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Image by Federico Bottos



The 3S Approach

The 3S Approach

The 3S Framework

To support the transition, the 3S Framework is a useful tool for measuring and influencing the various climate functions of forest and forest product value chains — from the management of land to the use of products and services. The tool provides a comprehensive and integrated way of considering and balancing the various aspects of the carbon cycle: sink (the drawdown and retention of carbon dioxide in the forest), storage (the carbon dioxide embedded in materials), and substitution (the avoidance of emissions by replacing carbon-intensive materials).



Sustainable wood products have the potential to help combat the emissions from the industrial sector on three fronts, because they have a sequestration, storage and substitution benefit. That is, greenhouse gas emissions are sequestered in the trees, they are stored in the forest products, like mass timber, and there is an additional substitution benefit from using a climate friendly product, as opposed to a carbon intensive product like steel or cement.


However, we have to (i) make sure that this is done in a way that ensures the safeguarding of forests, communities, and the environmental services on which all life depends; and (ii) builds broad consensus, and a streamlined and agreed understanding of the benefits of forests. Currently, key stakeholders are unable to make fully-informed choices as there are a lack of adequate decision-making or planning frameworks/tools available that support users to explore the impact of their decisions. This results in either opposing views from different stakeholders, and potentially, suboptimal allocation of financial resources.



To work towards these goals, our partners, and generous donations, have built a preliminary draft version of the 3S Framework. This framework, we hope, will ultimately serve as a decision tool/accounting framework that will allow decision makers to credibly assess how their choices can maximize the climate change impacts of forests and forest products. The instrument will help compare different scenarios in terms of carbon absorption and sequestration (the sink function), of carbon storage (the biocarbon stored in wood-based products) and carbon substitution (the fossil carbon emissions avoided).

By combining sink, storage, and substitution (3S) functions into a single framework, the latest knowledge on carbon accounting will become accessible to a broad range of users, thus helping to unlock the full climate potential of forests and forest products.

Image by Olena Sergienko



Providing economic incentives for improved forest management, reforestation, scaling tree cover, and carbon stored in landscapes.

Image by Dorelys Smits


(timber products)

Scaling local processing capacity to make long-lived timber products, creating economic opportunities for communities.

Image by Josh Olalde



Substituting carbon-intensive materials in construction for timber products, creating improved decent housing and local jobs.

Interested in learning more and accessing the draft framework? Reach out here.

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