Online Event: Using sustainably-sourced renewable materials to reach the EU Green Deal ambitions: How can we get it right?
Tuesday 16 November 2021, 10:00 – 11:30 CET
Hosted by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri
Co-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development’
Over the past months, the European Green Deal’s objective of making Europe the first climate neutral economy by 2050 has brought nature-based solutions into the spotlight. Every day, new scientific data demonstrate that ecosystems such as forests are part of the solution to address both, the biodiversity and climate crisis.
Plant-based materials are key in the EU’s transition to a sustainable climate-neutral economy. They offer significant advantages due to their carbon storage effect and capacity to substitute fossil-based materials. For example, IUCN indicates that one-third of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels globally, is absorbed by forests every year. Along these lines, President of the European Commission Ms. Ursula von der Leyen stated during the 2021 One Planet Summit that “when we lose forests, we don’t ‘just’ lose green space or natural habitat. We lose a key ally in our fight against climate change.”
Forests offer a variety of equally important products and services and billions of people rely on them for their livelihood. Yet, their multifunctional role remains the subject of discussions. The reason for these divergences is clear; while protecting forests against increasing pressures, such as climate change and deforestation, and working to restore ecosystems, we must reply to a growing demand for plant-based materials. To reconcile these competing demands on our ecosystems including forests, the answer lies in optimising the use of plant-based materials in line with the cascading principle and circular economy approach. To ensure that wood and other plant-based materials are being produced in a way that mitigate the impact on local ecosystems and communities, it is important to rely on enhancing due diligence and independent certification schemes for sustainable management.
In many ways, the use of sustainably-sourced renewable and recyclable materials would be the preferred option to irrigate a circular and regenerative bioeconomy, that is protective of the climate and respectful of resources. As a result, this upcoming event of the European Parliament Intergroup on ‘Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development’ aims at providing a high-level policy roundtable, to build a scientific understanding and discuss options to improve sourcing methods of plant-based materials, and find solutions that work for all dimensions of forests’ multifunctional role.