Today, at an event organized under the auspices of the Austrian EU-presidency, the FTP Vision 2040 of the European Forest-based Sector was launched. The venue, the prestigious Marmorsaal within the premises of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism in Vienna, was packed with representatives from some 20 European countries.
The conference, titled “Vision 2040: The future role of the forest bioeconomy in Europe,” aimed to show how the forest-based sector is a leading actor in and enabler of the circular bioeconomy. Representatives of the European Commission, national public authorities, as well as researchers, business representatives and forest owners took part in panel debates and inspiring talks. These exchanges were part of a push to help move from aspiration to action, to get to the real facts and figures.
In her opening message to the conference, Elisabeth Köstinger, Austrian Federal Minister for Sustainability and Tourism congratulated the stakeholders of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform on the successful launch of a new Vision for 2040: “I am pleased that you have selected Vienna as the venue for the FTP conference. The forest-based sector is one of the largest industrial sectors in Europe. It is very important for Austria.” Ms. Köstinger continued, “The Vision, which includes ten Vision Targets for 2040, is very ambitious. It will require policymakers, Member States’ administrations and the stakeholders of the forest-based sector to work together to make the Vision a reality. This job starts today."
“The European forest-based sector has a major role to play in the bioeconomy. The sustainable management of forests, and the provision of wood, for various uses in implementing the bioeconomy, plays a crucial role for the future development of our society. In this context, future EU research policies will be decisive for a successful bioeconomy development,” offered Peter Mayer, Managing Director of the Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW) and co-Chair of the FTP National Support Group in Austria.
“Last year was a record year for European funding, to boost research and innovation in the forest-based sector. The positive trend demonstrates confidence that forest owners and industry can deliver sustainable bioproducts and technologies, that will enable the EU to make true on its commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” explained Johan Elvnert, FTP Managing Director.
“We can provide solutions to the global challenges like no other sector. This is why a European Vision, based on the efforts of the whole forest-based sector is so important. FTP Vision 2040 is fully aligned with Södra’s vision for the future” said Lena Ek, Chair of the FTP Board and President of Södra, Sweden’s largest forest-owner association.
“The FTP Vision 2040 presents the sector’s long-term common goals, while the technical, societal and business challenges ahead will be described in the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda. We encourage policy makers and stakeholders of the forest-based sector to work together to achieve the FTP Vision 2040,” said Leo Arpa, co-Chair of the FTP National Support Group in Austria and Head of R&D at Mondi Group.
Vision 2040 helps facilitate these interactions within the sector, as it clearly sets out common long-term goals. The new Vision outlines ten Vision Targets, which anticipate that the sector will contribute significantly to the mitigation of climate change and to a more sustainable economy over the coming years.
A new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, to be launched in 2019, will provide the roadmap that will enable the forest-based sector to achieve its Vision 2040, in cooperation with public authorities and the European Community. The sector is already looking forward to the future, with a great deal of enthusiasm.