Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. The forest and its products are an important part of the solution.

As trees grow, they bind carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is the most important factor affecting the Earth's climate. To grow by just a cubic meter of stem wood, the trees of the forest bind 1.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Trees are highly efficient carbon traps.

When a tree dies, the wood and other biomass decomposes and the carbon dioxide returns to the atmosphere.

In old-growth forests, growth and decomposition are in balance. Over time, an equal amount of carbon dioxide is released by dying and decomposing trees as is captured by trees that are still growing.

SCA's forests bind carbon equivalent to 8% of Sweden's carbon dioxide emissions

SCA manages its forests to grow in the best possible way. Forests that are harvested are replaced with newly planted forests with good growth. We plan harvesting so that there will be at least as much forest in the future as there is today.

We have a great deal of detailed knowledge about our forests. Since 1949, all SCA-owned forests have been inventoried every seven to eight years. These inventories measure a broad range of factors that are important for managing forests. We measure the volume of living trees, how much they're growing, the allocation of various tree species and much more.

With all this information as a basis, we then draw up plans for managing the forests. Since a tree on our lands can grow anywhere from 100 to 120 years before it is mature enough for harvesting, these plans stretch over more than a century into the future. The results are detailed plans in which we determine how much we can harvest over the next ten years while we ensure that the forest's development over more than a hundred years afterwards is good. We manage the forests so that we will never need to decrease harvesting in future.

By planning forestry in this way, the volume of growing trees in our forests has increased 50% since 1950. At the same time, long-term growth — and thereby sustainable harvesting levels — have more than doubled.
At present, annual growth in SCA's forests is 9.5 million cubic meters. 1.3 million cubic meters is lost every year through trees dying of natural causes, for example being felled by storms. We harvest a total of 5.2 million cubic meters annually. What remains in the forests is net growth of 3.0 million cubic meters.

At the end of a year, there are thus three million cubic meters more of living, growing trees than there were at the beginning of the year. This means that we have bound four million tonnes of carbon dioxide, net, in our forests. This is roughly equal to all emissions from working machinery in Sweden over a year, or approximately half of all emissions from agriculture in Sweden.

Sweden's total carbon emissions amount to fifty million tonnes, so capturing and binding four million tonnes entails a substantial decrease of Sweden's carbon footprint.

Climate facts in figures

Forest holdings 2.6 million hectares
Productive forest land 2.0 million hectares
Forest land exceptions from forestry operation in favor of biodiversity 8 per cent
Percentage of trees dying in a natural process
1 of 5
Amount of carbon dioxide of one cubic meter of growing stem 1.3 tonnes
Volume growth of growing trees in SCA's forests since 1950 50 %
Annual harvest volume SCA's own forests 5.2 million m3
Net growths 3 million m3
The amount of carbon dioxide that SCA's forests bind annually 4 million tonnes
Sweden's total carbon dioxide emissions annually 50 million tonnes
SCAs samlade utsläpp av koldioxid från fossila bränslen 500 000 tonnes
SCA's total production of biofuels 9 TWh
SCA's use of biofuels in own plants 8 TWh
Wood pellet production 1 TWh