As awareness about climate change, ocean pollution and the need to turn towards a bio-economy rise, sustainability is becoming mainstream. But still there is a lot of work to be done and the wood industry has a key role to play in helping society understand the benefits of wood, sustainable plantations, and managed forests in the construction of a greener society.
Wood is a traditional element, used by humankind since ancient times to produce energy, build furniture or houses. However, over the last two centuries, since the Industrial Revolution and specially throughout the second half of the 20th Century, it has been gradually substituted by non-renewable resources such as carbon, oil, concrete or plastic, just to mention a few. But this is not a sustainable path, and what is really compromised is not the Earth but us.
ProPopulus President, Pedro Garnica, is convinced that the wood-industry’s role is key in raising awareness about the benefits of wood as a source of raw, renewable material for varied uses: “We, as an industry, have an essential part to play not just by providing solutions to substitute non-renewable products such as plastic bags that can be replaced by paper bags, for example; but also in spreading the news about the goodness of increasing managed forests and plantations as a source of income for local economies and as green filters with CO2 storage capacity, just to mention some of the benefits of turning to wood as a renewable source”. Carbon is another example he cites since biomass from sustainable managed forests and plantations is a cleaner and renewable source of energy.
The list of unsustainable products replaceable by wood-based goods is long. In this context, Mr. Garnica points out what an opportunity window this is for the building sector, for example, to become greener and more sustainable. How? By adopting wood and wood-based products in their projects instead of other more polluting materials such as steel and concrete. “We can replace many of these products with wood products, to a large extent, and we believe designers and architects are taking note that this is the path to take and that they are willing to do it”, he says.
Investing in the research and development of innovative solutions such as the super-wood created by Chinese scientists is another way to help nature, as well as promoting the creation of common forestry policies in the EU. “As an industry”, Mr. Garnica concludes, “we have a long way ahead of us to achieve the goal of recovering Nature’s health by guaranteeing the production of extra renewable resources in the future and reduce society’s dependence on fossil resources that have a negative impact on the environment”.