Wood U Believe in Growth – Finnish forest sector events in Brussels

I believe in the sustainable growth potential of the forest-based sector in modernizing the European economy. We also have to change the way we produce and consume things. This means that we must be more efficient in our use of resources, said Jyrki Katainen, the Vice-President of the European Commission at the “Wood U Believe in Growth” event. The event was organized by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation on 6 September 2017 in Brussels.

The event was organized on the occasion of the Plenary vote on the LULUCF report at the European Parliament on 13 September 2017 (link). Vice-President Katainen also referred to the issue of carbon sinks policy, namely the carbon accounting from the LULUCF sector, which was lively discussed over recent months.

Forest is a major carbon sink in the EU, and the Paris agreement identifies this sink as critical to reach its long term climate objectives. Commission’s submission of a regulation on land use and forestry (LULUCF) (link) included a proposal how to include the forest and land use sector to our climate targets, while securing the environmental integrity.

As explained by Artur Runge Metzger, Director in DG Energy and one of the panelists, even though Commission did not intend to propose any limits on the use of forests in the future, it caused concerns in the forest rich countries. He was challenged in the panel by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, who pointed out that many member states clearly see the proposal meaning major limits on forestry.

Global megatrends support the use of renewable resources instead of fossil raw materials, the chairman of the Finnish Forest Industries Jussi Pesonen said. Population growth, urbanization, climate change and resource scarcity among others offer forest sector many opportunities for future growth for example in wood construction and biochemicals.

Exhibition on new wood-based products in the Parliament

In the first week of September there were also many other forest events in Brussels. The Finnish Uusipuu (New wood) initiative launched an exhibition in the European Parliament, which presented diverse innovation examples of how forest sector supports the bioeconomy and thus may support mitigation of the climate change.

The exhibition presented over 50 wood-based applications from hygiene and medical products to textiles, displayed by 20 different companies. The aim of this exhibition was to demonstrate how wide variety of solutions forest-based sector offers to everyday challenges.

European Commission´s Vice-President Jyrki Katainen opened the exhibition saying, that these “innovations show that wood has its role to play in the circular bioeconomy and in the overall modernisation of the European economy.” According to Mr. Katainen, the circular economy is the next global megatrend, which will also strengthen the bioeconomy and boost demand for wood-based products. “I hope, that these innovations bring people to think about the use of forests, how renewable it is and not destructive.”

Textiles from wood-based fibers were presented in the exhibition at the European Parliament. Photo: Thierry Dauwe



Published 22/09/2017, Brussels

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