SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Forestry positively influences the well-being of people that depend on forest operations in rural and remote areas by providing basic infrastructure and services.

SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Sustainable Development Goal

Investments in infrastructure are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries. It has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education outcomes require investment in infrastructure.

Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource efficiency, including those of natural resources such as forests and agriculture.

Forests and SDG 9:

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Infrastructure is not only gray and concrete, but also green. Natural systems such as forests contribute to clean, reliable water supply, protect against droughts and floods, and enhance agricultural productivity. 

In remote areas, forest operations provide much of the gray infrastructure and services, thereby positively influencing the socioeconomic development and well-being of people that depend on forest operations.

Companies in the forest sector provide access to small and medium sized enterprises to be integrated into global value chains and markets.  Furthermore, there is a wealth of technological advancements and innovation within the forest sector value chain that utilizes wood as a raw material.

There are also notable transformations in terms of innovation in the forest sector, with a range of new forest-based business is being developed alongside existing bioeconomy concepts with innovative sustainable development solutions, such as wood-based plastics or bottles.

Related SDG target (abbreviated)

8.3.2 Sound economic performance shall be pursued, taking into account possibilities for new markets and economic activities in connection with all relevant goods and services of forests.

9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

9.3 Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.

PEFC and SDG 9

PEFC certification protects and promotes the green infrastructure that forests provide us with.   Rehabilitating degraded forest ecosystem, as required by PEFC, can be cheaper than upgrading grey infrastructure such as conventional water treatment plants, while boosting water quality in the same way.

Trees outside Forests (TOF) has the potential to lead to re-forestation of degraded agricultural land slow and storing water runoff, thereby increasing agricultural production and income, replenishing groundwater and increasing the value of farms.

Grey infrastructure such as roads and bridges needed for forestry work must be built in such a manner that ensure efficient delivery of goods and services while minimising negative impacts on the environment.

Most important in this context however is PEFC’s group certification mechanism, available to both forest owners and companies along the value chain. It makes certification affordable to small-and medium size enterprises, thereby fostering their integration into global value chains and markets. 

Furthermore, for innovative forest products, education and marketing are needed to support the understanding and the image of wood with end-users. Certification such as PEFC is one of the most powerful tools to guide consumer choices.[1]

Selected PEFC criteria (abbreviated) and standards

8.3.5 The standard requires that adequate infrastructure such as roads, skid tracks or bridges shall be planned, established and maintained to ensure efficient delivery of goods and services while minimising negative impacts on the environment.

8.5.5 The standard requires that construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure shall be carried out in a manner that minimises bare soil exposure, avoids the introduction of soil into watercourses and preserves the natural level and function of water courses and river beds. Proper road drainage facilities shall be installed and maintained.

8.6.4 The standard requires that management shall promote the long-term health and well-being of communities within or adjacent to the forest management area, where appropriate supported by engagement with local communities and indigenous peoples.

8.6.6 The standard requires that management shall give due regard to the role of forestry in local economies. Special consideration shall be given to new opportunities for training and employment of local people, including indigenous peoples.

[1] https://www.unece.org/forests/wood-innovation2013.html

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