Sustainable Wood for Cities
A first-of-its-kind guide for city projects and policies on sourcing wood to benefit climate, environment, and society
Sustainable Wood for Cities simplifies wood sourcing for city officials and helps them compare the impacts of different sourcing strategies. Based on project goals and constraints, the interactive framework takes users through a step-by-step process to guide wood choices towards the most sustainable option. This is facilitated via eight sustainability Pathways that can be explored and combined into a project Strategy to maximize synergies and benefits. An interactive matrix allows for easy comparison of different strategies, and also simplifies the engagement of diverse decision-makers in the process.
Wood is growing in popularity—increasingly seen as a climate-friendly replacement for carbon-intensive materials like concrete, steel and aluminum for large urban buildings and smaller-scale infrastructure. Trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere, which remains stored in wood for as long as the material remains intact. Using sustainable, responsibly sourced wood can help to conserve forests, potentially producing massive climate and biodiversity benefits.
However, wood production can also drive deforestation and emit carbon if it is produced unsustainably, used wastefully, disposed of improperly, or causes forest degradation or permanent deforestation of carbon and biodiversity-rich forests. For wood to be considered “sustainable” in terms of climate, biodiversity and human wellbeing it should address four areas: forest impact, socioeconomic integrity, carbon storage, and life-cycle comparisons. Engaging with the complete production system of wood products must be the foundation of a sustainable sourcing strategy.
Strategic sourcing is the key to the climate and environmental benefits of building with wood. Sustainable Wood for Cities combines the latest insights from research and practice to assist cities in choosing and sourcing wood products - through specifications, procurement criteria and policies - that have a measurable impact on climate and forests. Cities can and should integrate the benefits of these choices into their larger environmental goals and climate action plans.
Sustainable wood can come from diverse sources, small scale or large, from trees and forest near or far from the city.
Wood products have many vital and high-visibility uses in cities
Four pillars that define sustainable wood in the guide
Navigation map of the SW4C platform
Eight Pathways (above) show starting points for wood sustainability.
Evaluation Matrix sample (below) with levels (1, 2, 3) attributed to each pathway, with aggregated project strategies to allow comparison of benefits
Watch the recording of our 2021 London Climate Action Week event here!