An ambitious new forest industries strategy aims to double the sector’s economic growth to £2 billion a year by 2030.
Launched by the Scottish Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group (ILG), the “Roots for Further Growth” strategy sets out a long-term vision for economic growth, with five strategic priorities:
- Maximise the economic outputs of Scotland’s forest and fibre resource;
- Improve the safety and efficiency of the wood fibre supply chain;
- Expand markets and add value;
- Develop a workforce with skills for the future which supports inclusive growth;
- Understand and communicate the forest and wood-based industries’ contributions to Scotland’s economy.
The strategy covers the wide-ranging economic and business activities of the forest industries sector. This includes domestic and imported wood supply chains, engineered wood products and systems, recycled wood and wood energy. It also offers opportunities for new green industries such as wood-based biotechnologies.
The forest and timber sector currently contributes £1bn per year to the Scottish economy and supports around 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs and the forest sector contributes significantly to Scotland’s climate change mitigation, by sequestering carbon in sustainably managed forests. The timber used in construction also locks up carbon in wood products.
The strategy includes a detailed action plan showing how all the priorities will be achieved in partnership with others, including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Forestry Commission Scotland and Skills Development Scotland.
Chair of the ILG Martin Gale said: “The potential of a sustainable natural material like wood fibre is an exciting one in a low carbon future world, offering opportunities to sequester and store carbon, substitute high embodied energy products and even provide a feedstock to replace fossil fuel-derived products.
“All these outputs, and more, can provide significant economic and environmental benefits for the people of Scotland to 2030 and beyond.”