“Make Europe the first fossil-free continent“

Viveka Beckeman, SFIF, highlights the forest sector's potential

Photo: Björn Leijon

Unlocking the potential of the European forest sector would strengthen EU resilience and competitiveness through green wealth creation, thereby also helping to achieve the bloc’s ambitious climate and environmental goals and defend its democratic values, that’s the message from the Swedish Forest Industries Federation (SFIF) Director General, Viveka Beckeman.

“We source in Europe, we have production in Europe, we sell on the Single Market, and we create jobs in Europe – what’s more, we can also contribute to making Europe the first fossil-free continent,” says Beckeman.

Increasing geopolitical uncertainty in the past two years has served as a stark reminder that Europe must reduce its dependency on undemocratic countries. Failure to do so could ultimately undermine Europe’s democratic values. Europe needs to be more resilient and self-sufficient; and enabled to fulfil their potential, the bloc’s forest industries have a key role to play in achieving that objective.

Want to build green growth

“Continuing to be a fossil economy is not an option. We want to build green growth – a future based on green wealth. Neither do we want to shrink the economy. We need to strike a balance between the two,” Beckeman says.

“Europe has a competitive edge in sustainable production, in part due to forest industries. If we want  to achieve our climate, environmental and economic goals, it is vital that Europe does not lose that advantage,” argues Beckeman.

Greater use of wood and wood products also aligns with the current Commission’s Bauhaus Initiative, a programme that seeks to promote sustainable housing and increase the number of buildings made from wood.

As a new EU Commission takes shape next year, SFIF looks forward to constructive discussions with the Commission that it hopes will result in policies that will see the green transition become a reality.

“We hope that the new Commission will continue to set ambitious climate and environmental targets. At the same time, we hope that there will be more of a balance between these targets and economy so that we can build green wealth.

“We want to be part of the discussion at an early stage, and we want to contribute to finding the best way forward to a greener, wealthier future for all,” says Beckeman.