Brussels, Belgium, December 8, 2008 - The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA), together with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) held a joint side event at the international climate change COP 14 meeting in Poznan where they called for more recognition to be given to forests and forest based industries in combating climate change.

In releasing an ICFPA position paper on the forest industry and climate change Teresa Presas, President of ICFPA, called on world leaders to work toward international climate change arrangements that address major sources of emissions while respecting the free flow of products in the global marketplace and recognizing the complementary contribution that forests and wood products can make. Such an agreement needs to include all major emitting countries, both developed and developing, to ensure that competitive balance is maintained and emissions “leakage” is prevented.

The ICFPA paper records the roles that the forest sector plays in fighting climate change everyday. Elizabeth de Carvalhaes from the Brazilian Pulp and Paper Association: “There is currently a strong focus on REDD, but we should also recognise that sustainably managed forests, including forest plantations, or planted forests, increase forest productivity and, when established on previously non-forest land, result in increases of both forest and carbon pools.” The paper also outlines the important role of renewable and recyclable raw materials using renewable energy processes to produce wood alternatives to more carbon intensive materials, thus creating a more sustainable world for future generations.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the climate benefits of sustainably managed forests, coupled with timber production, can make a significant contribution to reducing atmospheric carbon. The IPCC's 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, Mitigation, 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 mitigation benefit.” International climate policies and agreements must fully recognize the contributions of sustainably managed forests and forest products. Presas noted that “Policies must be flexible, cost-effective and ensure a diverse, stable, and affordable energy supply. With experience, it is now clear that a number of the Kyoto rules applying to forestry are not as accurate or as flexible as they could be including the treatment of harvesting emissions and land use change. Agriculture and energy sectors policies, should take into account the impact on afforestation, deforestation and existing fibre markets, particularly where such policies involve the application of subsidies that drive land use change.”

“Climate Change policies should also be designed to mitigate increased energy costs for energy intensive manufacturers to ensure that the industry has the financial resources to adopt innovative energy efficient technologies.” She pointed out that “Business community input is fundamental to designing appropriate domestic and international policy solutions. The industrial sector will bear the largest impact of climate change policies aimed at reducing emissions, and, at the same time, it is critical to develop the necessary technology for implementing long-term, positive impact solutions. An international agreement must also provide the forest industry with economic signals that are durable and consistent if the significant levels of investment involved in sustainably growing trees and manufacturing forest products are to be maintained.” She concluded.

The ICFPA position paper is available at: www.icfpa.org

For more information, please contact Martyn Griffiths at m.griffiths@cepi.org or Tel.: +32 2 627 49 26.