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Forestry and Forest Products Sector Releases Global Sustainability Progress Report

ICFPA CONTACT: Kerry Patterson-Baker

613-563-1441 ext. 314,

AF&PA CONTACT: Tim Ebner  

(202) 463-2587,

April 29, 2021 — Today, the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) released its biennial Sustainability Progress Report which demonstrates progress in seven key areas of sustainability. The 2021 report also highlights the forest products sector’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICFPA serves as a forum of global dialogue, coordination and co-operation. Currently, the ICFPA represents 18 pulp, paper, wood and fibre-based associations that encompass 28 countries, including many of the top pulp, paper and wood producers around the world.

The 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report shows progress on nearly all of the sector’s performance indicators, using the most recent data available (2018-2019).

“In the face of the biggest health and economic crisis of our lifetimes, we are reminded that the global forestry sector has the potential to address some of our most urgent social, environmental, and economic challenges,” noted ICFPA President Derek Nighbor. Nighbor is president and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada. “Forestry workers and forest products are in the unique position to drive our move to a lower-carbon world through sustainable forest management, advancing the forest bioeconomy, and recovering more paper and paper-based packaging for recycling."  

Key progress on ICFPA’s sustainability performance indicators include:

  • In 2019, 52.6 percent of procured wood fibre came from third-party certified sustainably-managed forests, a 41 percentage point increase from the 2000 baseline year.  
  • Greenhouse gas emission intensity decreased 21 percent from the 2004/2005 baseline year.  
  • The energy share of biomass and other renewable fuels increased to 64.9 percent, a 12 percentage point increase since 2004/2005.  
  • Sulphur dioxide emission intensity from on-site combustion sources decreased 77 percent from the 2004/2005 baseline year and 38 percent from the previous report.  
  • Water use intensity decreased 12.5 percent from the baseline year.  
  • Investment in health and safety interventions yielded a 30 percent reduction in the global recordable incident rate from the 2006/2007 baseline with the number of recordable incidents falling to 2.88 per 100 employees annually.  
  • In 2019, 59.1 percent of paper and paperboard consumed globally was used by mills to make new products, marking a 12.6 percentage point increase in the global recycling rate since the year 2000.   

“The global forest products industry produces enormous environmental, social, and economic benefits for the world and its citizens. This report reflects meaningful progress that the industry is making to produce sustainable products that meet essential needs,” said Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association and a member of the ICFPA Steering Committee.

The 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report also includes the 2021 International Finalists for the prestigious ICFPA Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. The theme for the 2020-2021 Blue Sky Awards was “Boosting the Forest Bioeconomy: Nature-Based Solutions Toward a Lower Carbon Economy.

To download the 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report, please visit ICFPA 2020-2021 Sustainability Progress Report

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recycle resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative—Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $60 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.