SEK 100 million contribution to research
The Board of Södra has decided to allocate SEK 100 million to research, of which half will be earmarked for the development of forest management methods and technologies.
“Society’s expectations of how this renewable raw material from the forest can help to combat climate change is clear. We are therefore investing to create opportunities for increasing forest production using low-impact methods in family forestry,” said Lars Idermark, President and CEO of Södra.
The special R&D programme will take place during the period 2019-2022. The initiative is in line with Södra’s sustainability target and is intended to create conditions for achieving a 20-percent higher annual rate of forest growth on Södra members’ estates by 2050 compared with 2015. The aim is consistent with the conservation of biodiversity, while maintaining both the natural functions and productive capacity of forest land.
“There is major potential for developing forestry in terms of both digitisation and tree breeding, as well as job creation,” said Lars Idermark, and adds that innovation rates and productivity enhancements have now slowed in historical terms.
The remaining SEK 50 million will go the Södra Research Foundation, whose mission is to promote research and development projects linked to forestry and forest industry operations in southern Sweden. With this new contribution, a total of SEK 300 million has been allocated to the Södra Research Foundation since it was founded in 1995. Funding of SEK 213 million has since been granted. The funding has led to progress in a wide range of areas related to the bio-based economy, including new opportunities for fossil-free products.
“The contribution reflects our long-term approach to the funding of forest industry research, which is paving the way for future forestry, sustainable production and new climate-smart products,” said Göran Örlander, Chairman of the Södra Research Foundation.
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Södra was founded in 1938 and is the largest forest-owner association in Sweden, with a membership of close to 52,000 forest owners. We engage in modern and responsible forestry, and operate state-of-the-art mills in which we process our raw material. Net sales in 2017 were 20.5 SEK billion and there were 3,400 employees. Through value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, Södra is leading the way for the future of sustainable forestry.