The COP26 meeting in Glasgow represents a significant milestone in defining our common actions to tackle the climate crisis. Nature-based solutions – the sustainable management and use of nature to tackle socio-environmental challenges – have a critical role to play in limiting global warming to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.
PEFC works to protect, responsibly manage, and further enhance forests, which are probably the most well-known nature-based solution for climate change.
Our objective is to increase forests’ capacity to address societal challenges, such as climate change, effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously promoting the use of sustainably sourced wood products, which can help us to substantially accelerate the transition to low-carbon economies.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land highlights this important dual role of forests as both carbon sinks and providers of renewable resources that can replace fossil fuel intensive materials.
“Sustainable forest management can maintain or enhance forest carbon stocks, and can maintain forest carbon sinks, including by transferring carbon to wood products. Where wood carbon is transferred to harvested wood products, these can store carbon over the long-term and can substitute for emissions-intensive materials reducing emissions in other sectors”, highlights the IPCC “with high confidence”.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlights – based on numerous life-cycle assessments (LCAs) of wood-based products in the construction sector – that “typically, wood-based materials have a lower emission footprint than competing materials over the complete life cycle of the product (including use and disposal), and the production stage of wood-based materials results in lower GHG emissions than the production stage of functionally comparable non-wood materials.”
“PEFC, as the world’s leading forest certification system, is therefore an important part in the toolbox needed to fight climate change, by promoting the sustainable management of the world’s forests and the use of wood products as a renewable raw material,” says Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.
Forests are critically important not just for our climate, but also for water quality, clean air, biodiversity, rural communities and the estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide who depend directly on forests for their livelihoods.
“Nature-based solutions such as those provided by sustainable forest management are powerful allies in addressing societal challenges like climate change, delivering benefits for both the environment and human well-being,” stressed Mr. Gunneberg.
“COP26 must recognise the vital role of forests and forest products in climate change mitigation and adaptation to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement, including limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Leaders must also recognise the crucial contribution that non-state actors such as PEFC are already providing in ensuring their sustainable management”.