FWPA and thinkstep-anz to publish reports on carbon economy

Greenhouse gas emissions, commonly referred to as carbon emissions, are becoming an increasing consideration in forestry and plantation management, wood processing and construction. While the statement “wood stores carbon” is accurate, other elements of the relationship between forestry and carbon are more complicated, meaning a deeper understanding by and clearer communications with the market and policy makers are needed.

To address this need, business sustainability consultant thinkstep-anz, in close collaboration with FWPA, will publish a series of three reports on the carbon economy as it relates to the forest and wood products industry. Together these reports will establish a shared understanding of carbon concepts, identify what work still needs to be done and can be used to further advocate for the use of wood products in industry and policy settings.

The first report will be a primer and glossary for FWPA members. It will detail the carbon cycle of forestry and wood products, and how carbon interacts with the whole process from plantations to operations to end products. The primer will also discuss how to determine the carbon footprint of the forestry industry, as well as carbon accounting in building assessment.

The glossary details key carbon terms – for instance, embodied carbon, which refers to how greenhouse gas emissions are produced in the processes of extracting, manufacturing, transporting and maintaining a product – and how these terms are used in the market.

The report aims to equip FWPA members with the information required to help enhance the market’s understanding of the benefits of timber and advocate for better standards to measure greenhouse gas emissions.

“Ultimately, the purpose of the primer and glossary is to create awareness among FWPA members around the relationship between carbon and forestry and wood products,” said Nicole Sullivan, Head of Strategy and Impact at thinkstep-anz.


“The resource will be an accessible entry point for members looking to develop a clear understanding of this complex and rapidly evolving topic.”

The second report acts as a resource for building and design professionals. It explores embodied carbon in buildings and wood products, including how wood can be incorporated for best practice design.

This report will also touch upon building industry specifics such as lifecycle assessments and environmental product declarations (EPDs) and understanding certifications for green buildings and infrastructure, including case studies. There will also be a particular focus on the benefits of timber for the construction industry.

Overall, this resource  looks at how to use forest and wood products in the built environment and would ideally be used in support of market development.

The third report addresses the future of carbon in Australia. It will take a holistic look at Australia’s plantation management and use of wood products, and how this can contribute to Australia’s carbon balance.

This report will discuss wood and the bio-economy, as well as carbon in Australian native forests and plantations. It touches on a broad range of topics including production of wood products, emissions and residues, how to model carbon in wood products, and the net effect on Australia’s carbon balance. This report also includes a series of recommendations targeted at policy makers that could be used to inform decisions.

The third report will be a follow up to the ‘Forests, Wood and Australia’s Carbon Balance’ report published in 2006 by Fabiano Ximenes. Ximenes works as a research scientist at the NSW Department of Primary Industries and is one of the leading experts on forestry and carbon management in Australia. Ximenes has partnered with the project leaders to support the development of these new documents.

“These are great resources for the forest and wood products industry, particularly when communicating to the building market about where so many wood products go, but also as an advocacy tool to help create opportunities for industry,” said Sullivan.

The three reports are set to be published in mid-2022, so keep an eye out for more details in upcoming editions of ForWood.