A new Pöyry Point of View explores market based forest carbon solutions that are emerging to help mitigate climate change. The article, ‘Unlocking the benefits of forest carbon’, outlines how the Paris climate agreement has been a catalyst for companies to increase climate change mitigation and sustainability initiatives. New solutions are found in forest carbon by combining climate benefits with sustainable forest management and material solutions.
Petteri Pihlajamaki, Head of Forestry and Biomass Consulting at Pöyry, states,
The era of climate consciousness has set a precedent for new, more ambitious, climate actions. Forest carbon is set to play an important and exciting role in the effort to combat climate change by contributing to sustainable forest management and providing wood-based material solutions which are generally more sustainable. Companies in the forestry sector and wider value chain can therefore make a critical contribution towards climate change mitigation.”
The article argues that enhancements can be achieved in existing forests often with minimal changes and without the need for significant investment. The optimisation process relies on a variety of considerations such as the forest type, desired time frame, and carbon impact but all forest growers stand to make improvements in this area.
Afforestation and reforestation are also opportunities identified by the article for carbon mitigation with an estimated 300 million hectares of land that could be used for wood and biomass production without threatening food security. The article uses the hypothetical scenario that each EU citizen would need to plant one thousand trees to compensate for their annual CO2 emissions to highlight why replanting forests must be a priority.
Forest carbon is not just a consideration for forest owners. Further down the value chain, brands that are keen to improve their sustainability performance can look to new forest carbon solutions in addition to materials substitution to help mitigate climate change. The use of sustainable biomass in energy to displace fossil fuels is another well known opportunity.”
The article outlines how, traditionally, climate change has not been a key criteria for decision making in the private sector, as companies have chosen to place a higher focus on consumer preferences, brand management, cost efficiency, performance, safety and regulations. However, climate benefits and sustainability are becoming integral parts of these aspects and the private sector is adapting to include them. Consumers are also becoming increasingly conscious of climate change, and many of them are seeking sustainable products and services.