Skip to main content

FAM, together with Future of Forestry, commissioned AFRY to study the substitution effect – how forest-based products can substitute fossil-based products. The result is the report “Substitution potential and climate impact in the EU forest value chain”,  one of the most detailed attempts at showing the positive climate effect of using forest fibre for products. It also shows the potential for increased substitution going forward.

The climate challenge requires us to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide. The EU target for 2050 is net-zero, which requires all sectors to contribute, including the forest sector.

First, it is important to know that forests and the forest sector contribute to climate change mitigation in multiple ways:
  • Growing forests remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the forest.
  • Wood products store carbon in them throughout their life-cycle.
  • Wood products and bioenergy can substitute fossil-based materials, which reduces emissions.

Forest fibre creates a circular carbon flow instead of the linear flow of fossil materials

The forest plays an important part in climate mitigation, as forest fibre is one of the few strategic large-scale renewable assets that we have access to in Europe. Today forest products help save 390 Mt CO2eq in annual emissions. This equals to annual emissions of 50 million people in the EU.

The potential is even higher in the future if obstacles are removed that prevent more use of fibre in, for example, construction, packaging, textiles and advanced fuels. To ensure sufficient supply of raw materials, active forest management would be beneficial.

Overall, in 2050, forest fibre could provide as much as 500-600 Mt CO2eq in lower emissions, or around one fourth of the way towards net-zero.

READ AND DOWNLOAD the report to learn more about the climate potential of the EU forest value chain:

Substitution potential and climate impact in the EU forest value chain