The forest sector

Implemented 2018-2020

  • A research project on making the forest industry’s heavy goods transport fossil-free has been started. At the centre of the project is the timber Pod, an automated and electrified logging truck developed by Einride.
  • Under the Climate Action Plan, a bioeconomy strategy will be developed that will contribute to increased biomass availability as well as environmental and climate benefits.


How can the forest sector create increased profitability, competitiveness and jobs across the country, while at the same time phasing out the use of fossil energy sources up to 2045?

The forest sector’s roadmap for fossil free competitiveness, shows how the sector can create even more climate benefits than it already does today. The roadmap is developed by the trade association The Swedish Forest Industries Federation.

The vision of the roadmap is:
»The forest sector drives growth in the global  bioeconomy«

The vision goes beyond its own sector by including a transformation of society to a bio-based economy.

In a growing bioeconomy, the forest sector today already contributes to climate change mitigation in three overall ways: by substitution, whereby biobased products replace other products that are produced from fossil raw materials or which cause major fossil emissions during production, by carbon capture in the forests and in biobased products as well as by reducing the use of fossil energy sources.

The goal of the roadmap is that the overall climate benefits of the forest sector and its contributions to a fossil free society will have increased by 2045 by contributing with more bio-based products and by phasing out fossil energy sources in its own operations.

To increase the overall climate benefits of the forest sector and its contributions to a fossil free society, The Swedish Forest Industries has defined goals to be reached by 2030.

The goals are divided between the two focus areas: climate benefits and competitiveness through growth in bioeconomy on the one hand, and climate benefits through phasing out of fossil energy sources in the operations, on the other.

Climate benetifts and competitiveness through growth in bioeconomy

• The forest sector’s share of the Swedish GDP has doubled, from 3 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2030.

• The market for wood products has expanded and the value of deliveries has increased – at least 50 percent of all new homes are built with wooden frameworks and an increasing proportion of other buildings are built with wooden frames.

• Investments in research, innovation and demonstration facilities linked to forestry and forest industry have doubled to SEK 8 billion per year.

• The forest sector’s deliveries of bioenergy have increased.

• The production of biofuels based on forest raw material has increased – an estimate is an increase from 1 TWh to 10 TWh.

Climate benefits from the phasing out of fossil energy sources

• The use of fossil energy sources in processes within forest industries has decreased further. Today, processes in sawmills are almost entirely free of fossil energy sources and the processes in the paper and pulp industry are 96 percent free of fossil energy sources.

• No fossil fuels are used in vehicles in forest industries or in forestry.

• Fossil emissions from domestic transportation in the forest sector have been reduced.

Measures are needed in many areas if the forest sector is to fulfil the roadmap’s vision and goals. Here is a list of those we consider to be the most important and where politics need to contribute:

• A clear political ambition to create a biobased society 
A growing bioeconomy requires an increase in the production of forest industry products, bioenergy and biofuels. Politics must create conditions for this by, for example, removing the uncertainty with respect to views about forestry, taxes and fees linked to biobased products, transportation etc. There is also a need for increased state funding for R&I, at least in line with the industry’s own initiatives.

• Competitive conditions for the forest sector
The forest industries operate in global markets. This places high demands on competitive conditions when it comes to, for instance, electricity costs, permit processes, the investment climate and the burden of fees and taxes, which should be in line with the conditions that international competitors face.

• Assured access to biomass from sustainable forestry
For the forest sector to contribute to a fossil free Sweden, there must be an assured access to biomass from the forests. The ability to pursue efficient and sustainable forestry is crucial. The industry will demand more raw materials to enable an increase in current production of wood products, cardboard, paper and pulp. This is essential for increasing side-flows to energy, fuels and new bio-based products. Political instruments and subsidies that distort competition or control the use of raw materials must not be introduced.

• Increased focus on goods transportation
Goods and the transportation of goods must be given higher priority when investing in infrastructure. Infrastructure initiatives based on the needs of the sector are a key factor, for example initiatives for transfer of goods. Many of the member companies of The Swedish Forest Industries are able and willing to transfer more goods to rail and maritime shipping if the Swedish Transport Administration sorts out transportation bottlenecks and other obstacles. The measures presented in the Industry Council’s (Industrirådet) Introduction to Goods Strategy need to be implemented.

• Improving efficiency of transportation
Improving efficiency can, for example, be achieved by permitting trains and lorries that are both heavier and longer. A first measure in the near future would be to ensure that the entire road network is adapted for lorries with a maximum weight of 74 tons. The potential for improving efficiency through the possibilities of digitalisation, e.g. horizontal cooperation, increases if authorities push for digitization in transport and infrastructure.

• Electrification
Electrification of road traffic can be increased, for example, through the use of battery operated small lorries and passenger vehicles. The electrification of major roads, such as the E-road network with lots of heavy traffic, or shorter distances with shuttle services should also be carried out.

• Continued investments in research and  innovation
Investments in research and innovation from the state and the private sector must be intensified further. This is crucial to enable development towards a growing bio-based economy. Research needs to be targeted at the areas presented in the research agenda from the forest industries (Skogsnäringens Forskningsagenda 4.0).