ITTO Executive Director moderates seminar at G7 meeting in Miyazaki


ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru (left) moderates the seminar, “Toward Net Zero and Circular Economy with Sustainable Wood Use”. Photo: K. Ishii/ITTO
ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru moderated the seminar, “Toward Net Zero and Circular Economy with Sustainable Wood Use", held on 21 April 2023 during the G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in Miyazaki, Japan.

The seminar explored the use of legally and sustainably harvested timber and wood products in G7 countries and elsewhere and the important role of sustainable forest management and wood use for achieving net-zero carbon emissions and a circular economy.  

Speakers at the seminar said sustainable managed forests absorb carbon dioxide and store it during their growth, and the use of legal and sustainably harvested wood in long-life products such as buildings locks up the carbon it contains. Speakers also noted that wood requires less energy for manufacturing and processing than materials such as steel and concrete, thus reducing emissions. Wood, therefore, is an effective, climate-friendly substitute material.

The seminar discussed expectations for carbon dioxide emission reductions from wooden buildings as a contribution to a circular economy. Tsunoda Hideo, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan, made opening remarks, and Alan Organschi, senior faculty member at the Yale School of Architecture, principal and partner at Gray Organschi Architecture, and director of the Innovation Lab at Bauhaus Earth, delivered the keynote address. 

The panel discussion that followed featured Jagrup Brar, Minister of State for Trade, Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, British Columbia, Canada; Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Nakashizuka Tohru, Director-General of Japan’s Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute; and Tan Ting Wai, Acting Chief Operations Officer cum Director of International Business Development Division, Malaysian Timber Council.

In summing up, Ms Satkuru noted the urgent need for raising public awareness and increased investment in sustainable wood use and sustainable forest management. It is also important, she said, to change perceptions towards an understanding that harvesting wood from legal and sustainable sources is not deforestation.

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