Survey unveils COVID-19 impacts on wood value chains and sector’s response measures

A global survey by the Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World (SW4SW), responded by 237 stakeholders across all segments of the wood value chains, highlighted COVID-19 impacts on wood value chains and contributions from the sector to build back better. An event during the COVID-19 Forestry Webinar Week on 25 June 2020 had the SW4SW leading organizations discussing the main survey findings.  Results show that in response to the disruptions on operations, workforce, and finance, the sector might emerge from the crisis with higher social and operational standards, and heading towards digitalization.

In summary, the key messages and priority areas of work arising from the survey findings and the roundtable discussion were:

  • Forestry work has gone remote with COVID-19. According to the #SW4SW survey, this has been the most adopted strategies/measures by the private sector to face the immediate impacts of the pandemic. Moving forward, the private sector indicated the adoption of digital technologies as the most relevant measure considered as part of a medium-long term strategy to recover.
  • The COVID-19 might have improved health standards along the wood value chains, as monitoring and compliance with health and safety guidelines form competent national authorities was the third-highest ranked strategies/measures adopted by the private sector to face the immediate impacts of the pandemic.
  • Wood products businesses are strongly considering quality and social standards, as well as efficiency in the recovery phase. Respondents indicated the adoption of industrial certification, inclusion of workers in social protection and decent employment schemes, health care facilities, increased resource efficiency, and labor saving innovation as the most relevant measures.
  • The main measure considered for the recovery phase by the logging and solid wood sub-sectors is the adoption of industrial certification. The providers of silvicultural activities are more focused on financial support to out-growers and other main suppliers.
  • Exploring the role of forestry in poverty alleviation and generation of employment is a clear message from the SW4SW stakeholders to build back better. The integration of smallholders, communities, and SMEs in sustainable supply chains, including horizontal and vertical integration is considered the most effective approach. The generation of employment through investments in restoration comes close to the second most effective.

These discussions together with findings from other COVID-19 forestry-related work published until June 2020, supported the formulation of policy recommendations for current challenges and future perspectives involving wood value chains in the post-COVID-19 environment. 

last updated:  Friday, June 25, 2021