In light of the European Commission’s expected announcement of which business ecosystems will be targeted by the European Recovery Plan and new Industrial Strategy for Europe, CEPF joined its partners in the forest-based sector, namely EUSTAFOR, FECOF, FTP, COPA-COCEGA, CEI-Bois, EPF, Cepi, Intergraf, EFIC and Bioenergy Europe in sending a proposal to EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton to include the European Forest-based Industries Ecosystem as one of the ecosystems eligible for support in the plan.
The sector counts more than 420,000 enterprises (20% of the total EU manufacturing sector), 3.5 million of direct employees (10% of the total workforce in manufacture) and generates an annual turnover of 520 billion euros, 3% of the EU GDP.
Like most of the EU industries, the sector has been severely hit by the shock caused by the Covid-19 health crisis: the decline in domestic and foreign demand, the interruption of the supply chains and logistic problems took their toll on forest-based industries, which expects on average 20% turnover loss in 2020; some parts of the ecosystem are more seriously hit than others. This presents immediate consequences for the European forest owners.
Nonetheless, the forest-based industries ecosystem is in a unique position to recover by moving forward, doing so in a way that is in line with the objectives of the EU Green Deal. Linked to most other ecosystems, it would also help other parts of the EU economy to bounce forward.
Piotr Borkowski, Executive Director of EUSTAFOR, explained the vital role of the European forest owners and managers within the Forest-based industries ecosystem: "We represent a well-managed, growing and still developing natural resource. We want to be a part of the EU recovery plan, thus, to ensure European forests are resilient and adapted to climate change, whilst supporting an economically viable forest economy. Funding would entail supporting sustainable forest management as a solution to the biological resilience and health of European forests and the manifold ecosystem services they offer.“
The sectors included in the Forest-based industries ecosystem have already produced a Vision 2050 for carbon neutral Europe and have a significant positive effect, in a conservative calculation equal to 20% of EU combined greenhouse gases, in preventing CO2 emissions when they substitute fossil-based fuels, materials and products.
The full press release can be found here.
Recently, CEPF has addressed the need for the European forestry sector to be a part of the future EU COVID-19 recovery plan in a joint statement.