A "Climate Smart" future for forest economies
Construction is facing a massive industry boom, with ~2 billion m of new buildings needed every year until 2025 to accommodate population growth and increasing urbanization rates.
With the building and construction sector responsible for 40% of global GHG emissions, the climate impact of this could be catastrophic, with excessively paved areas creating 'heat islands' that amplify extreme heat by as much as 12°C.
Population growth and rapid urbanization are driving further growth of the global building stock, which is expected to double by 2050.
Business as usual is not an option for realizing this growth.
Traditional construction is bad news for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Although efforts to decarbonize construction are ongoing, they are insufficient to meet the scale of this challenge.
Along with efforts to decarbonize our built environments and reduce the impact of construction materials, a scaled-up use of wood from sustainably managed forests and an increase in the longevity of the material in the form of mass timber is often proposed as a promising solution. Indeed, innovative construction materials such as cross-laminated timber and glue-laminated timber can help substitute materials with a high-carbon intensity, sequester carbon in buildings (and upcycle at end-of-life), and contribute to increasing natural carbon sinks through reforestation and sustainable forestry practices for growing, managing and harvesting wood. Getting this carbon balance right can be challenging, which is where the Climate Smart Forest Economy Program comes in.
Forests can solve a fourth of
climate change challenges alongside
Sustainable forest management
can create a $230 billion industry and 16 million new jobs by 2030. However, this economic capability and full potential as a climate solution is not well understood and therefore not realized.
Forests are a lifeline to ecological health and the wellbeing of communities around the world, but their ability to continue to provide these benefits is eroding. Growing populations, rapid urbanization, and high poverty levels are contributing to a rise in deforestation.
Forests require sustainable markets to provide incentives to unlock more private capital for responsible forest growth and management.
By acting and transitioning to a climate smart forest economy, cities can create jobs, boost their economies, and improve the health of their citizens. The challenge is achieving the right balance across the value chain, and ensuring that safeguards are in place to protect other forest values, beyond their value as a carbon sink.
That is where our collaboration comes in.
WHAT IS A CLIMATE SMART FOREST ECONOMY?
The Climate Smart Forest Economy refers to a holistic approach for the forest and associated value chain management that maximizes climate and economic benefits while meeting social and ecological safeguards.
Ensuring all forest economies are "climate smart" can protect, maintain, manage, restore, and regrow forests, while assigning greater value to forests, creating further incentives for restoration and reforestation. It offers an opportunity to decarbonize sectors that interface with forests through their value chains, such as construction. In addition to positive climate outcomes, this can result in substantial social and economic benefits.
THE CLIMATE SMART FOREST ECONOMY PROGRAM (CSFEP)
A program from EIT Climate-KIC, World Economic Forum, and
the World Resources Institute, with seed funding from Good Energies Foundation. It also counts on independent scientific council from The Nature Conservancy, and support from Dalberg Catalyst.
Our VISION is to sustainably and responsibly unlock the full climate potential of forests and forest products.
Our AIM is to ensure all forest value chains and forest-dependent economies are "climate smart", meeting social and ecological safeguards.
Our MISSION is to generate and disseminate knowledge, inspire and raise ambition of critical stakeholders from the public and private sector, and support initiatives that demonstrate how the Sink, carbon Storage, and fossil-carbon Substitution (3S) functions of forests and forest products can be maximized for enhanced climate, social, and economic benefits.