Enhancing the EU forest policy framework through a stronger EU forest strategy post 2020
Cepi position on the new EU Forest Strategy post-2020
European forests and the forest-based sector provide multiple solutions that contribute to Europe’s part in keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees by strengthening its role in the circular bioeconomy. The Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi) and members welcome the inclusion of new EU Forest Strategy as a part of the European Commission contribution to climate change mitigation and the COP26 in Glasgow and applauds the deserved spotlight the new strategy gets in the European Green Deal.
European forests are only indirectly regulated by the EU in the context of forest-related policies developed under conferred competences, or by means of coordination of national forestry policies at EU level via targeted action plans, such as the EU Forest Strategy 2014-2020. Keeping in mind the complex competence division on forests and forestry, and likelihood that the EU initiatives impacting forests and the forest-based sector are projected to increase in near future, Cepi and its members suggest some key principles and instruments to be included in the new strategy to strengthen the policy coherence between the new EU Forest Strategy and 2050 Climate Strategy as well as the updated Bioeconomy Strategy. Furthermore, these tools would play a role in making the future strategy more meaningful and ambitious than its predecessor.
During the last decades the European forest resources have increased in terms of forest coverage and growing stock. Viable industries with continuing long-term investments in sustainable forest management ensure healthy and resilience of forest ecosystems. Sustainability is at the core of the forest-based industries. European multifunctional forests and sustainable management ensure the provision of the ecosystem services e.g. raw material supply, clean air, water, biodiversity and improve the health and resilience of forests that face a growing number threats (e.g. drought, forest fires, pests, floods, erosion) caused by the climate change. Therefore, new EU Forest Strategy should take into account the entire forest-based value chain and provide the sector with appropriate tools to enhance its ability to meet the growing demands of the societies. To achieve this it would be essential to strengthen the cooperation of the actors involved and use the expertise stemming from the Standing Forestry Committee, DG GROW expert group on forest-based industries and the Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork.
The new EU Strategy should build on the holistic concept of Sustainable Forest Management developed under the FOREST EUROPE process. Currently the definition, principles and criteria have been embedded into national legislation and guidelines as well as voluntary systems such as forest certification in place. However, different EU sectoral policies identified the need for a sustainability framework and tempted to define criteria for it, partially in an inconsistent way.
Therefore, the new Forest Strategy should give a mandate to the Standing Forestry Committee to establish the European risk-based approach and sustainability criteria for forest management adopted in the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive as a non-end-use specific sustainability system for forest biomass. The EU Forest Strategy should guide relevant EU policies in applying the system as appropriate. This two-step approach to minimise the risk of using unsustainable forest biomass respects the complex competence division of Member States and the EU as it comes to forests and forestry.
Consequently, in the near future, the new EU Forest Strategy could encourage the European Commission to conduct fitness checks of the legislations already agreed to ensure that contradicting policies hindering the development of the sector would be reviewed and possibly revised. In the long-term, fostered cooperation on forestry could be enhanced via the establishment of e.g. pilot projects or preparatory actions to further develop existing networks such as the Standing Forestry Committee and Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork. These pilots or actions would improve knowledge on the possible impacts of strategic decisions affecting forests and the forest-based sector.
Currently in the EU, approximately 65% of the forest growth is harvested, meaning that there is a constant accumulation of biomass that could be sustainably used to enhance the development of the circular bioeconomy across Europe. Keeping and attracting the investments in Europe is of utmost importance as it comes to building green growth in Europe. Fostering the knowledge-base on the availability of forest resources with socio-economic indicators and science-based data on biodiversity should be further developed as a part of the new EU Forest Strategy. This work should build on the achievements of the last strategy in which the Forest Information System for Europe (FISE) was established.
In order to implement the European Green Deal successfully, the new Forest Strategy should focus on the acknowledgement and the uptake of all climate benefits of the forests and the forest-based sector. Too narrow focus on the sink function of forests undermines the other climate benefits, namely the increased substitution of fossil-based materials and energy as well as further development of carbon storage in forests and products. The recently published EU Forest-based industries vision 2050 describes sustainable pathways to a climate friendly future. New innovative materials and products have a potential to contribute replacing traditional plastics in packaging and in other sectors. Cepi would like to highlight that besides paper and board, e.g. wood-based textiles, bio-chemicals and other everyday commodities can be done by the pulp and paper industry, in a sustainable, circular manner.
Cepi believes that by including the above mentioned instruments in the new strategy and/or its action plan, the strategy would not only guide forest-related actions in all EU forest-related proposals but also bring added value compared to the current strategy and its multiannual implementation plan (Forest Map).
PRESS RELEASE: Rewarding Sustainable Forest Management practices will enhance biodiversity and climate resilience of EU forests
This week, the European Commission is hosting the “International Conference on Forests for Biodiversity and Climate” in Brussels to discuss pressures on EU forest ecosystems due to, among others, climate change as well as how to best protect forests and their biodiversity for a climate neutral and climate resilient land.
The European paper industry has a strategic interest in keeping healthy and growing forests in Europe. We offer a wide range of renewable and recyclable wood fibre-based solutions to EU citizens, from packaging to textile, including hygiene and tissue products, and our raw material comes mainly from European sustainably-managed forests.
As an important milestone will be marked this year with the UN climate negotiations at COP26 in Glasgow and at the biodiversity conference in October in Kunming (China), as they include climate and biodiversity protection as strong components of political debates in reaching the UN SDGs, our industry recalls that biodiversity protection is an integral component of sustainable forest management (SFM).
Today, Carina Håkansson, CEO of the Swedish Forests Industries Federation (SFIF), speaking on behalf of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (Cepi) welcomed the launch of the Forest Information System for Europe (FISE): “Forest-related information has to be science-based and undisputed to provide the basis for future policies supporting forests and the forest sector deliver their contribution to the Green Deal”.
The protection of biodiversity is not only extremely important in itself, but also a part of our efforts to reach the EU 2050 carbon neutrality goal.
In light of the current debate on the best way to protect the biodiversity in forests, the European paper industry believes that the evaluation of the implementation of the current Biodiversity Strategy should be known before setting goals for a 2030 biodiversity strategy. In this way all relevant actors can contribute to the discussion and highlight what solutions are currently working in the best way.
Forest-Based Industries Vision 2050
PRESS RELEASE: European Forest-Based Industries team up to empower consumers for a carbon-neutral European society
In light of the climate crisis, the European Forest-Based Industries, including the pulp, paper and other fibre-based product industries, the woodworking industries, the producers of furniture, the bio-energy sector and the printing industry, have come together to present their vision of the European society in 2050 and the essential role that they can play, delivering on the carbon neutrality goal.
The Forest-Based Industries (FBI) will provide the most competitive and sustainable net-zero carbon solutions. They will do that by:
- substituting CO2-intensive raw materials and fossil energy with forest-based alternatives
- eradicating waste and boosting recycling with a sector target of at least 90% material collection and 70% recycling rate for all wood-based products
- driving resource efficiency and enhancing productivity in all areas including materials, manufacturing and logistics
“Our solutions are made of a material that comes from a renewable and natural resource – European forests. The EU’s sustainably-managed forests produce today an overall climate mitigation impact amounting to 13% of European greenhouse gas emissions and they keep on absorbing CO2” said Jori Ringman, Director General of Cepi.
We will maximise the use of recycled fibres. Our paper products are easily recyclable and effectively recycled across Europe; the recycling rate of paper is already 71.6% today!
“We see the FBI industry commitment as a good way to empower consumers, providing them with more options to choose climate-friendly products. Wood-based solutions enable already today many sectors to reduce their environmental footprint, including construction” said Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary-General of CEI-Bois.
As we can meet the society’s current and future needs with non-fossil materials, we anticipate a growing demand for wood and wood-based products that we expect to be translated into FBI market growth of 3% annually.
Our vision is also supported by the European forest owners, farmers, parquet industries and agricultural contractors.
While the implementation of this pioneering vision needs to overcome some hurdles, such as the need for accepted recyclability protocols at European level, new technological solutions that will radically change production processes, and a shortage of skilled workforce and market distortions, we plan to deepen our existing partnerships.
We will boost innovation through applied research and innovation programmes such as the Forest-based sector Technology Platform, and engage in market development, to ensure our innovative solutions are attainable for consumers in their daily lives.Download here
The European forest-based value chain issues position on forest management and sustainable investments
In the context of the European Commission’s work on developing a classification system for sustainable investments, CEPI and the European organisations representing the European forest-based bioeconomy value chain have issued a joint statement on the role of forest management in the proposed taxonomy regulation.
The statement notably addresses the value of sustainable and active forest management for climate mitigation as part of the on-going review carried by the European Commission experts group. The co-signing organizations are the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), the European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (COPA COGECA), the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) and Bioenergy Europe.
For more information, please contact CEPI's Raw Materials Director, Ulrich Leberle at email@example.com.
PRESS RELEASE: Forest stakeholders call for a stronger EU Forest Strategy
Forest stakeholders call for a stronger EU Forest Strategy to reach United Nations and Paris Agreement goals
Last December, the Commission published a progress report on the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy, discussed by the European Parliament in January. This report comes at a time when forests and the forest-based sector are recognised as essential players in responding to major societal and environmental challenges. In a round table organised on 4th February, the European forest-based sector conveyed a joint and clear message: an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy is needed to ensure that in the coming decades forest-related EU policies are better coordinated and endorse sustainable forest management and the multifunctional role of forests in a consistent way.
Forests and the forest-based sector are increasingly expected to deliver on recent and coming horizontal and sectoral EU policies (e.g: the Renewable Energy Directive; the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy; the LULUCF Regulation; the future Common Agricultural Policy; Sustainable Investments). A coalition of forest and forest-based sector associations have brought together around 60 representatives from EU institutions, the Romanian Presidency of the Council, research and stakeholders to exchange views on the future of the EU Forest Strategy and to explore possible ways forward to strengthen sustainable forest management in EU forest-related policies.
During the discussion, several stakeholders highlighted that the Commission progress report refrains from making concrete recommendations for the post 2020 period and reiterated their call for an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy to provide consistency among EU policies.
Mr Ionel Popa, a representative of the Romanian Presidency, indicated that the Council is working on its conclusions on the progress report that will also cover the role of the EU Forest Strategy beyond 2020.
Ms Jytte Guteland, Member of the European Parliament, stated that “the EU Forest Strategy should help to develop common ideas on sustainable forest management in order to ensure consistency when working on EU policies dealing with forests”.
Mr Nils Torvalds, Member of the European Parliament commented: “Forestry can play a great role in achieving climate change objectives, but it can’t do this alone.”
For more information, please contact CEPI's Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
A joint call for an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy
Acknowledging the report from the European Commission on progress in the implementation of the Forest Strategy the undersigned organizations, representing forest owners, managers, contractors and the forest-based industry, call on the European Commission, Parliament and Council to update the EU Forest Strategy with an aim to strengthen its role as a key reference for sustainable forest management. An update of the EU Forest Strategy is essential to ensure that the development of forest-related EU policies in the coming decades is better coordinated and more coherent.
Since the EU Forest Strategy was adopted in 2013, the EU policy framework and the EU policies affecting forests have strongly evolved. It is now more broadly recognized that forests and the forest sector play a crucial role in addressing major challenges in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the climate change mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement.
In this context, special care must be taken to recognize the role of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) to ensure forest ecosystem’s health and vitality and the delivery of multiple advantages to society and the bioeconomy.
However, forests and the forest-based sector are now increasingly expected to deliver on horizontal and sectoral EU policies addressing forests. These include:
- The 2050 Climate Change Mitigation Strategy that aims to maximize the potential of carbon storage in forests while providing raw materials for renewable products used to substitute for non-renewable materials as well as for energy.
- The land use and forestry regulation for 2021-2030 which commits Member States, for the first time in EU law, to compensate land use and forestry sector emissions by CO2 removals within the sector.
- The European Commission proposal for a taxonomy of sustainable investments which recognizes the central importance of sustainable forest management for protecting ecosystems.
- The EU Renewable Energy Directive that sets out bioenergy sustainability criteria related to forest management and GHG emissions savings.
- The updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy that encourages the transition to a more bio-based circular economy, bringing new opportunities for jobs and growth to rural areas.
- The future CAP which is the main instrument at EU level to finance measures that support SFM and investments for enhancing the sustainability and competitiveness of the forestry sector.
- The EU Biodiversity Strategy which aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU and which the Commission has recently started to evaluate.
The consequences of these policies and strategies on forests and their sustainable management still need to be ascertained. Therefore, their implementation during the period 2020-2030 and beyond must be closely monitored from a forestry perspective. In this context, the EU Forest Strategy can and should provide a consistent basis on which to strengthen and further establish effective links between forests and the forest-based sector and any relevant EU policies.
Beyond consistency throughout its legislation and policies, the EU also needs an efficient tool to address forest and forest-related issues on the pan-European and international agendas. Member States and their pan-European partners in Forest Europe are determined to continue discussions on a legally binding agreement on forests. At global level, a well-prepared and coordinated input is needed to the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2030 and the Global Forest Goals. A robust EU Forest Strategy is the appropriate instrument to ensure consistent input to these processes, thereby making the EU a strong and committed partner.
Over the last years the Strategy has undoubtedly played a positive role in this context.
However, more needs to be done both at EU and national level to ensure even better policy consistency and coherence in the future. The roles of the Standing Forestry Committee and also of the Civil Dialogue Group on Forestry and Cork are very important in this context.
While the progress report highlights the importance of continued implementation of the strategy, it refrains from concrete recommendations for the post-2020 period. Therefore the undersigned organizations call on the European Commission, Parliament and Council to propose an updated and stronger EU Forest Strategy, before the end of 2019, which encompasses recent and upcoming EU policies and is adequately resourced at the appropriate levels of the European institutions.
CEETTAR – European Organisation of Agricultural, Rural and Forestry Contractors
CEI-BOIS – European Confederation of the Woodworking Industries
CEPF – Confederation of European Forests Owners
CEPI – Confederation of European Paper Industries
COPA COGECA - European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives
ELO – European Landowners’ Organization
EUSTAFOR – European State Forest Association
UEF – Union of European Foresters USSE – L’Union des Sylviculteurs du Sud de l’Europe
New guidelines on cascading use fail to meet expectations of EU’s new Bioeconomy Strategy
Today’s publication of the non-binding guidelines on the cascading use of wood fails to live up to the Commission’s own ambitions signalled in its recent Bioeconomy Strategy. CEPI has been a long-time proponent of this principle which allows for every wood fibre to be used on average 2.5 times, instead of solely burning wood for bioenergy.
“The cascading use principle works automatically in a well-functioning market but unsustainable subsidies distort wood markets” says Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director of CEPI, the European forest fibre and paper industry. “The new guidelines should be aligned with the new EU strategy to make the bioeconomy more circular. They should also take into account any assessment of Member States that encourages the application of these principles in their bioenergy support schemes.”
The new guidelines ignore the firm call set out by the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, approved yesterday, to avoid raw material market distortions and neglect to provide clear instructions on this in the new guidelines.
The guidance is clearly a missed opportunity for contributing to a circular bioeconomy that is built on the efficient use of biomass and innovative solutions rather than on direct burning of wood for bioenergy. The focus should now turn to ensuring that Member States respect the cascading use principle in their national climate and energy plans and that future revision of these guidelines take account of this principle.
For general enquiries please contact Ulrich Leberle, CEPI’s Raw Materials Director, at email@example.com or by phone at (+32) 2 627 49 23.
For press-related enquiries please contact Ben Alexander Kennard, CEPI’s Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82.
REDII infographic: pulp & paper production vs burning wood for bioenergy
Pulp & paper production in the industry could create 9.5 times more added value and more than 6 times more jobs than burning wood for bioenergy only. CEPI's new infographic demonstrates how much we benefit from producing pulp & paper (whether industry or value chain) instead of burning wood for bioenergy only (whether production or value chain).
For more information about the infographic, please contact Ulrich Leberle, CEPI's Raw Materials Director at email@example.com.View Flipbook
Letter to European Commission on EU timber regulation
European forest-based industries call on the extension of the scope of the EU Timber Regulation to ensure that wood-based products sold on the European market are safe from illegal logging regardless of their origin.
Ms. Elżbieta Bieńkowska
European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Mr. Karmenu Vella
European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
Ms. Cecilia Malmström
European Commissioner for Trade
The EU Timber Regulation (995/2010/EU) is one of the key measures of the European Union to combat illegal logging. It aims to prevent wood and wood-based products that derive from illegally logged forests to enter the European market.
Wood and a large part of wood-based products are already covered by the Regulation. The European forest-based industries, as operators or traders under the Regulation, have already put in place the required due diligence systems for the wood or wood-based products that they are placing on the European market.
Regrettably, several wood-based products are not yet in the scope of the Regulation. Millions of euros worth of wood-based products are therefore still entering the European market without any assurance on their legality.
This not only creates a significant environmental loophole in the Regulation but it also distorts competition between wood-based products produced in the European Union with compliant raw material and wood-based products produced outside the European Union which can be freely imported and placed on the European market regardless of the origin of the raw material.
The EU Timber Regulation helps to secure legal sourcing of products sold on the European market. Illegal logging blemishes the reputation of the forest-based industries and the image of wood-based products. It is not acceptable that the reputation of European companies is tarnished because of illegally sourced imported products put on the European market. Moreover, it is important that European consumers can trust that any wood-based products found on the European market have been sourced legally.
The European Union should ensure that wood-based products on the European market are safe from illegal logging regardless of their origin. We therefore call on the European Commission to revise without further delay the scope of the EU Timber Regulation and extend it to wood-based products, such as printed matter, which are so far not covered.
Additionally, we invite the European Commission to include under the scope of the EUTR regulation tree like products, such as bamboo, whose illegal sourcing and extraction is causing deforestation and environmental degradation.
Furthermore, the European Commission should coordinate more consistent enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation.
We thank you for your consideration and remain at your disposal for further discussions on this matter with you or your respective services.
What a tree can do? New poster explains the bioeconomy potential of a tree
Europe is one of the most forest-rich regions in the world - we are surrounded by 190 million hectares of forests, which makes it 40 % of Europe's territory. European forest cover increases regularly, contributing to growth and jobs in rural area, ensuring wood and ecological services provision.
The bioeconomy covers the sustainable supply of renewable resources, services and their conversion, as well as the conversion of waste streams into food, feed, fibres, materials, chemicals and bioenergy.
Biorefineries being an essential part of the bioeconomy, are industrial installations that provide products from renewable, natural resources, replacing fossil-based products.
CEPI's statement on REDII agreement
“The European paper industry stands firmly committed to sustainably sourcing and efficiently using bioenergy in Europe and is encouraged that negotiators have equally recognised this in the informal REDII agreement" says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of CEPI. "What is lacking however is that there are no robust safeguards against subsidies that encourage the burning of wood and thereby distort the raw material markets that feed Europe’s bioeconomy. We now urge Member States not to backtrack on their bioecomomy ambitions when designing their bioenergy policies for the next decade”.
International Day of Forests 2018: European forests can deliver even more benefits to society
On the occasion of the United Nations International Day of Forests and dedicated to “Forests for Sustainable Cities”, representatives of European forest owners, managers and forest-based industries call for more awareness and support to further use the potential of European forests to contribute to a sustainable future.
Forests play a crucial role in providing multiple benefits for citizens. They deliver forest products and many other ecosystem services (recreation, clean air and water, biodiversity, scenic and cultural values…). Wood is a renewable raw material used in construction, furniture, pulp and paper, as well as for energy. It also serves as a substitute for non-renewable raw materials and energy. Moreover, forests contribute to job creation and economic growth.
In this context, EU forests have the potential to keep– and possibly increase – their contribution to these needs in the coming years. On average, 60% of the annual growth of EU forests is harvested, leading to a regular and significant increase in wood resources.
In the current discussion at EU level, several policies (research and innovation, rural development, climate and energy) and strategies (Forest Strategy, Bioeconomy Strategy) provide opportunities to enhance sustainable and multifunctional forest management while supporting the development of innovative bio-based value chains.
Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR, and Fanny-Pomme Langue, Secretary General of CEPF, highlight that “There is still an important unexploited potential in terms of the wood and non-wood products and services provided by European forests. EU policies should contribute to unlock this potential so as to better meet existing and future demands. However, it should be stressed that sound economic prospects are essential in order for European forests to meet the growing social and environmental demands which are also being made on them”.
According to Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of CEPI, the European association representing the pulp and paper industry, “The EU should balance its target setting and demand-side approach with measures to increase supply. These measures should secure and improve forest growth and mobilise more wood from European forests for all kinds of uses“.
Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary General of CEI-Bois highlights: “Forests and wood-based products play a central role in climate-change mitigation. This year’s theme of the UN International Day of Forests furthermore offers the opportunity to highlight the high potential contribution of timber building systems and wood construction materials.”
The undersigned organisations highlight the importance to better acknowledge and coordinate existing EU and national forest-related legislation which are already in place, which safeguard sustainable and multifunctional forestry and which are additionally supported by voluntary systems certification schemes. This is essential in ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the sector.
The International Day of Forests 2018 is taking place at a moment when EU policies have an opportunity to demonstrate how to enhance the potential of European forests and better mobilise their resources to further benefit society. This is an opportunity worth seizing.
Reaction of European paper industry to LULUCF deal
“The LULUCF agreement is a good deal that not only provides the right flexibilities but builds on the sustainable forest management practices that work and continue to grow EU forests” says Sylvain Lhote, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI)
ENVI vote embraces sustainable sourcing of biomass but misses the mark by encouraging mass conversion of coal power plants
The Environment (ENVI) committee has understood the importance of better aligning the text with Circular Economy principles, energy efficiency standards and sustainable forest management practices. It nonetheless seriously jeopardises Europe’s bioeconomy by encouraging the mass conversion to biomass by low-efficiency coal power plants.
“Despite significant technical improvements the ENVI committee vote misses the big picture and may cause an unsustainable dash for biomass” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). “The European bioeconomy deserves much better than turning wood into megawatts. We remain however confident that the text can be rebalanced at plenary”.
CEPI strongly holds the view that forest biomass should be both sustainably sourced and efficiently used in order to effectively contribute to Europe´s renewable energy and climate change targets.
For general enquiries please contact Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director at (+32) 2 627 4923
For press related enquiries please contact Ben Kennard, Press and Digital Communications Manager at (+32) 487 39 21 82
Resource efficiency - cascading use of raw material
The European pulp and paper industry is the biggest single industrial user and producer of renewable energy in the EU today. 54% of the industry’s total primary annual energy consumption is biomass based. And we have the potential to do even more in the future. We have the
experience, technology and supply chain to play a big part in the bio-economy and that in a resource efficient manner.
European Parliament votes in favour of a LULUCF regulation better fit for purpose
The European organisations representing forestry and agriculture sectors as well as woodworking and paper industries see the reaction of the European Parliament within the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation as a positive step. The Parliament voted today in favour of a more dynamic forest reference levels to account for emissions and removals from sustainably managed forests.
EUSTAFOR, CEPF, Copa and Cogeca, CEPI and CEI-Bois recognise that the Parliament calls for flexible and forward-looking rules when establishing forest reference levels. However, further work is needed to ensure that the full potential of sustainably managed forests and wood-based products in mitigating climate change is fully accounted for as the final formulation of the regulation will be agreed in trilogues.
It is crucial for the European Union to keep promoting the use of domestic forest resources and the development of the entire forest-based value chain.
“This vote has put investment in Europe’s forests back at the forefront of the LULUCF regulation. This is a win-win for Europe’s climate strategy and the 1.8 million people working in the forest-based bioeconomy chain,” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.
“The voting result encourages Member States to continue using their growing forest resources sustainably in order to decarbonize the European economy. However, there still remains quite some room to further improve the LULUCF regulation,” says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR. “Actively and sustainably managed European forests are essential to allow the European Union to play a leading role in combining environmental integrity with societal needs and economic development.”
“This is a step in the right direction for a policy that puts the EU on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals. It enables continued investments into the forest sector and sustainable forest management – the best long term strategy to maintain the carbon sink and ensure multiple benefits from our forests”, says Emma Berglund, Secretary General of CEPF.
Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said: “Today’s vote upheld sustainable forest management practices and recognised the billions of investments made in rural areas. Sustainable harvest practices go hand in hand with the multifunctional role of forests. This brings excellent results for the climate, society and the economy. It makes no sense to outsource the provision of sustainable raw materials for our bioeconomy in non-EU countries. Diseases and forest fires are equally disastrous and Member States should be given the opportunity to manage the forests in a way that addresses also these important challenges. Future discussions with the Council must ensure that every country, no matter how big or small, has the opportunity to continue managing their forests in a transparent and science-based manner with a long-term strategy, without fear of being penalised or infringing private owners rights”.
For further information, please contact:
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR):
Executive Director Piotr Borkowski - firstname.lastname@example.org
Policy Advisor Salvatore Martire - email@example.com
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF):
Secretary General Emma Berglund - firstname.lastname@example.org
Policy Advisor Meri Siljama - email@example.com
European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca):
Senior Policy Advisor Evangelos Koumentakos - Evangelos.Koumentakos@copa-cogeca.eu
Press Officer Amanda Cheesley - Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org
Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI):
Raw Materials Director, Ulrich Leberle – email@example.com
Press & Digital Communications Manager Ben Alexander Kennard - firstname.lastname@example.org
European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois):
Secretary General Patrizio Antonicoli - email@example.com
Sustainability and Economic Affairs Manager Isabelle Brose - firstname.lastname@example.org
Reaction by Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI to ENVI (Environment) Committee vote on LULUCF
“The ENVI committee has missed the logic that LULUCF should focus on growing forest through investment rather arbitrarily capping its use as a resource. Freezing, over the next decade, the use of growing forestry will endanger the carbon sink Europe needs in 2050 and beyond” says, Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at the Confederation of Europe Paper Industries.
For press related enquiries please contact Ben Kennard, Press Officer at email@example.com or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82
LULUCF: Forestry, paper and agri-sectors team up in favor of a dynamic forest reference level
The Environment Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament today adopted the draft report of the Committee’s Rapporteur, MEP Norbert Lins, on the regulation of Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). The policy is of utmost importance for the forest and agricultural sectors as it defines the climate benefits of forest management and the use of wood.
A key element of the regulation is how to account for emissions and removals from forests. As a part of the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, the European Commission proposed new EU LULUCF accounting rules for forests using a “Forest Reference Level” based on past (1990-2009) management practices and intensity.
Today, the ENVI Committee decided to continue this approach by voting in favor of a compromise to compare forest management intensity in 2020-2030 to the historical period of 2000-2012.
The approach of comparing future forest use to historical management intensity has been heavily criticized by the forest and agricultural sectors. The latter point to the fact that, in order to take advantage of the full potential of long-term benefits from sustainably managed forests and harvested wood products as regards climate change mitigation and adaptation, Forest Reference Levels must take into consideration the most recent data on forest resources and relevant policies. While the efforts made by the EP Committee are to be acknowledged, substantial work is still needed to improve the proposal.
“We should not penalize countries that did not use the full sustainable potential of their forests in the past. Member States should be able to use their growing forests for developing a fossil-free bioeconomy and forest owners should be enabled to continue investing in sustainable forest management – the best long-term strategy to maintain the carbon sink and ensure the climate benefits of forests,” says Emma Berglund, Secretary General of CEPF.
“Forest resources are growing in Europe and we should promote the use of sustainably-sourced wood from European forests to reach the climate and energy targets and to develop a sustainable bioeconomy. In fact, the EU Forest Strategy calls for management, growth and the use of forests, and this goes far beyond just considering them as a carbon stock,” says Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR.
“A dynamic Forest Reference Level is essential for ensuring investments are made where it matters most: in sustainable forest management. Let’s keep Europe’s forests on a pro-growth trajectory that both maintains Europe’s forest carbon sink and unleashes the true potential of its bioeconomy,” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.
"Use of wood from sustainably managed forests is THE key to concretely tackle climate change. European regulators must have the ambition to set a coherent and lively Forest Reference Level to maintain the forests carbon sink and ensure proper material availability that will allow the society to fully benefit from the carbon storage offered by Harvested Wood Products," says Patrizio Antonicoli, Secretary General of CEI-Bois.
“We seriously regret the vote in the Environment Committee,” underlines the Chair of the Copa & Cogeca Environment Working Party, Liisa Pietola. “It is a loss for the rural community’s growth and jobs and the climate. Countries are suffering more and more from extreme weather events and forest fires, and this will penalise them further. We are the only sectors that remove emissions from the atmosphere. The opinion of the Agriculture Committee was completely ignored.”
The umbrella organizations of the forest, paper and agricultural sectors in Brussels urge all MEPs to look at the big picture concerning the climate change mitigation and adaptation of forestry. In the transition period from a fossil-based society, all outlets of forestry are needed and benefits should be examined in the long term.
EUSTAFOR, Copa and Cogeca, CEPF, CEPI and CEI-Bois remain confident that the upcoming discussions in the European Parliament and Council will have a positive impact on the further development of the proposal.
For further information, please contact:
Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF):
Secretary General, Emma Berglund - firstname.lastname@example.org
European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR):
Policy Advisor, Salvatore Martire: email@example.com
Communications Director, Juha Makinen: firstname.lastname@example.org
European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (Copa and Cogeca):
Senior Policy Advisor, Evangelos Koumentakos - Evangelos.Koumentakos@copa-cogeca.eu
Press Officer, Amanda Cheesley - Amanda.email@example.com
Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI):
Director General, Sylvain Lhôte - firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Officer, Ben Kennard – email@example.com
European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois):
Secretary General, Patrizio Antonicoli - firstname.lastname@example.org
Position Paper on LULUCF
CEPI position on the Commission proposal for a regulation on the inclusion of GHG emissions and removals from LULUCF into the 2030 climate and energy framework
The main goal for the European pulp and paper industry in the debate on climate change and forestry is to work on a policy framework enabling the long term sustainable management of European forests. This is in line with the conclusions of chapter 9 of the 4th Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”
The main concern of the European pulp and paper industry is that proposals for the inclusion of GHG emissions and removals from LULUCF focus on the 2030 horizon and forest sequestration. Meanwhile the potential of the other aspects of sustainable forest management such as the absorption of carbon by more dynamic forest management and storage and substitution of wood products replacing fossil based ones would not be sufficiently recognised and harvesting levels would be reduced.
The European pulp and paper industry is a key contributor to the bioeconomy. It uses wood from sustainably managed forests to produce renewable and recyclable products which substitute more carbon intentive products.. In addition, the European pulp and paper industry produces bioenergy with highly efficient combined heat and power generation. Further increasing the efficiency of the wood use, the industry is developing new products based on wood to grow the bioeconomy and even more substitute fossil based materials. The mitigation potential could be further improved by further supporting the growth of forests, dynamic forestry and the mobilisation of wood, the use of wood-based products, high value added products, the cascading use principle and strengthening innovation in new bio-based products.
Accurately accounting the emissions/removals from the sector is crucial to demonstrate that European forests and the use of its products have a positive contribution to climate change, as forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it. Harvested wood products store carbon and substitute fossil based products. Along the chain, wood, harvesting residues and industrial residues are also used to produce bioenergy substituting fossil fuels. (Replacing fossil fuels by bioenergy is an interim target on the way to bio-based value chains creating high value added from products, materials and fuels.)
In the last decades, forests in Europe have been growing both in surface and in growing stock. Looking ahead, Chapter 9 of the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC states: “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitgigation benefit. Most mitigation activities require up-front investment with benefits and co-benefits typically accruing for many years to decades. The combined effects of reduced deforestation and degradation, afforestation, forest management, agro-forestry and bioenergy have the potential to increase from the present to 2030 and beyond”. The combined climate change mitigation effect should be maximised. Therefore disproportionate measures on one of these elements should be avoided.
In this context CEPI and its members welcome the recognition of forests and forest products in the EU’s new climate and energy policy framework 2020-2030 and the inclusion of the land use, land use change and forestry sector in the framework.
Even though the proposal is on a 10 year period, it should incentivise the long term carbon benefits of forests and the bio-economy. The inclusion should not lead to an optimisation for the 2020 to 2030 period. In the long term, Europe will need more wood products.
The regulation should provide a framework incentivising Member States to promote a forest management, which increases the capacity of its forests to take carbon out of the atmosphere and at the same time store it in products that substitute fossil products.
The Commission proposal includes several positive principles:
Emissions from the land use sector are reported when harvesting takes place. Carbon emissions should be accounted once. Emissions from the combustion of biomass should therefore accounted as zero to avoid double counting. This also ensures the climate effect of the wood use is allocated to the country in which the trees are harvested.
Harvested Wood Products (HWP) are recognised as carbon pools contributing to the mitigation efforts. We believe this is a very important element of the framework, as HWP provide a mitigation potential well below the 2020-2030 period.
Flexibility between LULUCF and the effort sharing sector is limited to afforestation. This gives Member States with potential for afforestation the possibility to use this abandoned land for afforestation. The potential for afforestation is varying strongly between Member States. However, we believe it is not necessary to limit this flexibility to 280 million tons of CO2. There should not be flexibility between LULUCF and effort sharing sector for forest management.
We believe that the Commission should continue work towards international progress in carbon accounting and encourage other world regions to account for their emissions from LULUCF, particularly countries from which the EU is sourcing wood for bioenergy and products. A credible and though workable scheme in Europe could facilitate the uptaking of similar initiatives in other world regions. Such bottom-up approach has proven successful in the Paris agreement.
Finally we welcome the fact that the proposal is directed to the Member States rather than smaller entities. This ensures the contribution from forestry is regarded upon in landscape approaches and with long time frames.
The Commission proposal contains provisions to be improved:
The framework should be comprehensive and as flexible as possible to further allow Member States to develop policies based on their national conditions.
Forest management reference levels should be set on the basis of long timeframes in order to better reflect trends and responses to climate change policies and measures already in force. These timeframes should enable reference levels to emphasise the impact of most recent policy instruments affecting forest resources, forest management and use of forest products in the country.
The setting of projections based on reference levels has to be credible and transparent and should be based on subsidiarity in forest related issues. The European Commission’s role should be focused on ensuring harmonised country established reference levels and on ensuring credibility and transparency rather than a centralised recalculation on those national elements.
The criteria for the establishment of forest reference levels should be reviewed and better focused on carbon relevant criteria. Biodiversity conservation is already addressed in specific EU and national legislation and this should be reflected in policy.
The option chosen by the Commission is based on the no-debit rule. CEPI believes the no-debit rule is crucial in the LULUCF proposal to demonstrate that the forest sector acts as a sink. However, we believe that Member States demonstrating they harvest less than the net annual increment should not be sanctioned.