Sustainable wood – environmentally friendly, socially responsible – contributes to achieving SDGs, global experts conclude

Rome, Italy, 7 November 2017 – Sustainable wood value chains that are environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically sound are an integral part of sustainable landscapes and key to making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to experts at the Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World global meeting at FAO Headquarters in Rome.

©FAO/Roberto Cenciarelli

Sustainable wood value chains and products are especially relevant to SDG8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG13 (climate action), and SDG15 (life on land).

Meeting participants agreed that to enhance local livelihoods there is a need to connect global, regional, and local value chains and to diversify forest products beyond wood to make effective use of  ”baskets of value chains”. Sustainable forest management was repeatedly cited as a significant component of sustainable landscape management.

The contribution of sustainable wood value chains to climate change mitigation was also emphasized. According to Thais Linhares Juvenal, Senior Forestry Officer, “Sustainable wood value chains are critical to mitigating climate change in several ways which include carbon storage in standing forests and in harvested wood products, as well as for the substitution of fossil-based raw materials and products.” The contribution to mitigation in the construction sector was also highlighted.

Enhancing investments to promote sustainable wood value chains requires critical assessment of investment barriers and opportunities along the length of the chains and better securitization and monetization of the full range of forest products and services. Creation of a virtual multi-stakeholder investment promotion facility would help tailor finance to support sustainable wood value chains.

FAO, together with its Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries and in collaboration with the Center for International Forestry Research, the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade, the International Tropical Timber Organization, the World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund, organized the global meeting which ran from 31 October to 1 November 2017. More than 100 delegates from 40 countries participated.

The global meeting constituted the start of an initiative by FAO and its partners to promote and advocate for strengthening the role of sustainable wood value chains in sustainable development.

An exhibition during the meeting showcased innovative examples of how wood is being used sustainably while providing benefits, particularly for smallholders. In Cameroon, for example, improvements are being made to growth and processing of ebony, breaking with the traditional use of black ebony – the music industry standard – by encouraging the use of colored ebony to avoid wood waste. In another example, an association in Uganda has developed a model tree nursery shared by large and small producers to try to increase the sustainability and profitability of the country’s forest industry.

last updated:  Tuesday, November 7, 2017