SDG 13: Climate action

Forests are at the heart of the transition to low-carbon economies.

SDG 13: Climate action

Sustainable Development Goal

Climate change is affecting every country on every continent. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.

Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report states that the most cost-effective mitigation options for forestry are afforestation, sustainable forest management, and reducing deforestation.

Forests and SDG 13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Forests are at the heart of the transition to low-carbon economies. One the one hand, sustainable forest management can prevent deforestation, maintain and enhance carbon sinks, and can contribute towards greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. On the other hand, sustainable forest management, in addition to generating socio-economic benefits, provides fibre, timber, and biomass for wider use of wood products to displace more fossil fuel intense products.

Related SDG target (abbreviated)

13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

How PEFC contributes to SDG 13

PEFC’s requirements, in addition to promoting sustainable forest management in general, play a critical role in addressing the environmental impacts of droughts, floods, storms, and forest fires, all of which are expected to intensify as climate change progresses.

Specific requirements concerning the role of forests in climate regulation and carbon storage and sequestration, the prohibition of forest conversions, the protection of areas with high-carbon stock, and the promotion of climate positive practices in forest management, such as green­house gas emission reductions and efficient use of resources, all help maximize the role of forests in fighting climate change.

In addition, there is an important role for forests products in mitigating climate change due to their ability to store carbon. Our Chain of Custody standard encourages companies to source wood from responsibly managed forests.  

Importantly, the PEFC label allows everyone to contribute to tackling climate change and help solve the climate crisis simply by choosing forest-based products from sustainable sources over alternatives such as plastics, concrete, or steel.

Selected PEFC criteria (abbreviated) and standards

Sustainable Forest Management, PEFC ST 1003

8.1.2 The standard requires that the quantity and quality of the forest resources and the capacity of the forest to store and sequester carbon shall be safeguarded in the medium and long term by balancing harvesting and growth rates, using appropriate silvicultural measures and preferring techniques that minimise adverse impacts on forest resources. 

8.1.3 The standard requires that climate positive practices in management operations, such as green-house gas emission reductions and efficient use of resources shall be encouraged.

8.2.1 The standard requires that health and vitality of forest ecosystems shall be maintained or enhanced and degraded forest ecosystems shall be rehabilitated wherever and as far as economically feasible, by making best use of natural structures and processes and using preventive biological measures.

8.2.2 The standard requires that adequate genetic, species and structural diversity shall be encouraged or maintained to enhance the stability, vitality and resilience of the forests to adverse environmental factors and strengthen natural regulation mechanisms. 

8.2.4 The standard requires that appropriate forest management practices such as reforestation and afforestation with tree species and provenances that are suited to the site conditions.

9.1.2 The standard requires that health and vitality of forests shall be periodically monitored, especially key biotic and abiotic factors that potentially affect health and vitality of forest ecosystems, such as pests, diseases, overgrazing and overstocking, fire, and damage caused by climatic factors, air pollutants or by forest management perations.

Chain of Custody, PEFC ST 2002:2020

PEFC Trademarks Rules, PEFC ST 2001:2020

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