Bioeconomy mitigating climate change

4 March 2016

The Forest Solutions Group (FSG) sent a firm message to the UN’s Climate Change Conference: Sustainable forestry and bioeconomic innovation are the best ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

The key principle of sustainable forest management is that forests should be allowed to grow at a rate that increases or at least maintains the current area of carbon-binding forest biomass.

“The sustainable forest industry is regarded as a carbon-neutral industrial sector because it fabricates forest biomass-based renewable products without presenting a risk of increasing CO² emissions,” says Päivi Salpakivi-Salomaa, Vice President, Environment and Responsibility at UPM.

Sustainable forestry has three cornerstones: helping forests to regenerate, maintaining carbon-neutral production, and safeguarding biodiversity. The more diverse a forest’s ecosystems, the less vulnerable it is to the physical changes brought by climate change.

Salpakivi emphasises that sustainable forest management is a business fundamental for UPM and also for all other forest companies that operate responsibly.

“The forests owned by UPM grow faster than they are harvested. Their annual growth rate suffices to neutralise all of UPM’s combined carbon dioxide emissions in Finland and Germany – and the forests we own account for only 10-15 per cent of the wood-based raw material that we use in our production processes,” she says.

Goodbye to fossil raw materials

The Forest Solutions Group notes that the forest industry already now fabricates many biomass-based recyclable products that can replace fossil raw materials.

Salpakivi adds that the whole point of UPM’s Biofore Strategy is to replace fossil raw materials with recyclable products fabricated from renewable bio-based materials. “In addition, we continually invest in projects to improve our resource efficiency and emission-free energy production. Thanks to continuous improvements and innovations, we have successfully decreased our waste levels and water and energy consumption.”

The FSG has also urged policymakers to agree on common principles for calculating greenhouse gas emissions generated through the use of different raw materials. These tools would help different countries to create consistent policies and reduce regulatory risks.

The FSG’s member companies are committed to promoting sustainable forest management and meeting the global demand for forest products by boosting the use of renewable and innovative bio-based products.

Vesa Puoskari

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