New European research-backed programme aims to increase sustainable forestry

EIT Climate-KIC is to launch an ambitious forestry innovation programme combining bio-economy, conservation and sequestration approaches to help deliver European mitigation targets.

The programme will aim to bring more of Europe’s privately owned, unmanaged forests into sustainable production through increased investment, new forest management techniques, the use of advanced geo-data for monitoring and traceability, and the creation of bio-based wood construction value chains to replace fossil-based material use.

Evidence base

The plans are underpinned by a body of new research initiated by Climate-KIC and partners including leading institutions Wageningen University (Netherlands), INRA (France), Lund University (Sweden), and I4CE (France).

Released today on UN International Day of Forests (21 March), EIT Climate-KIC and the future of the forestry sector, suggests that forests currently account for around 10 per cent of Europe’s total greenhouse gas mitigation efforts, but innovation could double this impact by 2050 if afforestation is supported, forest management is improved and fossil-based construction products are substituted with wood-based ones. 

The report underlines how greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing between public and private decision-makers is needed to deliver climate-smart forestry solutions that go beyond simple carbon sequestration.

“We will pioneer the innovation urgently needed to sustain the vital jobs, economic growth, biodiversity, and valuable environmental services delivered by Europe’s forestry sector today, for tomorrow.”

A systemic approach to sector innovation is vital for EU forests to adapt and play an enhanced role as carbon sinks and carbon stores. This includes encouraging greater substitution of fossil carbon products like cement and plastics with wood and bio-based products, argues EIT Climate-KIC Chairman, Anders Wijkman.

Speaking at a Climate-KIC event in Stockholm to increase the use of wood in construction, Wijkman said: “Uniting forestry stakeholders behind bold long-term commercial and environmental goals will deliver multiple benefits. Public-private innovation must drive new bio-based markets for sustainable EU wood products and secure diverse and resilient forestry resources needed to safeguard our environment and economy for decades to come.”

Optimal balance 

Through its forestry programme, Climate-KIC will help catalyse commercially viable innovation as a complement to traditional conservation approaches to ensure EU forests achieve the optimal balance between their full environmental and economic potential, according to Director of Sustainable Land Use at EIT Climate-KIC, Daniel Zimmer.

“Europe’s forests can and must play a bigger role in the fight against climate change. A more inclusive, productive and climate-resilient EU forestry sector can increase commercial returns for landowners, reinforce Europe’s bio-economy and displace unsustainable pressures on forests in other parts of the world,” Zimmer said.

Pressing the urgency of the research and the forestry programme, Fabrizio Rossi, Programme Lead EIT Climate-KIC’s climate-smart forestry programme added:

“Forests and wood value chains play a vital role in the global carbon cycle and EU economy but climate change increases the threats they face from forest fires, storms, drought, floods, and pests. We aim to pioneer the innovation urgently needed to sustain the vital jobs, economic growth, biodiversity, and valuable environmental services delivered by Europe’s forestry sector today, for tomorrow.”

Climate-KIC is currently developing a multi-year strategy with its core partners. The new capacity-building programme to enhance climate-smart and sustainable forestry and develop wood value chains will be formally launched later in 2018.

EIT Climate-KIC and the future of the forestry sector – key findings:

  • EU forests have a key role to play in tackling global climate change.
  • Innovation in Europe’s forestry sector could double its current contributions global greenhouse gas mitigation.
  • New conservation and sustainable commercial approaches must be combined with innovation in the circular economy.
  • New business models are needed to integrate accounting methodologies and financial instruments for risk management.
  • New traceability and transparency measures must be facilitated in the wood market to improve links between sustainable forestry management and downstream value creation.
  • Substitution of fossil carbon with bio-based products, including wood construction should be boosted.

Read the full report here.

 
Location
Sweden
Related Focus Area
Sustainable Land Use
Related Goal
Goal 6: Nurture forests in integrated landscapes
Articles you may be interested in
In Detail
Exploring frontiers in sustainability: Bringing futures literacy to financia...

As part of EIT Climate-KIC’s Long-termism Deep Demonstration, Riyong Kim, Director of Decision Metrics and Finance at EIT Climate-KIC, has co-authored a new report,...

Exploring frontiers in sustainability: Bringing futures literacy to financial services in Ireland and France
Opinion
Long democracies
Dark Matter
Long democracies
Opinion
Long financing in a volatile world
Dark Matter
Long financing in a volatile world
Opinion
Long welfare
Dark Matter
Long welfare
Opinion
Abstracted to entangled organisation
Dark Matter
Abstracted to entangled organisation
Opinion
Persistent things
Dark Matter
Persistent things
Opinion
Persistent selves
Dark Matter
Persistent selves
Opinion
Futures in long-termism
Dark Matter
Futures in long-termism
In our community
Strengthening community ties and supporting each other through the COVID-19 ...
Strengthening community ties and supporting each other through the COVID-19 crisis
Opinion
The Corona canvas: How to deal with the crisis as a founder
Marc Mogalle & Anje Kluth Business Buddies & EIT Climate-KIC
The Corona canvas: How to deal with the crisis as a founder
In The News
Lilium completes funding round worth over €224 million

EIT Climate-KIC supported Lilium, a Munich-based aviation company developing...

Lilium completes funding round worth over €224 million
In The News
TWAICE raises €11 million series A to power internationalisation efforts and...

EIT Climate-KIC supported TWAICE, a Munich-based battery specialist, has...

TWAICE raises €11 million series A to power internationalisation efforts and scaling
In our community
Madrid: A city turning eco-fictions into eco-futures through systems innovat...
Madrid: A city turning eco-fictions into eco-futures through systems innovation
In The News
EIT Community shines on Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list

Eight EIT Climate-KIC innovators are featured in the prestigious...

EIT Community shines on Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list
Opinion
Trees as infrastructure: Part two
Dark Matter
Trees as infrastructure: Part two
Opinion
Trees as infrastructure: Part one
Dark Matter
Trees as infrastructure: Part one
Opinion
Could COVID-19 usher in massive systemic change?
EIT Climate-KIC Italy
Could COVID-19 usher in massive systemic change?
Opinion
Working during corona lockdown: EIT Climate-KIC Italy sets an example
EIT Climate-KIC Italy
Working during corona lockdown: EIT Climate-KIC Italy sets an example
Innovation Spotlight
How to improve building energy performance without up-front capital

Air-conditioning equipment, office furniture, lighting systems and even floor coverings are being leased, so why can’t a...

How to improve building energy performance without up-front capital
In The News
EU Taxonomy shows the way to net zero by 2050

The Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance has...

EU Taxonomy shows the way to net zero by 2050
In The News
Regine Kreitz new EIT Climate-KIC Director of Marketing and Communications

Regine Kreitz will join EIT Climate-KIC, the European Union’s...

Regine Kreitz new EIT Climate-KIC Director of Marketing and Communications
In The News
KICs tackling water scarcity in Southern Europe

How EIT and KICs are working to address one...

KICs tackling water scarcity in Southern Europe
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC and partners launch Massive Open Online Course on e-waste

EIT Climate-KIC, together with its partners the UN, the...

EIT Climate-KIC and partners launch Massive Open Online Course on e-waste
In The News
Five EIT Climate-KIC innovators featured in Global Cleantech 100

Five EIT Climate-KIC supported innovative ventures included in the...

Five EIT Climate-KIC innovators featured in Global Cleantech 100
In The News
The journey to zero-emissions transport – part three

The transport sector already accounts for a quarter of...

The journey to zero-emissions transport – part three
In The News
The journey to zero-emissions transport – part two

The transport sector already accounts for a quarter of...

The journey to zero-emissions transport – part two
In The News
The journey to zero-emissions transport – part one

The transport sector already accounts for a quarter of...

The journey to zero-emissions transport – part one
In The News
Malaysia and Estonia win Climathon Global Awards at ChangeNOW summit

The city of Penang, Malaysia, and a team of...

Malaysia and Estonia win Climathon Global Awards at ChangeNOW summit
Opinion
Redesigning venture capital (part III): A hypothesis
Dominic Hofstetter Transformation Capital, EIT Climate-KIC
Redesigning venture capital (part III): A hypothesis
Opinion
The Long Time
Beatrice Pembroke & Ella Saltmarshe Co-founders, The Long Time Project
The Long Time