Working forests and their products are part of the solution to net-zero, new report reveals

WBCSD and forest companies call on policymakers, investors and forest product customers to consider working forests and their products as part of the solution to net zero.

Published: 6 Nov 2021
Type: News

Geneva, 6 November 2021 – Leading business from the Forest Solutions Group (FSG) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released the first report of the Forest Sector Net-Zero Roadmap, “Enabling the transition to a net-zero economy”, at COP26. The report calls on policy makers, investors and forest product customers to leverage the potential of sustainable working forests and their products in the transition to a net-zero economy.

The report, launched at COP26 in Glasgow, was developed by FSG members in consultation with 21 key stakeholders and support from PwC Canada. It describes the role of forests and forest products in supporting the transition towards a net-zero, nature positive, and equitable future for 9+billion people to live well, within planetary boundaries, by 2050. The Roadmap focuses on three levers that constitute the unique potential of the forest sector to support the net-zero transition:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in operations and across the value chain;
  • Increase carbon removals through sequestration in sustainable working forests and storage in forest products;
  • Grow the circular bioeconomy through the substitution of non-renewable and fossil-based materials with forest products.

The climate change mitigation potential of all three levers is cumulative and forest companies are encouraged to act on all simultaneously, while prioritizing emissions reductions. The report also supports forest companies in their decision-making, by describing key opportunity spaces where business can take action to realize the potential of all three levers. As sustainable working forests and their products are often overlooked as a solution to reach net-zero, to drive impact at scale, policymakers, investors and customers must recognize and leverage this potential.

A second report will follow in 2022, providing guidance for business in the forest sector to drive ambitious and science-based net-zero strategies based on global accounting frameworks and best practice examples.  

FSG members include: BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group, CMPC, Drax Group, Enviva, Hancock Natural Resource Group, International Paper Company, Mondi Group, New Forests, Philip Morris International, Sappi Limited, Smurfit Kappa Group, Stora Enso, Sumitomo Forestry, The Navigator Company, Weyerhaeuser.

Annika Bresky, President and CEO of Stora Enso and member of WBCSD’s Executive Committee highlighted that “The forest sector has the opportunity to become climate and nature positive. But the forest sector alone cannot bring to market the solutions the world needs to transition to a net-zero and nature-positive economy. It will require concerted and collaborative action across the full value chains and with investors, civil society and governments.

Francisco Ruiz-Tagle, CEO, CMPC added that “As stewards of sustainable working forests and manufacturers of wood-based products, the forest sector faces a unique opportunity to enable the global transition to a net-zero economy through the provision of scalable and cost-effective solutions for carbon capture and storage. A change in mindset within the sector and beyond will allow to unleash the full transformative potential of the forest sector.”

Diane Holdorf, Executive Vice President, WBCSD highlighted that: “It has been very encouraging to see so many big announcements in this Climate COP to address deforestation and land use change. But now is the time for urgent collective action. The Forest Sector Net-Zero Roadmap launched today by WBCSD members and partners delivers a blueprint to accelerate mobilization of the full forest sector value chain to drive the inclusive net-zero and nature positive future we urgently need.”   

Read the report.

For more information, please contact:

Sylvain Maibach, Manager, Food & Nature Communication

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