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What is the Vancouver Invitation on Sustainable Forest Products for a Better Future? 

The Vancouver Invitation is a bold and forward-looking statement of intent to harness the environmental, economic and social benefits of sustainable forest management. It was developed with Canada and with the supported input from UNECE countries. 

The Vancouver Invitation: 

In line with similar initiatives developed in the international context to promote the use of sustainable forest and wood-based products, the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry invites you to join us in recognizing and promoting the value of sustainably produced wood and wood-based products as environmentally friendly materials with which to build the future.

Through this effort, we wish to spread the word that traditional and innovative wood and wood-based products and applications, when coupled with sustainable forest management techniques, can provide substantial benefits to the world of the future, socially, economically, and environmentally. And we want to identify the actions we need to take to secure this future.

We assert that forests, and the forest product sector, have an essential role to play in the future of our planet. In order to serve this role, a commitment from all of us to both sustainable forest management and to continued innovation in the wood and wood-based products sector is critical.

Forests purify the air we breathe, clean the water we drink, store carbon, sustain biodiversity, beautify our communities, and support local economies. When sustainably managed, forests can supply these benefits and a wealth of products. By producing both commodity and innovative products, forests substantially improve our quality of life, including, wood for homes and tall buildings, books that promote learning, packaging, personal care products and textiles that provide comfort, the list continues to grow in often diverse and surprising ways.

The United Nation’s Agenda 2030 has identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to pursue over the coming decades in order to make the world a better place.  As one of the largest terrestrial habitats, forests and their sustainable management can have a positive impact on most, if not all of the SDGs.  Wood and wood-based products obtained from timber harvested in sustainably managed forests can also provide substantial benefits.  These range from reductions in atmospheric carbon from the substitution of renewable wood for more carbon intensive building materials (SDG 13—Climate Action), to the invigoration of rural economies and communities in forested areas (SDG 8—Decent Work and Economic Growth), to the provision of renewable energy (SDG 7—Affordable and Clean Energy) and to the overarching goal of equality (SDG 5—Gender Equality).

To further attain these goals, the wood and wood-based products sector will need to continue to pursue efficient and innovative processing techniques and products (SDG 9—Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and more fully incorporate socially and environmentally responsible practices using circular production chains (SDG 12—Responsible Consumption and Production).  Implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halting deforestation, restoring degraded forests and substantially increasing afforestation and reforestation globally (SDG 15 – Life on Land) provide the basis for renewable forest products. To the extent that these objectives can be realized, the wood and wood-based products sector can serve as a modern and quintessential example of humanity working with nature to produce benefits for society.

Reaching the SDGs will require specific efforts by the forest sector and forest-based industries and many other stakeholders; therefore, we invite the forest sector and forest based industries and other stakeholders to:

SDG 1 (No Poverty)

  • Promote livelihoods through active and sustainable forest management and use of wood-based forest products.

SDG 2 (Zero Hunger)

  • Promote sustainable food systems including nutrition by avoiding food waste through innovative wood-based packing solutions substituting carbon intensive packaging.
  • Foster agro-forestry systems, where appropriate, to provide both food and forest products while maintaining ecosystem services.

SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being)

  • Increase health and wellness of all ages through increased outdoor activity in the forest.
  • Create amenity forests in particular in the immediate vicinity of urban areas to foster recreation, wellbeing and treatment and recovery of patients.
  • Develop understanding of the value of wood buildings in providing affordable housing, and the impact wood buildings can have on health and well-being.

SDG 4 (Quality Education)

  • Communicate to the society at large, and younger generations in particular the importance of sustainable forest management and sustainable and innovative forest-based industries.
  • Increase the knowledge and awareness about the role of forest and wood products in carbon storage and substitution of non-renewable materials and fossil fuels.

SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation)

  • Educate new audiences about the importance of well-managed forests in improving the availability of clean water.

SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)

  • Promote forest-based biomass from sustainably managed forests as well as industrial wood residues as a source of renewable energy.
  • Create awareness on the advantages of renewable forest products as a substitute for more energy-intensive raw materials.

SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)

  • Undertake actions especially among youth to improve attractiveness of the sector to tackle widespread workforce aging and loss of skills.

SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure)

  • Pursue efficient and innovative processing techniques and products.
  • Recognize and promote the importance of construction standards that do not discriminate against wood materials.
  • Identify appropriate initiatives that can assist in attracting investment in forests, wood processing and manufacturing sectors.

SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)

  • Undertake actions to ensure a steady supply of sustainably sourced raw materials to the sector, balanced with social, economic and environmental considerations.
  • Support performance based public procurement policies for building materials.
  • Promote a level playing field for wood as a construction material regarding building regulations (e.g. fire safety, earthquakes, etc.) based on robust scientific knowledge.

SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production)

  • Incorporate socially, economically and environmentally responsible practices in all stages of the production chain.
  • Boost favourable conditions for innovation in wood and wood-based product development.
  • Promote the use of wood from sustainably managed sources including forest certification by the relevant stakeholders.
  • Acknowledge wood as an appropriate feedstock for the realization of a viable, low-energy circular economy, reflecting the already existing extended recycling cycles in many developed countries.

SDG 13 (Climate Action)

  • Promote the use of renewable wood products in order to reduce CO2 emissions and stabilize the level of atmospheric carbon by substituting non-renewable materials and fossil fuels.
  • Foster the implementation of policy measures to encourage use of wood as a building material to help tackle climate change through increased carbon storage.
  • Support the reduction of deforestation and increase afforestation and reforestation.
  • Promote bioenergy and wood-based carbon sequestration and storage.

SDG 15 (Life on Land)

  • Recognize the contribution of sustainable forest management in all of its important ecological, social, cultural and economic dimensions, including the sourcing of raw materials.
  • Contribute to and enhance sustainable forest management.
  • Respect land ownership and tenure rights and indigenous rights across landscapes and understand the long-term relationship indigenous peoples have had with many forested lands. 


Show your support and join the Vancouver Invitation here