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New roadmap to maximize the forest sector’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

Eleven leading member companies from the Forest Solutions Group (FSG) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) have issued a Forest Sector SDG Roadmap today. Its aim is to maximize the sector’s contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and help unlock the business opportunities that present themselves on this journey to 2030 and beyond.  

The Roadmap was launched at the “Lead, Transform, Succeed: Chief Sustainability Officers for SDGs” event co-hosted by WBCSD as part of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in New York, where Francisco Ruiz-Tagle, CEO of CMPC, highlighted in his keynote speech: “This Roadmap articulates a common vision for the forest sector to help realize the ambitions that sit at the heart of the SDGs. We stand behind it and want to foster action-focused collaboration – globally, locally and throughout the value chain – that benefit people and the planet.” 

At the forefront of business leadership in the forest sector 

Business leadership and innovation are central to the achievement of the SDGs and sectoral partnerships are needed to drive industry transformation, scale and accelerate action. The FSG developed this Roadmap as part of its wider efforts to lead sustainable development in the forest sector, working collaboratively with its peers and stakeholders.  

The Roadmap aims to help the industry navigate the challenges arising from climate change, natural resource constraints, technological innovation, urbanization, demographic shifts and changes in consumer behavior while ensuring that forests and the sector continue to grow and thrive in line with the SDGs. 

A broad array of forest products from paper, packaging and personal care to innovative biomaterials provides solutions for everyday needs. These products and the forests they come from capture and store carbon. This unique ability positions the forest sector at the center of the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon and circular future that is rooted in renewable, natural resources. 

In this regard, Karl-Henrik Sundström, CEO of Stora Enso and Co-Chair of the FSG highlighted: “The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The forest sector is contributing to the SDGs by providing low-carbon, bio-based solutions that are renewable and recyclable. This Roadmap provides us with a tool to maximize our positive impact.” 

“The Forest Sector is in a strong position to influence the global response to many of the challenges that the SDGs aim to solve. We have come together to lead by example, share best practices and accelerate efforts to process, product and partnership innovation on the road to 2030 and beyond,” added João Castello Branco, CEO of The Navigator Company and Co-Chair of the FSG.  

A Roadmap to drive scale and ensure lasting impact 

The Roadmap shows how the forest sector interacts with the SDGs and can benefit from using the SDGs as a lens to respond to societal and environmental megatrends that are transforming the sector. It presents strategic impact opportunities and tangible actions for scaling collaborative action towards 2030 with a focus on where the sector together with partners can maximize SDG impact – bringing positive impact to scale and minimizing negative effects.   

With the understanding that the Roadmap is only the start of continuous SDG engagement, the FSG is committed to implementing the actions through its work program and seeks to catalyze action-focused collaboration throughout the value chain and across sectors to amplify SDG impact and to using the Roadmap to inform and influence decision-making of forest sector companies worldwide.  

Peter Oswald, CEO of Mondi, emphasized that “with sustainability at the core of our business, we can create value for our customers, employees, business and society as a whole. Only by working transparently and collaboratively, we can accelerate and scale the forest sector’s contribution to a resilient and inclusive future in line with the SDGs.”  

“Sustaining forests, investing in people, improving the planet, creating innovative products and delivering inspired performance stand at the core of our strategic framework,” highlighted Mark S. Sutton, Chairman and CEO of International Paper Company, and is convinced that “this Roadmap will lead to continued sustainable development in the forest sector and help realize our unique potential for positive impact.”  

The power of sectoral collaboration to drive scale  

The development process was supported by ERM using the framework of the SDG Sector Roadmap Guidelines. It builds on the experiences of the Chemical Sector SDG Roadmap and the Indian Cement Sector SDG Roadmap and will inform WBCSD’s efforts underway in partnership with IPIECA to develop an SDG Sector Roadmap for the oil and gas industry.  

Companies who have been involved in the work include Aditya Birla GroupCampbell GlobalCMPCHancock Natural Resource GroupInternational Paper CompanyMondi GroupNew ForestsSmurfit Kappa GroupStora EnsoSumitomo Forestry and The Navigator Company

In addition, more than a dozen stakeholders of the forest sector were consulted and provided input throughout its development to ensure the Roadmap is accurate and applicable. 

Rod Taylor, Global Director Forests at the World Resources Institute, said: “The Roadmap is a powerful articulation of the forest sector’s unique potential to deliver on multiple SDGs. It defines the key business leadership challenges for the forest sector worldwide.”  

For her part, Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact, concluded: “Partnerships are essential for achieving the SDGs. All businesses — including those in the forest sector — have a key role to play in mobilizing ambitious action to advance the Global Goals. The forest sector can make the biggest positive impact on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by taking a principles-based approach to their business.”  

Read original release here.

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