"We expect the post-2020 EU Forest Strategy to have a truly holistic approach"

Björn Lyngfelt, Vice President at SCA - a global supplier of forest-based products and Europe's largest forest owner - expects the post-2020 EU Forest Strategy to cover the multifunctionality of forests and their crucial role in supplying raw material for the forest-based industry.

1. The EU is about to revise its Forest Strategy for the period after 2020. To what extent and how has the present Strategy, adopted in 2013, affected the European forest industry in general and SCA more specifically?

– The EU Forest Policy has been an important platform aiming for a holistic policy development and counteracting that forests and forest-based industries are affected by bits and pieces from different EU policies lacking coherence. Since SCA's forest holdings and most of SCA's procurement of wood raw material from other forest owners are found in Sweden, of course Swedish policies and regulations are the most influential. However, EU policy influence has clearly increased over time despite the fact that forests is not an area of competence for the European Union. We experience that forests and forest-based products are increasingly subject to EU policies and indirect effects from EU regulations in many areas, such as environment, climate, rural development et cetera. The Forest Strategy has been one way to put these effects into a context and to argue for a more holistic policy view on forests and the forest-based industry.

2. When you listen to the on-going debate about what the revised Strategy should encompass, what positive outcomes do you foresee?

– The EU Forest Strategy is becoming increasingly important as EU takes on policy areas such as restarting EU after the corona pandemic, climate and biodiversity. We expect the Forest Strategy to have a holistic approach and to acknowledge the multifunctionality of forests and their crucial role as in supplying raw material to the forest-based industry. The forest value chain – forests and industry based on forests – constitutes a strategic resource and asset for Europe in combatting climate change and building a sustainable and circular bioeconomy. That will not happen if forest and forest industry policies is made up of what's left when all other policies have taken their shares of the forest resource.

3. Do you foresee any negative outcomes? If so, which?

– I see a risk for a post-2020 Forest Strategy that does not focus on the forest value chain but on aspects that are dealt with in other policies and strategies. For a Forest Strategy to be effective, it must cover all the multifunctionality of the forest, including the forest-based industry. Otherwise it would be better to drop the idea of a European Forest Strategy and instead confirm that forests are a national area of competence and therefore not be subject to EU policies.

4. What does sustainable forest management mean to SCA? How do you work on a daily basis to assure that your forest management is sustainable?

– SCA is Europe's largest private forest owner, with holdings almost as large as Belgium. Our business idea is to create the highest possible value in and from the forest. We want to increase our forest resource and we want to increase the value from every tree. Our forests should be at least as rich in biodiversity, nature experiences and timber in the future as they are today. For more detail, please visit our website.

About SCA:

The core of SCA's business is the forest, Europe's largest private forest holding. Around this unique resource, SCA has built a well-developed value chain based on renewable raw material from their own and others' forests. SCA offers paper for packaging and print, pulp, wood products, renewable energy, services for forest owners and efficient transport solutions. 2019 SCA had approximately 4,000 employees and sales amounted to approximately SEK 19.6 bn. SCA was founded in 1929 and has its headquarters in Sundsvall, Sweden.

More information at www.sca.com