Global forest and timber industries are calling on politicians and policy makers in a new manifesto to urgently support the scaling up of wood use. The manifesto, ‘Growing our low-carbon future: Time for Timber’, sets out the case for how the world can make greater use of sustainable wood to transform our built environment, which is currently responsible for approximately 40% of global energy related CO₂ emissions.
“Achieving net zero CO₂ emissions by 2050 requires construction to rapidly decarbonise whilst still meeting the needs of a growing urban population, the increasing demand for new buildings, and the urgent requirement to renovate existing buildings,” Australian Forest Products Association CEO Ross Hampton said.
Mr Hampton is also chairman of the UN Advisory Committee of Sustainable Forest Based Industries and member of the global wood industry’s COP26 International Partners Advisory Body.
“Wood is the only sustainable structural material which can enable a substantial decarbonisation of the built environment based on existing business models and proven technology, providing vast carbon sinks in our rural areas and carbon stores in our cities,” he said.
Wood is a naturally renewable material which:
- Sequesters carbon in forests as trees grow.
- Stores carbon in harvested wood products.
- Substitutes for carbon intensive materials such as steel, concrete and plastics.
- Drives Sustainable Forest management leading to greater growth.
- Contributes to a Circular economy as wood products can be reused, recycled, and recovered for low-carbon energy at end-of-life.
The manifesto, which is available for download now, was launched overnight during the Royal Institute of British Architect’s Built Environment Summit to a global audience.
Speaking at the launch of Time for Timber, Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton Architects said that wood and wood-based materials offered solutions based on existing business models and proven technology.
“This is ‘carbon capture and storage’ in action now – with no further research or technological breakthroughs needed,” he said.
“Sequestration in the forest and storage in the wood is a win-win, as at the same time as we capture and store, we are also substituting for fossil fuel-based materials. And with multiple trees planted for every one which is harvested, it is sustainable.”