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 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).