Under EU legislation adopted in May 2018 that secures the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) into the 2030 climate and energy framework, EU Member States must ensure that in the period 2021-2030 greenhouse gas emissions from land use or forestry are offset by at least an equivalent removal of CO₂ from the atmosphere.
The Regulation implements the agreement between EU leaders from October 2014, which states that all sectors should contribute to the EU’s 2030 emission reduction target, including the land use sector.
EPF, together with industry partners, used the LULUCF process to drive home the message that it is not just forests that are carbon sinks, it is also products made from wood, including wood-based panels. These featured centrally in industry advocacy around LULUCF. Under the umbrella of the woodworking industries confederation, together with paper and forest owners, EPF called for greater use of harvested wood products (HWPs), and recognition of this in legislation.
Although it was not possible to secure a separate accounting pillar for them, harvested wood products, and in particular their carbon sink properties, are now recognised in the LULUCF text. HWPs allow a country to maintain their sink for a period of time even if they have cut the tree, with the argument that the carbon from the timber has not yet been released (unlike if you burn it or make it into timber). Wood-based panels are thus expected to receive a boost from LULUCF.