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Sustainable Forestation Is Key to Fighting Climate Change – So Why Are We So Afraid of Cutting Down Trees?

LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND, November 16, 2020 / -- We all love wooden products. A wooden environment elicits a feeling of warmth, relaxation and security. Positive psychological effects of wood interiors in schools and workplaces have been proven. There is a growing demand for softwood fibres in the fashion industry; wood is the most environmentally-friendly raw material for construction; when it is responsibly sourced.

Regardless of our love for wood, a lot of people shy away from the idea of cutting down trees. For many years, the timber industry was poorly regulated and had a negative image. However, the recent UN Global Forest Resources Assessment (2020) showed that international forestry management initiatives and stricter local forestry harvesting regulations have contributed to reversing the deforestation trend. In fact, Europe and Asia have a positive net growth of forest area since 1990* This wouldn’t have been possible without changes in forestry management practices in the Russian Federation, the home of the world’s biggest forest area, representing 20% of the global forest. Russian Federation wood harvesting practices have had a lot of negative publicity. And for a good reason. Are they still all that bad? Vitaly Pisarev, a native of Irkutsk, Siberia, who has 20 years of experience in the wood trade, shared his insider view on the sustainability of wood supply in Russia. Mr Pisarev is CEO and Founder of 100M3, a Swiss-based timber supply chain software company.

He said: “ The United Nations acknowledges that the greater integration of sustainably-managed raw wood materials in industries such as fashion or construction is a part of the solution to climate change. And this solution has to include Russia. Since the beginning of the 90s, the Russian forestry industry has changed a lot to comply with European standards of forest management. Things are not perfect, but noticeable positive changes are there.”

Major changes to the Russian forestry industry in the past 30 years.

First of all, a system of long-term leasing of forest areas was created. Tenants, as owners of the forest, are responsible for everything from harvest compliance to regulations, forest regeneration and protection from fires. Illegal logging is happening primarily on the areas without tenants.

By the Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation of 13 September 2012 N 923, timber has been introduced to the list of strategically-important goods and resources. Violations such as illegal logging are a criminal offence punishable by 2 to 12 years in prison.

Since 2013 every wood transaction has to be registered at a Unified State Registration System.

There has been a growth in demand for planting services, demonstrating confidence in the growing trend to regenerate forest areas.

Russia is the biggest supplier of softwood globally with the majority of exports going to China and Europe**. A WWF report stated that “Russia should be involved by both China and EU in the effort to cut the flow of illegal timber”*** 

Vitaly Pisarev believes that the digitalization of the timber trade could be part of the solution. It would provide real-time data across all aspects of the trade, including compliance. Mr Pisarev’s team has developed and is currently testing the beta version of his cloud-based software for timber trade management with his current customers, sawmills based in Siberia. Only legal long-term tenants of forest areas can be registered with the system, and they have to provide all the required documentation for each transaction. Mr Pisarev said: “I believe that the Russian timber industry could be part of the solution to climate change, with the transparency provided through digitalization”.

About 100m3, AG
100m3 AG is a Swiss-based timber trade software startup located in Lucerne, Switzerland. 100m3 is a software specially designed to solve the most important tasks of timber trade supply chain management faced by producers and buyers such as fast reporting, quality assurance and regulations compliance, demand forecasting and production planning, costs optimization and customer satisfaction.

* UN Global Forest Resources Assessment of 2020.
** Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update - a news brief from Wood Resources International LLC, Q3/2019.
*** WWF-UK, 2016 China as a Timber Consumer and Processing Country: An Analysis of China’s Import and Export Statistics with in-depth Focus on Trade with the EU.

Vitaly Pisarev
100m3, AG
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