Forest products have enormous potential to mitigate climate change

Päivi Salpakivi-Salomaa
Päivi Salpakivi-Salomaa
Vice President, Environment and Responsibility, UPM
27 November 2015
Sustainable forestry

“The responsible Scandinavian industry and its way of managing forests sustainably has enormous potential to fight against climate change, if it is scaled up to real bio economy, stated Patrik Isaksson from SCA. Isaksson opened up at the Low-carbon technology Platform for Science, Technology and Innovation in Stockholm on 13 October. “If the Scandinavian model was followed in other countries, it would end deforestation, it would end wasting of raw materials and it would have – as one single issue – the biggest possible impact on climate change mitigation. Wouldn’t it be useful to understand the key success factors of the Scandinavian model?,” Isaksson asks.

Patric Isaksson, SCA
Patrik Isaksson, SCA: The responsible Scandinavian industry and its way of managing forests sustainably has enormous potential to fight against climate change, if it is scaled up to real bio economy.

This event in Stockholm was one of many organized by various stakeholder groups wishing to give their views and opinions on climate change mitigation before the UN’s Climate Change Conference, COP 21 in Paris on 30 Nov – 11 Dec. The conference has a high-level objective to achieve a binding and universal agreement on climate from all the nations of the world for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations.

The vast opportunities available in this industry sector were widely discussed at the event in Stockholm by the FSG members, public and private sector experts, NGOs and research organisations. UPM´s innovations in biofuels and biochemicals made of lignocellulose raw material opened the discussion. Our innovations originate from both in-house research and from public & private partnerships between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC).

Challenge sent to industries and policy makers

One shared outcome of this event in Stockholm was a list of recommended commitments for the industries and policy makers. The list recommends, for example, tools to implement sustainable forest management policies that enhance renewability, carbon neutrality and safeguarding of biodiversity. At the top of the policymakers’ list were the commonly agreed simple greenhouse gas calculation rules for raw materials and consistent policies to reduce regulatory risks. One key point on the list was also to raise awareness, within the construction and finance sectors and amongst designers and architects, of the various opportunities available for replacing fossil fuels with biomass-based materials and the benefits offered by this.

But how can Scandinavian forestry and bioeconomy be the solution?

Stockholm
Together with other Forest Solutions Group (FSG) members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), UPM has made a contribution to this important topic in the form of the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi). This time discussing at SCA office in Stockholm.

There are some common nominators such as high-level and multi-educational opportunities, which are open equally to everybody. A long track record of sustainable practices based on joint rules and a wide understanding of law enforcement. A clear land ownership structure and a long history of national forest inventories, both guiding good field practices. The fact that very often the small private forest owners want to take good care of their forests so that they can hand them over to next generation in good condition. This can be one reason why clean water and fresh air have been in the focus.

Finally, what kind of options can we offer as an industry sector? The member companies at FSG are committed to a mission statement that, promotes collaborative actions to sustainably manage, conserve and restore forests worldwide, aims to meet the global demand for forest products by multiplying the use of renewable products and aims to deliver innovative bio products by investing in breakthrough technologies. The key to all of this is collaboration and sharing expertise and best practices.

Low-carbon technology Platform in Stockholm for Science, Technology and Innovation, Oct 13th 2015

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