Strongly positive climate-change impact for Södra

According to a new report, Södra has a positive impact on global climate change, equivalent to 20 percent of Sweden’s combined emissions of CO₂ equivalents. The measurements are based on the growth rate of forests owned by Södra’s 52,000 members, and the effects of forest products when they are used to replace more emission-intensive products and energy.

“Our understanding of the climate benefits of forests is often limited to the large amounts of CO₂ absorbed by growing trees, but the effect of replacing products like steel, concrete, plastic and oil with renewable alternatives is equally important to mention,” said Lars Idermark, President and CEO of Södra.

In recent years, more and more researchers have become interested in how this substitution effect can be measured, and there are many uncertainties. To be on the safe side, we have used a model developed by Holmgren/Kolar for our measurements and maintained a cautious approach. Södra’s measurements have also been reviewed by external researchers. The results show that Södra has a positive climate-change impact of 9.2 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalents.

Although substitution effects are not included in formal emissions reporting, they are recognised for their ability to slow climate change.

“We have now made a contribution that shows how measurements are possible, even though the knowledge base is not yet complete. We need more research, but also greater awareness among both politicians and the general public that efforts to tackle climate change can be accelerated,” said Maria Baldin, Director of Communications and Sustainability at Södra.

The substitution factor varies for each type of material. The aspect measured is the amount of fossil-fuel CO₂ emissions that is replaced per unit of biogenic CO₂ in forest products. Biogenic CO₂ is part of a natural carbon cycle in which emissions are constantly reabsorbed by vegetation, while the combustion of fossil fuels increases net emissions in the atmosphere.

Using sawn timber for construction has the greatest effect, but replacing plastic food packaging with bio-based trays, or using biofuels instead of fossil fuels such as natural gas or oil, also has positive effects.

The report also accounts for Södra’s negative climate-change impacts, which are mainly derived from the production of input products such as process chemicals and packaging materials, and from the transportation of raw materials to mills, and of products to customers.

“The report is both confirmation that we are moving in the right direction with our sustainability efforts and an important document for our ongoing work with innovation, resource efficiency and fossil-fuel independence,” said Kristina Altner, Head of Södra’s Sustainability Department.

The lead author of Södra’s climate effect report is Peter Holmgren, who has worked at the UN and has many years of experience in forest management and land use from a climate perspective. The co-authors are Göran Örlander, forestry strategist and Eva Gustafsson, Sustainability Coordinator, both from Södra.

Find out more about Södra’s climate effect and read the full report here: https://www.sodra.com/climateeffect

For questions, please contact:
Södra’s Pressroom,
Tel: +46 (0)470 890 90
E-mail: press@sodra.com

Founded in 1938, Södra is Sweden’s largest forest-owner association, with 52,000 forest owners as its members. We conduct modern and responsible forestry, and operate state-of-the-art mills in which we process our raw material. In 2018, sales amounted to SEK 24 billion and employees totalled 3,100. Through value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, Södra shows the way for the next generation of forestry.

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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. Södra is also an international forest industry Group, with 3,400 employees around the world. Net sales in 2017 were 20.5 SEK billion. Balancing production efficiency with nature conservation guides everything that we do. We produce timber, interior wood products, pulp for paper and textiles, and green energy. We use every part of the tree, and are always looking to develop new products from this fantastic, renewable raw material. Södra is a world-leading producer of market pulp and also owns one of the largest sawmill operations in Europe. Through value-generating relationships and a long-term approach, Södra is leading the way for the future of sustainable forestry.

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