Ahead of its participation at the COP15 meetings, in Montreal,  the European Investment Bank (EIB) has published a new sector paper titled “Forests at the heart of sustainable development” and a related brochure emphasizing the impact of EIB finance and the role of public banks more generally in developing the sector sustainably . Forests cover about 30% of the Earth’s land and host about 80% of world’s biodiversity.

The paper provides an overview of sustainability in the forestry sector. It sets out the benefits for society, describes the regulatory environment and explores the challenges encountered by companies and investors operating in this sector.

With more than 40 years of lending to the forestry sector, the EIB Group, made up of the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund, has developed extensive institutional expertise in financing sustainable forestry operations and stands ready to do more.

The EIB’s work in the past decade (2012-2021) included:

  • lending of about €15 billion to the forestry sector, making the Bank one of the biggest financiers in the sector;
  • improving more than 3 million hectares of degraded landscapes through sustainable forest management;
  • providing over €1.3 billion in financing to EU projects aimed at disaster prevention, preparedness, response and post-disaster recovery;
  • committing about €220 million to private equity and venture capital funds in the European Union and beyond targeting sustainable forest and land management and the reduction of emissions caused by land degradation and deforestation. These funds helped mobilise over €1.5 billion of private and public investments in about 600 000 hectares of land restoration projects, and about 30 000 hectares of forest and natural habitats placed under conservation.

Through its Climate Bank Roadmap, the EIB Group is strengthening support for long-term investments in the forestry sector, with a focus on environmental protection, nature conservation and sustainable production of biomaterials and bioenergy.

EIB Vice President, Christian Thomsen, responsible for bioeconomy, commented: “As the challenge of biodiversity commands a global focus at COP15, this publication from our experts at the EIB is most timely. Forests are natural carbon sinks and thus crucial allies in the fight against climate change. They also underpin the world’s biodiversity. As the EU Climate Bank, we are committed to investing in forests sustainably. This newly published EIB paper makes a clear case for sustainable forest management and is a guide for increasing financing for the sector.”