Working forests serve as a natural solution to climate change


NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / January 24, 2023 / The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13, which calls for action to combat climate change and its impacts, is perhaps the most relevant UNSDG for Sappi. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the pulp and paper industry ranks third in the manufacturing sector by energy consumption. At the same time, trees – with their natural ability to capture and store carbon – are the primary raw material used in pulp and paper production, and are identified as playing a key role in tackling climate change. The vital role of trees became clear at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, in autumn 2021, where 141 leaders committed to halting forest loss and land degradation by 2030 and to as set out in the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use.

The signatories noted “the critical and interdependent role of forests … to help achieve a balance between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks; to adapt to climate change; and to sustain other ecosystem services.” To say it’s an exciting time to work in the wood products industry is an understatement.

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Sappi is well positioned to make a difference. First, we remain focused on reducing the energy intensity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with our operations, as reflected in two of our 2025 goals – reducing specific total energy and specific greenhouse gas emissions – and from our commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative.

Second, we source our wood from North American regions that are climate-healthy. The Forest Resources Association issues a carbon report for each state. In Maine, forest carbon stocks increased by 5% between 1990 and 2019 and in Minnesota by 8% over the same period.

The role of our forests in mitigating climate change is essential. However, that does not mean that forests should not be cut down. While forest conservation has a place, active forest management plays an important role – perhaps even more so in light of climate change and the unique challenges associated with it, such as drought and pests, making forests even more vulnerable to significant wildfire destruction. We may be reaching a biological tipping point in both Maine and Minnesota. The University of Maine applied a forest health metric called “relative density” to national inventory data. It is hypothesized that the greater the relative density of the forest, the more vulnerable it will be to the threats of a changing climate.

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“Natural climate solutions” is the term used today to describe the way forward of the forestry industry. These include management actions such as conservation, restoration and/or improved land management that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in global forests, wetlands, grasslands and agricultural lands.

Sappi recently participated in the Forest Solutions Group of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which released its first Forest Sector Net-Zero Roadmap report, Enabling the transition to a net-zero economy, at COP26. The report calls on policymakers, investors and consumers of forest products to harness the potential of sustainable forests and their products in the transition to a net-zero economy.

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Sarah Price, Sustainability Manager for Sappi Europe, who is actively involved in the Forest Solutions Group’s efforts, participated in a COP26 panel highlighting the need for working forests as natural climate solutions.

Sappi is committed to SDG 13, and this story is about reducing greenhouse gas emissions through working forests.

See more multimedia and more ESG stories from Sappi North America at

Contact information:
Spokesman: Sappi North America
Email: [email protected]

SOURCE: Sappi North America

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