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FWPA announces research funding to support better than carbon neutral by 2050 for forest & wood products industry

Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) is committing funding to research which will inform an industry-wide decarbonisation plan to lead the sector to achieve a better than carbon neutral outcome by 2050. This pioneering initiative supports Australia’s carbon commitments via the creation of a comprehensive decarbonisation roadmap for the forest and wood products industry. 

A Sector-Wide Strategy for a Sustainable Future 

This approach incorporates carbon sequestration within commercial forest estates and includes recommendations for softwood and hardwood plantation forests, wood processing sites, managed native forests, and the paper and packaging manufacturing sector. 

  • The roadmap project, which has just commenced, will model industry emissions projections out to 2050. This work will establish baseline projections and identify the most effective avenues for carbon emissions reduction, capture, and storage. The roadmap project is the final element of an industry wide carbon plan endorsed jointly by the FWPA and Australia Forest Products Association (AFPA) Boards in August 2023, that establishes an industry wide strategy that will identify and outline methods to achieve significant carbon reduction targets.
  • Working with the AFPA Climate policy working group, the plan was designed to leverage FWPA’s established strengths that support industry collaboration in research, development and extension. FWPA and AFPA have been working with industry and researchers to develop emissions reduction methodologies, enhance carbon capture, storage, and productivity across plantations, and create strategies to quantify emissions savings from utilising timber-based solutions in commercial building projects. This will potentially allow the construction industry to acquire Australian Carbon Credit Units by using carbon-storing timber and will support paper and packaging use. 

The plan is underpinned by the ongoing research work led by the forest growers and Grower Research Advisory Committee (GRAC) to define source activities to increase overall plantation area, yield, and productivity as related to carbon sequestration by the commercial forest estate.  

Collaborative Efforts and Funding 

FWPA will spearhead this initiative, partnering with AFPA and Wood Beca to deliver this crucial roadmap. The project will be funded primarily through grower and processor contributions, with additional financial support from the paper and packaging sector. 

With such a diverse and expansive industry, Wood Beca will work with FWPA on the development of the plan with considerations for the complexities and challenges such nuance can create. The work will define objectives and set a direction for future scenario modelling which is critical to the success of the study and ensure the modelling represents the position of the industry as well as risks and opportunities to achieve better than net zero by 2050. 

A Comprehensive Plan for Carbon Capture and Storage 

FWPA CEO Andrew Leighton emphasises the importance of this roadmap: “This plan is a testament to our commitment to supporting the industry in capturing and storing more carbon. Through research-backed initiatives and strong industry consultation, we aim to lead the way in sustainable practices. 

Building a Robust and Circular Economy 

The forest and wood products industry is a pivotal player in the global economy and environmental sustainability. The decarbonisation plan will reinforce the industry’s role in contributing to climate goals while managing the resources necessary to build 1.2 million homes over the next five years. 

Chris Lafferty, RD&E Manager at FWPA, adds, “As facilitators of this plan, FWPA is laying the groundwork to future-proof our industry. We are identifying the best paths to manage our carbon-storing resources, mitigating risks, and creating opportunities for our member companies to contribute to a robust and circular Australian economy. 

Posted Date: May 13, 2024

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