Sustainable wood offers pathway out of crisis towards green economy – Collaborative Partnership on Forests

19 July 2021

Officers scan lumber produced from inventoried trees as part of a tracking system developed in the Philippines under an ITTO project. Photo: Forest Management Bureau

Yokohama, 19 July 2021: The COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to turn the tide on deforestation and increase the sustainable production and consumption of timber and wood products, according to panelists at a virtual event convened by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) as part of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The CPF event, “The role of forests in time of crisis: sustainable production and consumption patterns to turn the tide on deforestation”, was convened on 6 July 2021 and attended by more than 100 people.

ITTO’s Director of Operations, Sheam Satkuru, presented on ITTO’s Legal and Sustainable Supply Chains Programme and spoke about the impacts of the pandemic on the tropical forest sector. She also canvassed other ongoing initiatives by ITTO—some in collaboration with CPF partners—on biodiversity conservation, forest restoration and international cooperation, such as the Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World initiative led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“The sustainable production and consumption of forest products will complement circular economy approaches, generate income, provide social-economic benefits while enhancing the value of forests,” said Ms Satkuru.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressure on tropical forests and affected the demand and supply of timber and forest products. Nevertheless, said Ms Satukuru, increasing the use of sustainable wood, especially in construction programmes in consumer markets was a way forward because it would generate revenue for sustainable forestry, provide employment and substitute for carbon-intensive materials in construction, such as steel and concrete.

“The urgency lies in sustaining the yield of forest goods and services while minimizing forest degradation and deforestation,” she said. “Developing countries require support now more than ever, especially for capacity building and technical assistance, in Building Back Better”.

The event also featured panelists from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, FAO, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Kokoo Pa Farmers Association (Ghana).

Panelists and participants made the point that the increased recognition of sustainability brought about by the pandemic provides an opportunity to change production and consumption patterns and promote a greener, healthier economy.

Watch the event recording

Visit the CPF web page on the event

Download ITTO’s presentation

Related SDGs

The sustainable production and consumption of timber and other forest products has the potential to complement circular economy approaches, generate income, provide social-economic benefits while enhancing the value of forests.