Wood Be Better – a new initiative launched in Brussels


The Swedish forest industries launched a Brussels-based initiative called “Wood Be Better“. It aims at increasing the understanding of the forest-based value chain and discussing the role of this value chain in the EU policy-making procedure. At a meeting on 29 January 2020, hosted by MEP Fredrick Federley (Renew Europe), the focus was on the role of forests, forestry and forest products in the transition to a climate neutral economy.

The event consisted of two presentations. The first presentation was provided by Mr Artur Runge-Metzger, Director for Climate Strategy, Governance and Emissions from non-trading sectors, DG CLIMA, the European Commission, who provided an update on the Commission’s action on the new climate law announced in the European Green Deal on 11 December 2019. The other speaker was Mr Peter Holmgren, an international forest expert and a founder of FutureVistas, a Swedish consultancy, who claimed that the role of forests in climate policy has been limited. Forests are recognised as a valuable carbon sink and regulated as such by laws on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). Mr Holmgren further argued that the potential climate impact of forests must include the effect of forest-based products replacing fossil-based products, or substitution.

According to Holmgren’s report on the contribution of the Swedish forestry sector to global climate efforts, Sweden is already almost climate neutral, given that the substitution effect is fully taken into account.

P. Holmgren is currently working to assess the substitution potential for the whole EU and his preliminary results show that it is “very high”. Final results should be available in about a month. EUSTAFOR has been invited together with other stakeholders in the sector to support this work, preliminary assumptions of which can be found in this presentation.

The “Wood Be Better” network is an initiative from the Swedish Forest Industry Federation and forest owners in the Federation of Swedish Farmers.

More about the initiative is available under this link.

Juha S. Niemelä appointed as Director General of Metsähallitus

EUSTAFOR is delighted to welcome Juha S. Niemelä as Director General of Metsähallitus for the period from 2020 until 2024.

Juha S. Niemelä has spent the past four years working as Director-General in the Natural Resources Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Prior to that, he was Director-General of the Central Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. Niemelä has a doctoral degree in agriculture and forestry and a Master of Business Administration. He is also a long-serving docent at the University of Helsinki.

Juha S. Niemelä has taken over at the beginning of 2020 and his term will last until the end of 2024. As Director General, he manages and develops the operations of Metsähallitus, takes care of day-to-day administration and ensures that its accounting complies with the legislation and that its financial administration is reliably organised.

Multifunctional forests hold the key to reaching the EU’s climate and biodiversity objectives

Brussels, 21st January 2020 – EU Forest representatives, including EUSTAFOR, CEPF, Copa-Cogeca and ELO, teamed up today to organise the event entitled “Seeing the forest for the trees – the multifunctional role of EU forests” in the European Parliament (EP). The event, hosted by MEP Petri Sarvamaa, rapporteur for the EP’s initiative report on the EU Forest Strategy, aimed to address the significant contribution of multifunctional forests to the EU’s climate and biodiversity objectives.

While more than one third of Europe is covered by forests which provide European citizens with economic, environmental and social benefits, the multifunctional role of forests is all too often overlooked. This is mainly due to the spread of generalised messages, such as the degradation of EU forests, the purely commercial use of forests, etc. Such messages underestimate the continuous efforts undertaken by forest owners and managers to ensure sustainable forest development and to maximise their potential to serve people, the climate and nature. In fact, EU forest owners and managers have a long tradition of and hands-on experience in sustainable management of multifunctional forests. This was showcased by three practical examples: the management of wetlands in Sweden, tools to enhance the multifunctionality of forests in Croatia and agroforestry in Portugal.

In addition, it was also highlighted that collaboration between policy-makers and the forest sector is central to optimising the multiple benefits provided by forests. This is particularly relevant within the context of climate change and emerging societal expectations in Europe.

MEP Petri Sarvamaa underlined that, “A self-standing and robust EU Forest Strategy is the most appropriate tool to enable multifunctional EU forests to tackle the challenges of our time.”

Actors in the forestry sector believe that a balanced approach to all forest functions is key to ensuring consistency between forest-related policies. This is especially true when taking into consideration the scope of the European Green Deal. The future EU Forest Strategy should establish a framework for all relevant initiatives within the European Green Deal. These include the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the EU Climate Law – achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the EU bio-based circular economy, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other policies.


For more information please contact:

Diem Tran, Communications Officer, EUSTAFOR, diem.tran@eustafor.eu

Ksenija Simovic, Communication officer, Copa-Cogeca, ksenija.simovic@copa-cogeca.eu

Hélène Koch, Policy Officer, CEPF, helene.koch@cepf-eu.org

Ana Rocha, Senior Policy Officer, ana.rocha@elo.org

European Commission calling for public consultation on EU 2030 biodiversity strategy, EU climate law and circular economy

Following the announcement of the European Green Deal last December, the European Commission is calling for public consultation on a series of topics covered under the Green Deal:

Safeguarding nature – EU 2030 biodiversity strategy
This initiative outlines the EU’s ambition for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted in October 2020 at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China.

The deadline for the contribution is 20 January 2020.

Circular economy – new action plan to increase recycling and reuse of products in the EU

This new action plan will speed up the EU’s transition towards a circular economy by analysing the lifecycle of products and materials to ensure a sustainable use of resources and tackle resource-intensive sectors.

The deadline for the contribution is 20 January 2020.

European climate law – achieving climate neutrality by 2050

This act writes into law the goal set out in the European Green Deal – for Europe’s economy and society to become climate-neutral by 2050.

The deadline for the contribution is 06 February 2020.

EUSTAFOR encourages our members to contribute to these consultations in order to strengthen our voice and involvement in the policy development of the Green Deal. EUSTAFOR’s input will be elaborated based on our recent key messages to the European policymakers. Please inform the Brussels secretariat office in case you wish additional elements to be highlighted. In case you decide to provide your own contributions, please share them with us.