Environment & Sustainability
Forest products industry supports UN agreement
By Cindy Macdonald
The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) and its members welcome the signing of the landmark United Nations agreement to tackle climate change, set to take place on April 22. The agreement urges countries to implement policies that would allow them to keep a global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.
The global forest products industry has a significant role to play in the implementation of these targets, says ICFPA.
“The global forest products industry has made significant strides in reducing its carbon footprint, stocking carbon, and generating greenhouse gas removals – all helping to mitigate climate change,” says Elizabeth de Carvalhaes, ICFPA president and president of Brazilian Tree Industry (Ibà). “This agreement is crucial to implementing some of the policies that consider biomass as carbon neutral when harvested from sustainably managed forests and to further recognize all positive contributions that forests and forest products provide in combating climate change.”
The global forest products industry remains committed to mitigating climate change for the benefit of the green economy and society at large. ICFPA members have achieved an impressive 5 per cent reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions intensity since 2010/2011 and 17 per cent since the 2004-2005 baseline year (source: 2015 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report).
The forest industry’s significant role in mitigating climate change was highlighted in the ICFPA-commissioned report Analysis of Forest Contributions to the INDCs by acclaimed researcher Paulo Canaveira. Having looked at the contributions of forests in the national targets of ICFPA member countries (INDCs) and global mitigation effort from 2020 onwards, the report concludes that many countries identify forests and the land-use sector as relevant to policies and measures implemented to meet their targets. Reducing emissions from deforestation, but also sustainable forest management, afforestation and reforestation are commonly mentioned as key mitigation practices. In some developing countries, they even constitute the country’s main contributions.
Other climate change mitigation efforts of the global forest products industry include supporting national and regional climate policies and programs; investing in technologies with low carbon footprints and ones that improve carbon sequestration; and developing bio-based technologies to find innovative ways to use wood fiber and substitutes for goods traditionally made from fossil fuels.