Sonae Arauco's CEO, Rui Correia, wrote an opinion article about the importance of forests management and the urgency of action

Rui Correia, our CEO, wrote an opinion article about the forest, which, he states, is the largest natural asset we have. "The potential for the development of the forestry value chain is high, but we urgently need to take action: if they are not well managed, the forests will not last forever and each day it is increasingly obvious that climate change is very real," he says.


The original article was published in the Portuguese newspaper "Jornal de Negócios" and can be seen here.

The article has been translated from Portuguese:


Each cubic metre of wood retains 900 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2). Enlarging forests takes CO2 out of the atmosphere and stores it in the wood. We have no time to lose. 


The forests are a recurring topic in the news during the summer, as we have seen again in recent months. Usually, forests make the headlines for the worst possible reasons, because of the fires.


Why is it that the most common usage of Portugal’s surface area (36% of Portugal is covered in trees) is so rarely debated in public – especially when it comes to taking action – in the rest of the year?


All of us – authorities, companies and citizens – must take responsibility. The forest is the biggest natural capital we have. The numbers are overwhelming. Pine wood alone (pine trees occupy 22% of Portugal’s forested area) accounts for 3.2% of the country’s total exports (€1,890 million) and provides 54,000 direct jobs, mainly in zones with a high risk of desertification.


Furthermore, the maritime pine (pinus pinaster) continues to be the species with the highest total stored carbon value in Portugal’s forests, despite the fact the forested area occupied by this species continues to diminish (between 2005 and 2015 it decreased 11%).


Therefore, Portugal’s forests are an economic resource of rich potential, with an enormous multiplication effect, and a trump card we hold in the backdrop of climate emergency. To exemplify this, here is an example: each cubic metre of wood retains 900 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2). Enlarging forests takes CO2 out of the atmosphere and stores it in the wood. We have no time to lose.


By taking full advantage of Portugal’s forests, within a circular and sustainable bioeconomy, we have an extraordinary opportunity to replace a growing number of products made from non renewable raw materials with products made from wood.


Wood as an indigenous, renewable, reusable and recyclable material which can be a natural replacement for products such as steel, cement, oil, plastic or textiles, with infinite number of solutions in a broad range of applications.


The adoption of public policies to encourage the use of wood in the building sector is a matter of urgency, also contributing to the development of the forestry value chain. A real reduction in the carbon intensity of Portugal’s buildings will only be achieved by incorporating a high proportion wood products in their construction, given that wood products provide several benefits with regard to energy efficiency and have a positive effect on global warming, as they help to mitigate CO2 emissions. That is not to mention that at the end of their lifespan they can be recycled and transformed into new products, thus re-entering a continuous recycling cycle.


The potential for the development of the forestry value chain is high, but we urgently need to take action: if they are not well managed, the forests will not last forever and each day it is increasingly obvious that climate change is very real.


Rui Correia, Executive President of Sonae Arauco in the Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Negócios