SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Building with wood makes cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Wood is the only renewable material on a large scale currently available.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Sustainable Development Goal

More than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will have risen to 6.5 billion people – two-thirds of all humanity. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.

Forests & SDG 11

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable

Building with wood makes cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Wood is the only renewable material on a large scale currently available. Used for centuries, it allows us to meet the housing needs for the growing number of urban dwellers with the lowest environmental footprint possible. While the production of concrete and steel emits large amounts of CO2, timber does the opposite: it stores carbon. 

When trees grow, they sequester carbon in their biomass, where it stays, even after a tree has been felled. Building with timber can therefore significantly reduce our carbon footprint. What’s more, using sustainable timber ensures forests remain intact and continue to act as a carbon sink.

Urban forests and trees also have positive impact on urban dwellers’ livelihoods and well-being. They contribute to the protection of cities’ local cultural and natural heritage by enhancing communities’ sense of place, providing settings for recreational and physical activities, increasing aesthetic appreciation of the surrounding environment, inspiring artistic expression, and fostering local tourism. 

Related SDG target (abbreviated)

11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries 

11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage

11.c Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials

How PEFC contributes to SDG 11

An increasing number of building projects are opting for PEFC-certified timber, and both public authorities and private companies are choosing to work with wood.

Using timber in construction is not to the detriment of forest health. PEFC certification gives assurance that the timber used originates from responsibly managed forests, with the material tracked through every stage of the process from the forest to the construction project.

In addition, PEFC also enables cities to certify urban trees and parks, making it possible for them to communicate to the people that city trees are managed sustainably, thereby raising awareness of the tremendous services that trees in cities provide to urban populations.

The potential that certified wood from sustainably managed forests offers in re-shaping how cities are being built cannot be underestimated.

Selected PEFC criteria (abbreviated) and standards

Sustainable Forest Management – Requirements (PEFC ST 1003:2018) 

  1. Appendix 2: Guidelines for the interpretation of requirements for Trees outside Forests (TOF)

Chain of Custody of Forest and Tree Based Products – Requirements (PEFC ST 2002:2020) 

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