Södra and climate – a strongly positive relationship
2020 saw Södra gain a thorough knowledge of its climate effect. It required an examination which was unprecedented in its thoroughness and scope. The result was our Climate Report, and it forms the basis of our climate strategy going forward.
We already knew that growing trees absorb and store large amounts of carbon dioxide, which, in itself, has a positive effect on the climate. In fact, our 53,000 members’ forests stored 2.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018.
What we have now been able to account for, in addition, is the even greater positive impact when the “substitution effect” is taken into account. Put simply, this is the effect created when forest products are used instead of alternatives which have a more negative climate impact.
So when steel, cement, plastics and fossil energy are replaced with forest-derived alternatives, this has a positive effect on the climate which goes beyond the forest’s role of absorbing carbon dioxide and storing carbon (with oxygen production as a vital by-product).
Our latest figures show the annual substitution effect of the products we create from the forest as 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – which is a positive climate effect. If we add that to the carbon reservoir figure of 2.1 million tonnes and take away the negative emissions created in the value all the way to our customers (0.6 million tonnes), Södra’s total positive climate effect is 9.2 million tonnes.
But what does that actually mean? To put it in context, 9.2 million tonnes is one fifth of Sweden’s reported emissions from the use of fossil fuels, but it goes on the positive side of the balance sheet. This number emphasises the positive role of forest products in creating a sustainable future and being part of the climate solution.
Also important for us is that we have identified the emissions that we still need to reduce, in cooperation with our suppliers.
The forest is more than just a carbon reservoir. Södra is determined to let the forest work its hardest for the climate, too, in replacing fossil-derived materials in our everyday life.