Private sector calls for sustainable forest products to be key to COVID-19 recovery

©FAO/B.Caldwell8 October 2020, Rome –  A sustainable forest sector lies at the heart of COVID-19 recovery plans that seek to build back better, senior executives from the forest industry said today in a statement released for FAO’s Committee on Forestry. 

FAO’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI) said that the need to recover from the social and economic upheaval of COVID-19 presents a unique chance to substitute fossil fuel-based products with those from a renewable resource.

In the statement, ACSFI advised those developing strategies to build back better after the COVID-19 crisis that sustainable forest-based industries provide a range of benefits. These include forest products, sustainable livelihoods, green jobs, support to sustainable food systems through the production of wood energy and long-term management of forest resources, as well as tangible contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Forest Goals of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests.

ACSFI also highlighted the vital importance of forest products during the pandemic, from providing personal protective equipment, biomass for heating, ethanol for sanitizer, respirator paper, and packaging for food and parcels.

“In order to continue the uninterrupted supply of these products, the forest sector has been appropriately recognized in many parts of the world as an essential service,” ACSFI stated.

The statutory body called on FAO, its Members, the private sector and other stakeholders to help build a post-COVID world in which the sustainable production and use of forest products are a cornerstone of prosperous and sustainable circular  economies, ensuring the livelihood of the billions of people depending on forest-based resources.

Established in 1960, the ACSFI brings together heads of forest industry and forest growers’ associations and company executives from over 20 countries around the world. As the only FAO statutory body that is solely comprised of representatives of the private sector, it meets yearly to provide guidance for FAO’s work on issues relevant to forest-based industries.

The Committee on Forestry (COFO) is the highest FAO Forestry statutory body. The biennial sessions of COFO bring together heads of forest services and other senior government officials to identify emerging policy and technical issues, to seek solutions and to advise FAO and others on appropriate action.

last updated:  Thursday, October 8, 2020