FSC announces the Bonn Initiative at COP23
FSC, IKEA of Sweden and SIG support the development of scientifically rigorous methodologies to quantify the climate benefits of FSC certification
Demonstrating how the private sector can play a major role in mitigating climate change, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) announced today at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn the support from IKEA of Sweden and SIG Combibloc aiming to document the positive impacts of wood sourcing and forestry.
The Bonn Initiative is a joint effort to develop scientifically rigorous methodologies that will help quantify the benefits, such as improved carbon sequestration, that FSC certified forests contribute to mitigate global warming and fight climate change.
This data will allow companies to specifically identify the climate benefits derived from sourcing forest products from FSC certified forests in the fight against global warming. It can also help governments with specific knowledge of the amount of carbon storage in responsibly managed forests, offering them better information on their progress towards meeting their UNFCCC Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) within the framework of the Paris Agreement.
FSC will set up a task force based on earlier work to develop methods that will indicate through scientifically backed data the positive impacts of FSC certification as compared to conventional forest management practices.
“By protecting and restoring forest ecosystems and improving forest management practices, FSC has a direct positive impact on curbing global warming. Specifically quantifying these positive impacts will allow companies and consumers to better understand the importance of responsible forest management in helping to prevent global warming and eventually become a catalyst for increased demand of products that come from these sources,” said Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC International.
Udo Felten, Manager Product Related Global Environmental Sustainability & Affairs at SIG added “We want to be net positive by contributing more to society and the environment than we take out. We call that going WAY BEYOND GOOD. An important part of our net positive commitment is supporting global action on climate change as well as on the regeneration of natural resources. Since 2009, SIG has led the industry in providing FSC-certified carton packs. Today, more than 80 per cent of SIG carton packs are carrying the FSC label. More than 60 billion SIG packs have now been sold with the FSC label. Showing the climate benefits of FSC-certified carton packs in a scientifically robust way will further support our target of 100% FSC labelled packs.”
“In fiscal year 2017 77 percent of the wood used in IKEA products came from More Sustainable Sources (FSC certified or recycled). We have the ambition to reach 100% by 2020. By using about 3% of the global FSC wood available, and through the work with our partners, we have contributed to the certification of about 18 percent of FSC certified forests worldwide. This is what we call the journey to become forest positive. Climate is very strong in our agenda, it is in fact shaping the way we do business today. Therefore a more rigorous estimate of the positive role of responsibly managed forests in climate mitigation will strengthen this commitment,” said Mikhail Tarasov, Global Forestry Manager, IKEA of Sweden.
As important carbon sinks, forests play an essential role in reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Responsible forest management, as embodied by FSC, has the capacity to mitigate global warming through specific measures that aim, among others, to improve forestry practices, reduce forest damage, increase restoration and reforestation or avoid specific negative impacts such as forest fires.
A step beyond the Vancouver Declaration
The Bonn Initiative follows the Vancouver Declaration launched during FSC’s General Assembly held in Vancouver (Canada) in October this year and already supported by over 60 global companies. The Vancouver Declaration recognizes the importance of FSC as a responsible forest management certification scheme and commits the signatories to prioritize sourcing FSC certified forest products on a global scale.
This new initiative is a next step to specifically quantify the contribution that the signatories to the Vancouver Declaration have in reducing carbon emission through responsible forest management.
The Bonn Initiative will equally be open to companies willing to follow-up on their earlier pledge through the Vancouver Declaration.
the Bonn Initiative
“As supporters of the FSC Vancouver Declaration, we believe forest products play an important role in the switch away from use of raw materials based on fossil fuels. We are committed to work for a sustainable future and responsible use of natural resources as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals the UN adopted in 2015.
Forest products are an essential part of the goods we produce, and our success is dependent on long term access to those raw materials. Without forest materials we would not be able to serve our customers with products meeting their expectations on functionality, quality, volume, and sustainability performance. Therefore, we recognise the special responsibility we have in ensuring that the world’s forests are managed sustainably. These forests play an essential role in mitigating climate change, protecting biodiversity and providing livelihoods to hundreds of millions of people.
Signatories to the Vancouver Declaration have chosen to give visible and credible assurance of their commitments to customers and other stakeholders by sourcing FSC certified and controlled wood combined with reclaimed material for their products. Together with the other signatories, we commit to do our share by continuing to increase our sourcing of FSC certified materials.
We are already working with partners to document the environmental and social impact of responsible forest management and FSC certification, and as a specific contribution to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, we will now work with FSC to develop scientifically rigorous methodologies to quantify the climate benefits of FSC certification as compared to Business-as-Usual forest management. We believe that such methodologies will be helpful both for companies sourcing FSC certified materials worldwide and interested in understanding their climate impacts, and for countries as a tool to help them quantify their level of achievement of their NDCs.”