Forests and timber central to green recovery

Combating deforestation and ensuring sustainable supply of forest products are key to achieving the objective of the new European Green Recovery Alliance (GRA): a lower environmental impact, post-pandemic economy. This is the view  of the FSC, which has joined the GRA, along with 180 representatives of businesses, industry associations, unions, government and NGOs, including IKEA, the WWF, the European Woodworking Industries Confederation (CEI-Bois) and Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi).

The GRA’s slogan is ‘Reboot and reboost our economies for a sustainable future’.  It sees post pandemic economic recovery as an opportunity to rethink society and develop a ‘more resilient, protective and inclusive model of prosperity’. “All these requirements lie in an economy built around green principles,” says the GRA’s launch statement. To achieve this goal, it calls for recovery investment packages that accelerate transition to climate neutrality and healthy ecosystems. It commends national zero carbon development initiatives as the way forward, and also the European Green Deal, which targets net zero EU greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, biodiversity restoration and deforestation-free value chains.

Chief executive Kim Carstensen said the FSC was eager to support the GRA by providing knowledge, tools and expertise to accelerate the transition to a sustainable green recovery. “In this context, FSC is an effective solution to meet increasing demand for sustainable forest products, while preventing deforestation and adding economic, environmental and social value to forests and the people who depend on them,” he said.

The FSC could contribute to GRA goals by:

  • Setting sustainable forest management standards as a cost effective way to tackle climate change and protect biodiversity
  • Using its system to enable thriving deforestation-free supply chains
  • Fostering certified renewable materials as a foundation for the circular bioeconomy
  • Accelerating EU sustainable finance policies
  • Demonstrating the impact of forest management on climate, biodiversity, water management and more.

Mr Carstensen added that the pandemic has heightened awareness of the dangers of deforestation and illegal wildlife trade. “In fact, when forests are destroyed and wild animals traded, the risk of spreading zoonotic viruses [which jump from other species to humans] can increase,” he said.

The opportunities and role for the sustainable tropical timber sector in building a new post-pandemic economic model will be the topic of this year’s STTC Conference, ‘Holding the line and moving forward – roots for green recovery’. The event takes place online on November 19.