The American Forest & Paper Association released its 2020 Sustainability Report, highlighting the paper and wood products industry’s sustainability efforts, including members’ progress toward achieving the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals. 2020 AF&PA Sustainability Report accomplishments (based on 2018 calendar year performance, except where noted) include: • AF&PA member companies achieved a 38.4 percent improvement in the safety incidence rate from the 2006 baseline, surpassing the 25 percent goal. • AF&PA members adhere to sustainable fiber procurement principles, which assure that wood is sourced from suppliers who are committed to sustainable management and harvesting practices. • AF&PA members’ purchased energy use per ton of product was 13.3 percent lower than the baseline year, surpassing the goal to improve energy efficiency by 10 percent. • Members surpassed their goal, reducing GHG emissions – measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) per ton of product – by 23.2 percent from the 2005 baseline.
Australian scientists have analysed 20 years of satellite data and found that the world’s trees and plants now store four billion more tonnes of carbon than they did in 2003.
The report found despite vast amounts of deforestation, making way for agricultural land, the earth is still getting greener. There are a combination of factors contributing to this growth, such as China’s huge planting programme; increased rainfall in Australia, Africa and South America; forest growth in large areas of abandoned former soviet farming lands and increased carbon in the atmosphere improving growing conditions for plants.
Although they may be new forests growing around the world, it does not make the abundance of forest clearances in the Amazon and South East Asia any less damaging. The new plant cover may be storing more of the earth’s carbon, but it does not have the diverse species or quality which the ancient forests have nurtured for millennia.
The report found new forest growth is only half of forest loss.