How the Wooden Furniture you Design, Make and Sell stores Carbon and Combats Climate Change.
7 September 2022 Webinar
Furniture designers, manufacturers and retailers play an essential part in the fight against climate change by sourcing wood from sustainably managed forests, which helps increase forests' capacity to store CO2. The stored carbon will then remain in wooden furniture products throughout their lifetimes.
So, how does it work? Do non-certified forests store CO2 the same way as certified forests? How is carbon stored in wooden furniture, and how much is stored?
This is what we discussed in our “How the Wooden Furniture you Design, Make and Sell stores Carbon and Combats Climate Change” webinar on 7 September.
Our CEO Michael Berger drew on his wealth of experience in environmental and quality management, sustainable supply chain management, and management systems, and over a decade with PEFC, to detail the vital role that PEFC can play in alleviating climate change.
Next, Francesco Negro, an academic and researcher based at the University of Torino, broke down the process of carbon storage in wooden furniture, how to calculate the amount that is stored, and how furniture companies can use this information.
The webinar was moderated by our Head of Communications, Thorsten Arndt.
The climate change emergency
Climate change affects us all, in every country and region of the world. In the first half of 2022 alone, we have witnessed record-breaking heat waves across Europe, India, Pakistan and East Asia, freak hail storms in Mexico, devastating floods in Australia, and powerful winter storms across North America to name a few extreme weather events. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature will likely surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century, well past the irreversible tipping point of 1.5 degrees recognized by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ICPP). Climate change is and will continue to affect us all, but it is the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet who will bear the brunt of the costs.
But there is still hope. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Forests are at the heart of human society’s action to combat climate change and its impacts and meeting our global collective climate goals are impossible without them. As carbon sinks, trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store carbon in wood, removing significant volumes of CO2. Forests are estimated to remove over 7 billion metric tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere per year. Even when the wood is harvested from trees in forests, that wood continues to store carbon until the wood is burnt or decays. That means that the wooden furniture that you’re now using in your homes and offices is currently storing carbon and will continue to do so throughout its lifetime.
To ensure that forests reach their full potential as a climate change solution, they must be managed sustainably. The sustainable management of forests secures their ability to absorb and remove CO2 from the atmosphere and improves their potential to store it as carbon in their biomass. Forest management also strengthens the capacity of people and communities living in and around forests to adapt to the worst effects of climate change.
The role of PEFC in combating climate change
PEFC certification requirements help maximize the role of forests in fighting climate change, and the benefits forests provide for climate regulation and carbon storage. When a forester, furniture manufacturer, designer, retailer or association chooses to obtain PEFC sustainable forest management or chain of custody certification, they are choosing to ensure that wood and non-wood forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Harvesting rates are balanced so that forests are given the chance to regenerate naturally, and the wooden furniture that certified wood is made from will continue to store carbon for decades.
In this webinar, we will demonstrate how furniture industry stakeholders–from the small forest owner all the way through the supply chain–can play a part in helping to combat climate change through sustainable forest management. We will look at actionable examples of how sustainably sourced wooden furniture is already helping to mitigate climate change–in certified forests, furniture manufacturing plants and in our homes–and we will walk through a method of calculating the carbon sequestration within wooden furniture.
Products made of wood can only be a climate change solution if they originate from sustainably managed forests. But how can we know that the wood in a product comes from a certified, sustainably managed forest? At PEFC, we believe that the most meaningful, constructive way that we can contribute to the fight against climate change is through the dual mechanisms of PEFC sustainable forest management and chain of custody certification. If you’re wondering how you can play your part to combat climate change and you want to join us on that mission, this is a webinar you won’t want to miss.