It’s a no brainer to use more sustainably sourced wood
3 May 2022 PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue
“I believe the future is wood,” says Clodagh O'Reilly, a speaker at the 2022 PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue, taking place on 12 May in Dublin.
“The forestry sector needs to stand together and promote the use of sustainably sourced wood.”
Clodagh is the Sales and Supply Chain Director at the forestry business Coillte Forest.
She has been working with Coillte for the past 14 years in a variety of finance and operational management roles.
Ahead of the Stakeholder Dialogue, we spoke to her about the enormous potential of sustainable forest management for a low carbon economy, and the role of forest certification in the forestry sector.
What sparked your interest in forests and forest products? Why did you choose a career in this sector?
My background is actually in finance, I am an accountant and joined Coillte in its Group Finance function. I have stayed with Coillte for so long because the company vision and values resonate with me. I feel that regardless of role, you are contributing to making an impact far beyond the reach of the company.
How can forestry contribute to a low carbon economy?
Forestry is so well placed to contribute to a low carbon economy. Carbon is stored in trees as they grow and also in long-life wood products so it’s a no brainer to use more sustainably sourced wood!
What drives you to stand up for sustainable forest management?
Forestry delivers multiple benefits to society. Forests can deliver for climate, for nature, for people and for wood. Underpinning all of those is sustainable forest management.
Is the sector facing any issues related to sustainability? How could they be solved?
Our sector has been dealing with significant regulatory upheaval which has both immediate and long-term consequences.
For the past two years, a licencing crisis has consumed the industry which along with the immediate financial and operational impacts will also impact future interest in planting forests.
It has simply become too difficult and costly to navigate the forestry regulatory system. I think this is unfortunate at a time when forestry holds the key to addressing many of the challenges we face as a society.
How can the forestry sector become ready for the future?
I believe the future is wood and the forestry sector needs to stand together and promote the use of sustainably sourced wood. We need to build more homes with wood and develop innovative long-life products.
We need to celebrate the contribution that forestry makes to nature and local communities. Government policy needs to support this and recognise that forestry can help address a lot of the challenges facing our society.
How do you see the role of forest certification? Can PEFC make a difference?
Forest certification is critical to our industry. It demonstrates that we operate in a sustainable manner and manage our forests well. It gives us the credibility to speak with confidence about how our forestry practices are best in class. PEFC can make a real difference by supporting all that is good about sustainably managed forests.
What do you find particularly noteworthy about PEFC?
PEFC is held in very high regard and PEFC certification lends considerable weight to our sector.
The 2022 PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue takes place on 12 May, 9:00 – 17:00. Sustainability experts from different sectors will discuss the road to net zero and the potential of wood in mitigating climate change. Watch the event live on LinkedIn: treee.es/SDlive