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31 Mar.2020 ,

Enhancing the EU forest policy framework through a stronger EU forest strategy post 2020

Cepi position on the new EU Forest Strategy post-2020                                                           

European forests and the forest-based sector provide multiple solutions that contribute to Europe’s part in keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees by strengthening its role in the circular bioeconomy. The Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi) and members welcome the inclusion of new EU Forest Strategy as a part of the European Commission contribution to climate change mitigation and the COP26 in Glasgow and applauds the deserved spotlight the new strategy gets in the European Green Deal.

European forests are only indirectly regulated by the EU in the context of forest-related policies developed under conferred competences, or by means of coordination of national forestry policies at EU level via targeted action plans, such as the EU Forest Strategy 2014-2020. Keeping in mind the complex competence division on forests and forestry, and likelihood that the EU initiatives impacting forests and the forest-based sector are projected to increase in near future, Cepi and its members suggest some key principles and instruments to be included in the new strategy to strengthen the policy coherence between the new EU Forest Strategy and 2050 Climate Strategy[1] as well as the updated Bioeconomy Strategy[2]. Furthermore, these tools would play a role in making the future strategy more meaningful and ambitious than its predecessor.

During the last decades the European forest resources have increased in terms of forest coverage and growing stock. Viable industries with continuing long-term investments in sustainable forest management ensure healthy and resilience of forest ecosystems. Sustainability is at the core of the forest-based industries. European multifunctional forests and sustainable management ensure the provision of the ecosystem services e.g. raw material supply, clean air, water, biodiversity and improve the health and resilience of forests that face a growing number threats (e.g. drought, forest fires, pests, floods, erosion) caused by the climate change. Therefore, new EU Forest Strategy should take into account the entire forest-based value chain and provide the sector with appropriate tools to enhance its ability to meet the growing demands of the societies. To achieve this it would be essential to strengthen the cooperation of the actors involved and use the expertise stemming from the Standing Forestry Committee, DG GROW expert group on forest-based industries and the Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork.

The new EU Strategy should build on the holistic concept of Sustainable Forest Management[3] developed under the FOREST EUROPE process. Currently the definition, principles and criteria have been embedded into national legislation and guidelines as well as voluntary systems such as forest certification in place. However, different EU sectoral policies identified the need for a sustainability framework and tempted to define criteria for it, partially in an inconsistent way.

Therefore, the new Forest Strategy should give a mandate to the Standing Forestry Committee to establish the European risk-based approach and sustainability criteria for forest management adopted in the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive as a non-end-use specific sustainability system for forest biomass.  The EU Forest Strategy should guide relevant EU policies in applying the system as appropriate. This two-step approach to minimise the risk of using unsustainable forest biomass respects the complex competence division of Member States and the EU as it comes to forests and forestry.

Consequently, in the near future, the new EU Forest Strategy could encourage the European Commission to conduct fitness checks of the legislations already agreed to ensure that contradicting policies hindering the development of the sector would be reviewed and possibly revised.   In the long-term, fostered cooperation on forestry could be enhanced via the establishment of e.g. pilot projects or preparatory actions to further develop existing networks such as the Standing Forestry Committee and Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork. These pilots or actions would improve knowledge on the possible impacts of strategic decisions affecting forests and the forest-based sector.

Currently in the EU, approximately 65%[4] of the forest growth is harvested, meaning that there is a constant accumulation of biomass that could be sustainably used to enhance the development of the circular bioeconomy across Europe. Keeping and attracting the investments in Europe is of utmost importance as it comes to building green growth in Europe. Fostering the knowledge-base on the availability of forest resources with socio-economic indicators and science-based data on biodiversity should be further developed as a part of the new EU Forest Strategy. This work should build on the achievements of the last strategy in which the Forest Information System for Europe (FISE) was established.     

In order to implement the European Green Deal successfully, the new Forest Strategy should focus on the acknowledgement and the uptake of all climate benefits of the forests and the forest-based sector. Too narrow focus on the sink function of forests undermines the other climate benefits, namely the increased substitution of fossil-based materials and energy as well as further development of carbon storage in forests and products. The recently published EU Forest-based industries vision 2050 describes sustainable pathways to a climate friendly future. New innovative materials and products have a potential to contribute replacing traditional plastics in packaging and in other sectors. Cepi would like to highlight that besides paper and board, e.g. wood-based textiles, bio-chemicals and other everyday commodities can be done by the pulp and paper industry, in a sustainable, circular manner.    

Cepi believes that by including the above mentioned instruments in the new strategy and/or its action plan, the strategy would not only guide forest-related actions in all EU forest-related proposals but also bring added value compared to the current strategy and its multiannual implementation plan (Forest Map). 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018DC0773&from=EN

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/research/bioeconomy/pdf/ec_bioeconomy_strategy_2018.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none

[3] https://www.foresteurope.org/docs/MC/MC_helsinki_resolutionH1.pdf

[4] https://www.foresteurope.org/docs/fullsoef2015.pdf

 

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05 Feb.2020

PRESS RELEASE: Rewarding Sustainable Forest Management practices will enhance biodiversity and climate resilience of EU forests

This week, the European Commission is hosting the “International Conference on Forests for Biodiversity and Climate” in Brussels to discuss pressures on EU forest ecosystems due to, among others, climate change as well as how to best protect forests and their biodiversity for a climate neutral and climate resilient land. 

The European paper industry has a strategic interest in keeping healthy and growing forests in Europe. We offer a wide range of renewable and recyclable wood fibre-based solutions to EU citizens, from packaging to textile, including hygiene and tissue products, and our raw material comes mainly from European sustainably-managed forests.

As an important milestone will be marked this year with the UN climate negotiations at COP26 in Glasgow and at the biodiversity conference in October in Kunming (China), as they include climate and biodiversity protection as strong components of political debates in reaching the UN SDGs, our industry recalls that biodiversity protection is an integral component of sustainable forest management (SFM).

Today, Carina Håkansson, CEO of the Swedish Forests Industries Federation (SFIF), speaking on behalf of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi) welcomed the launch of the Forest Information System for Europe (FISE): “Forest-related information has to be science-based and undisputed to provide the basis for future policies supporting forests and the forest sector deliver their contribution to the Green Deal”.

The protection of biodiversity is not only extremely important in itself, but also a part of our efforts to reach the EU 2050 carbon neutrality goal.

In light of the current debate on the best way to protect the biodiversity in forests, the European paper industry believes that the evaluation of the implementation of the current Biodiversity Strategy should be known before setting goals for a 2030 biodiversity strategy. In this way all relevant actors can contribute to the discussion and highlight what solutions are currently working in the best way.

 

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19 Nov.2019

Forest-Based Industries Vision 2050

In light of the climate crisis, the European Forest-Based Industries, including the pulp, paper and other fibre-based product industries, the woodworking industries, the producers of furniture, the bio-energy sector and the printing industry, have come together to present their vision of the European society in 2050 and the essential role that they can play, delivering on the carbon neutrality goal.
 
The Forest-Based Industries (FBI) will provide the most competitive and sustainable net-zero
carbon solutions. They will do that by:
• substituting CO2-intensive raw materials and fossil energy with forest-based alternatives
• eradicating waste and boosting recycling with a sector target of at least 90% material collection and 70% recycling rate for all wood-based products
• driving resource efficiency and enhancing productivity in all areas including materials, manufacturing and logistics
 
We will maximise the use of recycled fibres. Our paper products are easily recyclable and effectively recycled across Europe; the recycling rate of paper is already 71.6% today. As we can meet the society’s current and future needs with non-fossil materials, we anticipate a growing demand for wood and wood-based products that we expect to be translated into FBI market growth of 3% annually. 
 
Our vision is also supported by the European forest owners, farmers, parquet industries and agricultural contractors. While the implementation of this pioneering vision needs to overcome some hurdles, such as the need for accepted recyclability protocols at European level, new technological solutions that will radically change production processes, and a shortage of skilled workforce or market distortions, we plan to deepen our existing partnerships.
 
We will boost innovation through applied research and innovation programmes such as the Forest-based sector Technology Platform, and engage in market development, to ensure our innovative solutions are attainable for consumers in their daily lives.
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18 Nov.2019

PRESS RELEASE: European Forest-Based Industries team up to empower consumers for a carbon-neutral European society

In light of the climate crisis, the European Forest-Based Industries, including the pulp, paper and other fibre-based product industries, the woodworking industries, the producers of furniture, the bio-energy sector and the printing industry, have come together to present their vision of the European society in 2050 and the essential role that they can play, delivering on the carbon neutrality goal.

The Forest-Based Industries (FBI) will provide the most competitive and sustainable net-zero carbon solutions. They will do that by:

  • substituting CO2-intensive raw materials and fossil energy with forest-based alternatives
  • eradicating waste and boosting recycling with a sector target of at least 90% material collection and 70% recycling rate for all wood-based products
  • driving resource efficiency and enhancing productivity in all areas including materials, manufacturing and logistics

“Our solutions are made of a material that comes from a renewable and natural resource – European forests. The EU’s sustainably-managed forests produce today an overall climate mitigation impact amounting to 13% of European greenhouse gas emissions and they keep on absorbing CO2” said Jori Ringman, Director General of Cepi.

We will maximise the use of recycled fibres. Our paper products are easily recyclable and effectively recycled across Europe; the recycling rate of paper is already 71.6% today!

“We see the FBI industry commitment as a good way to empower consumers, providing them with more options to choose climate-friendly products. Wood-based solutions enable already today many sectors to reduce their environmental footprint, including construction” said Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary-General of CEI-Bois.  

As we can meet the society’s current and future needs with non-fossil materials, we anticipate a growing demand for wood and wood-based products that we expect to be translated into FBI market growth of 3% annually.

Our vision is also supported by the European forest owners, farmers, parquet industries and agricultural contractors.

While the implementation of this pioneering vision needs to overcome some hurdles, such as the need for accepted recyclability protocols at European level, new technological solutions that will radically change production processes, and a shortage of skilled workforce and market distortions, we plan to deepen our existing partnerships.

We will boost innovation through applied research and innovation programmes such as the Forest-based sector Technology Platform, and engage in market development, to ensure our innovative solutions are attainable for consumers in their daily lives.

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07 Mar.2019 ,

The European forest-based value chain issues position on forest management and sustainable investments

In the context of the European Commission’s work on developing a classification system for sustainable investments, CEPI and the European organisations representing the European forest-based bioeconomy value chain have issued a joint statement on the role of forest management in the proposed taxonomy regulation.

The statement notably addresses the value of sustainable and active forest management for climate mitigation as part of the on-going review carried by the European Commission experts group. The co-signing organizations are the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), the European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (COPA COGECA), the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) and Bioenergy Europe.

For more information, please contact CEPI's Raw Materials Director, Ulrich Leberle at u.leberle@cepi.org

 

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