On Monday, the European Parliament Agriculture and Rural Development Committee adopted MEP Petri Sarvamaa’s (EPP/FI) own initiative report on the European Forest Strategy.
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi) welcomes the adopted report and encourages the European Parliament to adopt it in plenary session this month of October. The report manages to strike a balance between the many expectations that policymakers have about the role of forests and forest management for society as a whole. Forest resources offer multiple ecosystem-services, including e.g. wood, clean water and water, healthy soil and biodiversity.
In view of the upcoming Forest Strategy revamp, Cepi encourages the European Commission to boost the viability of the entire forest-based industrial ecosystem and especially to take into account the holistic climate benefits that the ecosystem provides, namely by substituting fossil-based materials and energy. The European Commission should acknowledge the climate benefits brought by forests and forest-based products and the need to foster environmental, economic and social aspects of forests and forest management.
“We hope to see many elements from business ecosystems in the future Forest Strategy in order to tap into the entire potential of European forests. Discussion and debate around forestry is a crucial step but the overall benefits can be achieved by well-functioning and vibrant value chains supported by sustainable active forest management,” commented Jori Ringman, Director General of Cepi.
In addition, Cepi calls for the new Forest Strategy to be an independent, self-standing guiding tool for all forest-related policies in the EU. Industry needs predictability as it comes to current and future policies that have an impact on forest resources.
“Further development of a non-end-use specific sustainability approach should be a key element in the EU’s new Forest Strategy. In most cases forests management aims at producing high quality timber and pulpwood and residues comes as side product along the way. All forest-based products tap into these diverse sources.Therefore, there should be one sustainability approach embedded in different EU policies where needed. In a few years we will have one set of sustainability criteria for the financial and another set of criteria for the energy sector. This type of dual approach should not continue in the future. Forests are been managed irrespectively of its end use. And this should be reflected by climate, energy, agriculture and other policies where the EU and the Member States hold shared competence,” Ringman continues.
More than 90% of the wood sourced by the European pulp and paper industry is sourced from European sustainably managed forests and 74% of the forests sources are PEFC or FSC certified. Thanks to the wood demand it is possible to make long-term investments in forest management and improve health and resilience of these resources for future generations.