This World Environment Day is an opportunity to stop and recognise the excellent role that Australia’s forest industries play in fighting climate change and improving the overall environment, here in Australia and across the world, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton said today.

“This year’s World Environment Day theme is ‘taking action to beat air pollution’, an issue where Australia’s production trees play a significant role. Australia’s plantation estate alone, naturally stores 171 million tonnes of carbon,” Mr Hampton said.

“When Australians choose renewable fibre-based products, like sustainably sourced timber furniture and paper and cardboard alternatives to single-use plastics, they can be confident they’re not only supporting sustainable forest industries, but are also helping the environment. These products truly are ‘the ultimate renewable’.

“Last year AFPA launched the 18 by 2030 policy initiative, which signalled to the Federal Government, that with the right policy settings, Australia’s forest industries can be responsible for removing an additional 18 megatonnes of CO2 per year from the year 2030 onwards. 18 megatonnes is equivalent to removing the emissions produced by 3 million cars driving for a year.

“So, the path is there for forest industries to be able to do even more to reduce emissions.

“Fortunately, the Federal Government, through its National Forest Industries Plan announcement last year, committed to planting one billion new production trees over the next decade. We need an extra 400,000 hectares of new trees to meet future demand. We’re also keen to find out more about the Coalition’s $500 million low interest loan commitment, to make it easier for growers and farmers to plant more trees.

“Australia’s forest industries are a positive contributor to improving the overall environment. Their significant role is congratulated this World Environment Day,” Mr Hampton concluded.