Industry leaders endorse new sustainability commitments

Forestry and forest products sector releases global sustainability progress report.

Industry leaders endorse new sustainability commitments

The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) launched its 2019 Sustainability Progress Report and issued its Global CEO Leadership Statement 2.0, which includes seven key areas that the forestry and forest products sector will collectively tackle for a more sustainable world.

The sector will continue to deliver progress across its represented regions by promoting sustainable forest management, improving reclamation and recycling of wood and paper fibre and stimulating innovation of manufacturing processes as well as traditional and innovative products through investments.

The sector also has a role to play in water conservation in both forestry and manufacturing while mitigating climate change by preserving and optimising carbon sequestration in forests and products; reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy-efficient operations; and using carbon-neutral biomass energy in the manufacturing process.

Globally, the forest products sector will also drive the optimisation of wood- and paper-based products and their contribution to the bio-economy by delivering materials that are biodegradable and compostable; working to reduce the environmental footprint of products; and showcasing progress in a transparent manner.

Companies within the sector will also ensure an attractive and inclusive workplace through risk management and interventions that prevent incidents and fatalities; and education and training to ensure all workers maintain and gain skills to thrive at work.

The new leadership statement was endorsed by industry CEOs and representatives from 10 countries at the ICFPA’s ninth international CEO Roundtable hosted in Vancouver on May 8. “The Global CEO Leadership Statement 2.0 builds on our previous statement, whereby our sector has been committed to and made successful progress since 2006”, said Sylvain Lhôte, ICFPA President and Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). “Our updated statement reflects changes in the forest products industry and sets the course for collective action.”

Sector shows progress on major sustainability indicators

The ICFPA’s 2019 Sustainability Progress Report shows progress on nearly all of the sector’s performance indicators, using the most recent data available (2016/2017). “However, performance in some areas is plateauing due to the significant and consistent headway made previously, and which the industry is now maintaining,” said Lhôte.

  • In terms of promoting sustainable forest management worldwide, the total certified forest area increased by 40 percentage points from the 2,000 baseline year, but was down two percentage points from the last report;
  • Greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduced by 19.2% from the 2004/2005 baseline year;
  • Bio-energy’s share in the fuel mix has increased by 11.1 percentage points since 2004/2005;
  • Global paper recovery rate for 2017 reached 59.3%, up 12.8% since 2000. On average, recovery rates in ICFPA members’ countries or regions are higher than the global rate;
  • Energy intensity was down 1.05% on 2004/2005 but up slightly from the previous report—this is due to low energy prices, which have disrupted energy efficiency programmes;
  • Sulphur dioxide emissions have been reduced by 63.5% since 2004/2005;
  • Water use was down 8.3% from the baseline;
  • Investment in health and safety interventions saw a 35% reduction in the global recordable incident rate on 2006/2007 baseline.

“Going forward, the ICFPA’s biennial sustainability report will cover the commitments listed in the Global CEO Leadership Statement 2.0”, said Lhôte.

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