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Forest Products: Enhancing Economic Growth in Emerging Markets

Since the late 1950s, IFC has invested $3 billion in sustainable forestry projects around the world. In the last four years, activities have increased significantly, with investments of $1.2 billion for IFC's own account financing projects worth $6.3 billion. IFC supports sustainable businesses along the entire forest product supply chain, from plantations to production of furniture, tissue, paper, and other goods. Why continue investing in a sometimes controversial industry? IFC plays a critical global leadership role by ensuring that its projects set an example of environmental and social stewardship. Forestry projects highlight the exceptional opportunities for IFC to support triple bottom line activities. They bring: new hope and new jobs to poor communities while reducing pollution, replanting unproductive land and demonstrating that sustainability is good business.

IFC and Forestry Clients: How We Help

IFC's upstream strategy, focusing on fiber input, has contributed significantly to emissions reduction, in accordance with the World Bank's policy on climate change:


  • IFC-supported plantations are sequestering several million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
  • IFC-supported projects involving collection and re-use of waste paper result in an annual reduction in methane emissions equivalent to 1 million tons of CO2 emissions.
  • IFC strategy targets support of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects and use of carbon-neutral waste wood to replace fossil fuel.
  • IFC's composite panel clients convert an estimated 3 million cubic meters of low value wood to high value products, contributing an estimated 3 million tons of CO2 per year to the greenhouse profile.

What is Sustainability Forestry?

IFC defines sustainable forestry practices as balancing the current and future economic value of forests with enduring commitments to social responsibility and environmental stewardship, including conservation, biodiversity, and protection of ecosystems. Increasingly, sustainable forestry has become an area of focus and concern for companies engaged in the full range of related industries, from tree planting to pulp and paper manufacturing to wood supply to furniture production.

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