-According to a recent survey by the independent research company, Taloustutkimus, the majority of Finns (53%) support domestic certified fur farming.
“This figure denotes strong societal approval,” says Marja Tiura, Executive Director of the Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association (FIFUR), “indicating that there is significant industry potential here for certified Finnish fur breeding.”
As set forth in FIFUR’s newly-launched sustainability review, Finnish fur farming continues to have a revitalizing effect on the national economy, particularly in the country’s rural areas. The fur industry extends widely into the Finnish society, employing about 5000 people annually and, since 2010, contributing an average EUR 400-500 million per annum in export revenues to Finland. In 2018, the export value was EUR 317 million and taxes and contributions from the fur industry to state and municipalities amounted to EUR 139 million.
Last year, the industry contributed upwards of EUR 100 per capita in tax revenues for the ten largest producer municipalities, with the largest contribution (approximately EUR 465 per capita) coming from the municipality of Uusikaarlepyy. These tax figures accounted for between 3.3% and 12.4% of total tax revenues for the municipalities.
“These numbers speak for themselves,” Tiura expounds, “helping our rural municipalities produce basic services for their residents, such as childcare, care for the elderly and schooling.”
For Tiura, among the most important of FIFUR’s tasks is to present more diverse, honest information about the fur industry with a view to making it more widely known and accepted.
The four cornerstones of FIFUR’s operation are: 1. the well-being of every animal, every day; 2. recognizable and developmental entrepreneurship; 3. the fur economy as part of the domestic circular economy; and 4. fur as a natural useful garment. In support of this, the association is boosting its communications efforts, including expanding stakeholder engagement through several new social media channels.
Sustainability storytelling is what FIFUR’s stakeholders are demanding more and more, and according to FIFUR’s Sustainability Specialist, Maiju Harila, the fur fashion value chain has a good environmental story to tell.
“As an example of circular economy, it’s a textbook case,” Harila says, “having everything from waste reduction through animal by-products to the reusability and biodegradability of the final fur garments.” Harila also points out that the Finnish fur industry has been participating in the circular economy for decades now, since long before the term became a business buzz word.
In the context of the recent survey results, Tia Matthews, Fashion Business Director at Saga Furs says:
“The strong industry approval coming out of Finland right now attests to FIFUR’s proactive and positive work in getting the right messages out, and creating a strong base for us to build on with Saga Furs’ international business.”
“At home our industry looks to the future with confidence,” Tiura concludes, “with our focus on social, economic and environmental responsibility, creating jobs and well-being locally in the countryside, but also economically throughout Finland.”