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.
Global Forest and Paper Industry Celebrates International Day of Forests
SÃO PAULO – The theme of the 2017 United Nations International Day of Forests is Forests and Energy. The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) of which CEPI is a member is proud to represent the global forest products industry, which plays an important role in contributing to the production of renewable energy. While manufacturing its products from wood sourced from sustainably managed forests, the industry reduces dependence on fossil fuels. It uses by wood manufacturing residuals, byproducts and forest residues – collectively known as biomass – to produce efficiently much of the energy required for its operations and provides heat to local communities as well as to electrify the grid.
According to the international carbon accounting principle, when combusted for energy, biomass does not contribute to global climate change as growing trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. The ICFPA reiterates the carbon neutrality of biomass in a policy statement here
“The sustainable management of forestry including the efficient use of biomass for energy is key to achieving global climate change commitments and are core principles in making the low-carbon bioeconomy a reality in Europe.” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, wood provides the world with roughly 40 percent of current global renewable energy supply – more than solar, hydroelectric or wind power. Sustainably-managed forests have a key role in meeting several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and providing solutions for a growing green economy.
To increase the role of forests in providing renewable energy and to reduce the use of fossil fuels, the forest-based industry invests in technological innovation and sustainably-managed forests to improve yields and practices. In the past ten years, the energy share of biomass and other renewable fuels has increased ten percentage points from 53 to 63 percent.
The ICFPA represents more than 30 national and regional forest and paper associations around the world, including CEPI
For more information about the sustainability of the global forest and paper industry, visit icfpa.org.
Joint Statement: Working Group on the future direction of FOREST EUROPE
European forest owners, managers and forest-based industries released a joint statement today, outlining key elements to be included in the review of the FOREST EUROPE process to ensure Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), at the first meeting of the working group on the future direction of the FOREST EUROPE in Bratislava.
European forest owners, managers and forest-based industries released a joint statement today outlining key elements to be included in the review of the FOREST EUROPE process to ensure Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) at the first meeting of the working group on the future direction of the FOREST EUROPE in Bratislava.
The signatories of the joint statement acknowledge the importance of the FOREST EUROPE process for the development and implementation of SFM in European forests. In the 1990s, European Forest Ministers gathered to share their concerns about the health of European forests and to seek solutions to improve it. Since then, FOREST EUROPE has helped to ensure that we have well functioning forest monitoring systems, research programmes, gene banks and advanced forest fire prevention systems. It also contributed to the global forest agenda agreed at the UNCED Rio Summit in 1992. It enables SFM to be economically viable at the same time as protecting forest biodiversity, soils, water sources, the use of forest biomass for bioenergy and other purposes. Last but not least, it succeeded in opening a completely new chapter on discussing a legally binding framework for Europe’s forests.
However, it is important to review the FOREST EUROPE process to ensure that today’s challenges in the forest and forest-based sector, which are more complex and demanding than ever, can be met. European forest owners, managers and industries therefore welcome the set-up of the working group on the future direction of FOREST EUROPE. The signatories of the joint statement believe that FOREST EUROPE needs to be able to respond to current and emerging challenges and opportunities, such as climate change, bio- and circular economy, sustainable sourcing of bioenergy, as well as green capital and the marketing of ecosystem services. It is crucial to strengthen FOREST EUROPE now to further develop the sustainable management of European forests and their multi-purpose use for the benefit of everyone. The signatories of the joint statement call for FOREST EUROPE to demonstrate leadership in this regard.
One of the biggest merits of FOREST EUROPE, which involves 46 European governments, the European Commission as well as numerous forest sector stakeholders and other international organizations, is that it enables stakeholders to have open and constructive dialogue. European forest owners, managers and industries will play an active part in the review process and contribute to the elaboration of a report by the end of 2017 to ensure that FOREST EUROPE is stronger and more effective in the future.
The joint statement was issued by major public and private forest owners, managers, other land owners and forest-based industries, represented by the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF), European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives (COPA and COGECA), European Landowners’ Organization (ELO), European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR), European Federation of Municipal Forest Owners (FECOF), and Union of Foresters of Southern Europe (USSE), the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois).Download here
Joint press release on the International Day of Forests-“Forests and Water”
"To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world's forests.”
– UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The European forest owners, managers, forest industry and professionals, represented by key stakeholders of the European forest sector: CEPF, Copa-Cogeca, ELO, EUSTAFOR, CEI-Bois, CEPI, FECOF, UEF and USSE, welcome the declaration by the UN General Assembly of the International Day of Forests on 21 March which this year has the theme “Forests and Water”.
Water is a vital element of all natural resources and essential to life, but nearly 80 percent of the world’s population is exposed to high levels of threat to water security. There is a growing imbalance between water supply and demand in the world, and also in Europe we increasingly need to ensure adequate water quality and quantity.
The European forest sector welcomes the opportunity to emphasize the role of forests and water. We consider that EU needs to better communicate the strong link between forests and water. Forests have a close relationship to our water resources and sustainable forest management is of crucial importance for ensuring a multitude of water-related benefits.
As representatives of the European forest sector we would like to highlight some of the important ways in which our forests enable access to this vital resource. Forested watersheds and wetlands supply 75 percent of the world’s accessible fresh water for domestic, agricultural, industrial and ecological needs. Forests influence the amount of available water and regulate surface and groundwater flows while maintaining highest water quality. Forests reduce the effects of floodings, and prevent and reduce dryland salinity and desertification. Forests act as natural water filters, minimizing soil erosion on site and reduce sediment in water bodies.
In the context of this year’s International Day of Forests, we also need to mention the impact that climate change has on water and the role of forests. Climate change is one of the major challenges facing today’s society. The impacts of climate change are an imminent threat to water security, and forests themselves are vulnerable to climate change. An increased frequency of extreme weather events has an impact on both forests and water, and may result in more catastrophic events like landslides, floods and droughts.
However, forests can also help reducing the impacts of such events. Europe’s forest sector is at the forefront of combatting climate change by contributing to both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Active forest management is crucial to enhance forests adaptive capacity, making them more resilient to meet a changing climate and maintaining the vital water-related services provided by forests.
CEPF – Confederation of European Forest Owners
Contact: Meri Siljama email@example.com, www.cepf-eu.org
COPA-COGECA – European Farmers European Agri-Cooperatives
Contact: Oana Neagu firstname.lastname@example.org, www.copa-cogeca.be
CEI-BOIS – Confederation of European Woodworking Industries
Contact: Ward Vervoort email@example.com, www.cei-bois.org
CEPI – Confederation of European Pulp and Paper Industries
Contact: Annie Xystouris firstname.lastname@example.org, www.cepi.org
ELO – European Landowners’ Organization
Contact: Ana Rocha email@example.com, www.europeanlandowners.org
EUSTAFOR – European State Forest Association
Contact: Gerd Thomsen firstname.lastname@example.org, www.eustafor.eu
FECOF – European Federation of Municipal Woodowners
UEF – Union of European Foresters
Contact: Michael Diemer email@example.com, www.european-foresters.org
USSE - Union des sylviculteurs du Sud de l'Europe
Contact: Isala Berria firstname.lastname@example.org, www.usse-eu.org
EU Bioenergy Sustainability Criteria
The sustainable forest management framework has evolved and strengthened over time balancing a market based demand for wood products and bioenergy with the other environmental and climate functions of the forest.
More recently, the EU policy framework to support the use of energy from renewable sources has led to a strong increase of bio-energy use within short timeframes. The increased demand has led to rising imports of wood. To ensure the sustainability of the policy induced increase of bioenergy use and wood imports, the following issues have to be considered:
• Do the needs for wood biomass lead to any of the following critical consequences: resource depletion, land conversion, negative impacts on biodiversity?
• Is the direct burning of wood biomass an efficient use of a raw material that could first be used for higher value purposes?
• How could monitoring, reporting and verification ensure carbon sustainability?
To address the increased use of wood for energy and to design a sustainable biomass policy framework for the post 2020 period, CEPI believes that the following criteria for the production of bioenergy counting towards EU renewable energy targets should be considered while taking into account the use of existing legal and market based instruments at national, EU and global level.
1. Biomass sourcing
Biomass should come from sustainable sources. Biomass is a renewable source of energy if it does not lead to harvesting beyond the sustainable level and preserves the other functions of forests according to the principles of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).
a. Carbon sustainability:
Forest biomass shall come from countries with credible LULUCF accounting and reporting. If biomass is procured from non-LULUCF accounting countries, credible proof has to be given that there are systems for monitoring, reporting and verification in place ensuring that the harvesting rate in this country is below 100% in the long term and the biomass does not come from land conversion (leading to depletion of carbon stock). Where there is overharvesting at the country level, the energy producer has to give sufficient proof that there is no overharvesting at the relevant regional level of the biomass origin.
Reporting should continue to take place according to the instant oxidation principle. This ensures that the climate effect of the wood use is allocated to the country in which the forest is harvested.
b. Forest management
Forest biomass shall come from legal sources.
In order to ensure that the three main challenges relating to forest management – resource depletion, land conversion and loss of biodiversity – are addressed, the following trend indicators provide sufficient assurance:
1. Growing Stock: The felling rate (harvested volume/net annual increment) must be lower than 1 in the long term (information source: e.g. National Forest Inventories) in order to avoid overharvesting.
2. Gross Deforestation: The area under forest cover must be maintained (except if deforestation is the result of “land sealing” (infrastructue building, urban expansion, etc. which is limited in surface) (information source: e.g. NFI)
3. Biodiversity: No biomass harvesting can take place in protected forests, unless the protection decision allows management and harvesting.
Additional considerations on the proposed approach:
• The measurement of meeting the above indicators must take place within well defined spatial and time dimensions. As far as the spatial dimension is concerned, the country level is relevant. Choosing the appropriate spatial level will allow for robust reporting and monitoring, both in terms of carbon emissions and removals (LULUCF reporting), as well as in terms of forest inventory (fellings areas, etc.)
• A stand level and short-term horizon is not acceptable as it would make compliance with such indicators both impossible and irrelevant. Harvesting lowers the carbon storage in stand level for a certain period, but at the same time at the landscape level, carbon storage continues to be maintained or increased.
• The obligation of proof should be solely with the energy producer.
• Demonstrating compliance should be credible, but not too burdensome to the suppliers and the buyers. Red-tape leading to extra cost would be a disincentive to additional mobilisation of forest resources.
• Similar to the EU Timber Regulation an approach of risk assessment (via national/regional (where relevant) data according to the three indicators outlined) should be investigated. Only if the risk assessment at country level can not give thourough proof, the regional/landscape level should be adressed.
• New means of proof should avoid being a further burden when competing with other industries and products based on fossil and more carbon intensive raw materials as well as with forest industries based outside Europe.
• The tools developed by the forest sector should be used to proof the origin from sustainable sources along the chain of custody.
• In that context, different voluntary instruments and tools addressing forest management should be evaluated and recognised.
2. Biomass conversion
a. Greenhouse Gas Savings criterion:
There should be GHG savings compared to the average European fossil fuel based generation of electricity and heating and cooling.
• The GHG emissions reduction criteria should be based on the GHG emissions calculations methodology recommended by the Commission in 2010 (COM(2010)11) and confirmed in 2014 (SWD(2014)259).
• There should be coherence with the biofuels GHG emissions threshold (60%) as wood can be used to produce power, heat or biofuels.
• The methodology and default values should be established for at least the same period as the post-2020 RES target.
b. Conversion efficiency:
Heat and electricity based on solid and gaseous biomass should be produced at an overall efficiency of at least 70% (lower for small installations (e.g. < 1 MW) or where CHP cannot be applied). Member States should not support but further even avoid the use of biomass in new conversions of coal plants with the current low efficiencies. Supporting co-firing of biomass in coal plants at low efficiencies is an environmentally harmful subsidy.
Meeting the conversion efficiency and GHG savings criteria should be verified by schemes similar to biofuels sustainability criteria. The obligation of verification should be with the energy producer. Mutual recognition of schemes should be ensured to limit red tape.
A background paper accompanying the position can be downloaded here.Download here
EUTR implementation report fails to tackle loophole on printed products
CEPI, together with INTERGRAF (European Federation for Print and Digital Communication) published a press release commenting on the implementation report of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) published by the European Commission last week. Judging it as a missed opportunity, the two associations are disappointed that the inclusion of printed products is not recommended strongly enough in the regulation’s scope. CEPI and INTERGRAF urge the Commission once again to amend the annex of the EUTR and include products under the chapter 49 of the Combined Nomenclature. The non-inclusion of printed products will lead to circumvention. There is a risk that illegally-logged wood will be traded to countries with less stringent legal rules, before being traded to the EU.
Read our press release.
Read more about the EU Timber Regulation on the Commission website.