Last week, members of the WBCSD’s Forest Solution Group (FSG) met in New York to chart the course that will lead the forest sector on a path to maximize its potential to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). FSG came together for two days to better understand the forest sector’s interaction with the wider SDG agenda and to set the foundation for developing a sector-specific SDG roadmap to drive positive impact across the forest products value chain. To amplify its reach and foster cooperation, this effort is being developed in consultation with key stakeholders from the forest sector such as NGOs, industry associations and governments.

In collaboration with WBCSD’s SDG team, FSG brought together business and stakeholders along the forest value chain to articulate a joint vision on the most impactful contributions the forest sector can make to provide pathways to achieve the ambitions set out in the SDGs - through processes, product and partnership innovation. CMPC, International Paper, Mondi, New Forests, Smurfit Kappa, Stora Enso, Sumitomo Forestry and The Navigator Company, joined the conversation. Sumitomo Chemical, who is actively engaged in the Chemical Sector SDG Roadmap, and WBCSD North America hosted the meeting.

But why the SDG Sector Roadmap?

Forests and forest products play a crucial role in global sustainability through their unique ability to capture and store carbon and substitute fossil-based materials with a broad array of renewable products. By driving the transition to a low carbon future, the forest sector makes significant contributions to several SDGs, such as SDG 15 “Life on Land” or SDG 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production.”

The Roadmap will reflect the sector’s current level of alignment with the SDGs, looking at both negative and positive impacts, and identify key impact opportunities for the most material SDG goals and targets. What’s more, the roadmap will outline tangible actions that the forest sector can take globally and regionally to catalyze lasting impact in the run-up to 2030 and beyond; it will provide pathways describing key enablers, partners, and the time horizon to reach concrete sector goals, making sure actions link to the SDG targets.

This Roadmap will allow FSG members to commit to implement the actions outlined. They will also be able to monitor and report on progress following available reporting guidelines and standards. Moreover, as noted by Luis Rochartre, Director FSG, "we will have a clear narrative and framework for engagement to guide, inform and influence decision-making within the forest sector and inspire collaboration throughout the value chain.”

Bill Sisson, Director of WBCSD North America, also noted that “the opportunity to host the FSG/SDG workshop in New York aligns with our goal to create more direct access for our North American members and business prospects towards value-oriented initiatives aiming to accelerate the pace of transformation needed to comply with the Paris Agreement and attain the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Meanwhile, the FSG will continue to work on the development of the Roadmap with the aim to launch it in July 2019 for the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York.

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