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XIV World Forest Congress 2015

Encouraging product innovation and sustainable trade

Photo: ©Forest Products Association of Canada

Forests can inspire innovative technologies and products

The forest sector is in a unique position to be at the forefront of an inclusive, low-carbon, bio-economy. Bio-based packaging is already countering food loss and waste. It is also improving food safety for consumers and reducing persistent marine pollution by replacing plastics. Other forest products are also making their mark. Responsible forest biotechnology to increase tree productivity and resilience is now a reality. Oils and sugars from trees are being used as liquid biofuels and green chemicals. Bio-composites derived from wood are used for purposes ranging from vehicle and medical applications to sustainable building.

In this climate, “green” investments in the forest sector are set to grow. Building consumer trust and reputation, however, is a prerequisite for investment and a premise for sustainable trade. In Europe, legislators have adopted measures towards sustainable and legal timber trade in response to consumer concerns. Industries, retailers, and corporate and public buyers around the world are adopting more sustainable sourcing policies to build their reputations and create trust, engaging in FLEGT processes, forest certification and commitment campaigns. Our ability to acquire data on forests and products through forensic biology, satellite surveillance and perimeter defense technologies, and track their route to our consumption, is also improving fast.