambitions.