Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World (SW4SW) was adopted in May 2018 as a Joint Initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), an outcome of the SW4SW Global Meeting held at FAO Headquarters in 2017. This initiative is jointly led by FAO, with support from its Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES-Secretariat), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Why the SW4SW Initiative?

The sustainable use of natural resources, including forests, is a key tenet of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2015 Paris Agreement also highlights the contribution of forests to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Technical and methodological progress has facilitated better monitoring of the life cycle of harvested wood products. This gives them a key role in strategies for transitioning to low-carbon economies. Concurrently, the impact of sustainable forest management on enhancing livelihoods, contributing to landscapes and cities and reducing the world’s carbon and material footprints, is growing.

Despite these positive impacts, sustainable production and consumption of wood products have received little attention on the international development agenda, partly due to persistent unsustainable practices. This has contributed to low levels of finance and poor marketing for sustainable wood value chains. It is critical to increase the visibility of the benefits of sustainable wood production and consumption, shifting mindsets to encourage a more positive and responsive attitude to develop and strengthen sustainable wood value chains.

Joint efforts are essential to improve understanding of (i) what sustainable wood value chains entail; (ii) where they can be found, created or strengthened; (iii) what business models are associated with them; and (iv) how they can better contribute to achieving development goals at different levels.

What does SW4SW aim to achieve?

Building on the key messages of the 2017 Global Meeting and ongoing work by partners, the initiative aims to strengthen sustainable wood value chains by enhancing their social, economic and environmental benefits from production through to consumption.

To this end, the initiative will implement collaborative activities and catalyze efforts to strengthen sustainable wood value chains. It will promote positive linkages between these value chains and poverty reduction, sustainable landscapes and sustainable growth. It will support the formulation of policy frameworks and approaches, as well as market solutions, to strengthen sustainable wood value chains. Ultimately, SW4SW will contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 17, the Global Forest Goals, and the climate change objectives.

Which groups does it target?

The initiative targets primary wood value chain stakeholders (including producer associations), industry associations, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), policy-makers, governments, the financial sector, non-forest sectors, consumers, multilateral mechanisms and opinion shapers.

What is the approach?

As an umbrella initiative, SW4SW will rely mainly on the collaborative activities of its partner organizations (and a broad range of stakeholders along the value chains) to improve decision-making. This includes issues relating to land use, tenure, forest management, business and investment models, industrial processing efficiency and social and environmental standards.

The initiative will operate at the policy, operational, scientific and political levels to deliver meaningful benefits to all value chain actors and further increase the comparative and competitive advantages of sustainable wood products, with wider social, economic and climate benefits.

What key outcomes are envisaged?

The four expected outcomes are:

Outcome 1: Benefits from sustainable wood value chains and sustainable wood products are fully recognized in international policy dialogues, sustainable development and climate change strategies and national policy frameworks.
Outcome 2: Capacity to manage forests for sustainable wood production in the context of sustainable land management is developed at all levels.
Outcome 3: Markets and finance for sustainable wood value chains and sustainable wood products are broadened.
Outcome 4: Sustainable wood value chains and contributions of sustainable wood products to the bioeconomy and circularity approach are strengthened in both developed and developing countries.

last updated:  Tuesday, May 30, 2023