IBA unites Brazil’s forest industries

12 October 2017

Brazil is the largest as well as the most forested country in Latin America. The Brazilian Industry of Planted Trees (IBA) is the association in charge of representing institutionally the plantation forest industry. Formed only in 2014, as the Brazilian equivalent of the EPF in Europe or the CPA in North America, 55 industries and 9 state entities are members. Here Elizabete Carvalhaes, CEO of IBA, outlines the work and achievements of the association, with statistics showing the scale of the Brazilian forest industry.

Three years ago we challenged the market. We gave a new vision to an economical industrial segment of the Brazilian economy, the plantation-based forest economy. It took into account environmental, social and industrial aspects. Several separate sectors of the wood based economy came together to achieve it. From the merger of Bracelpa ( Paper & Pulp Association), Abipa ( Wood based panels Association ), Abiplar ( the Laminate Flooring Manufacturers Association) and Abraf ( the Planted Forests Association), IBA was established.

Its main purpose has remained constant: to enhance the competitiveness of plantation-based forests – eucalyptus, pinewood and other species – for industrial uses, thus creating a greater synergy among different industries and end users, such as makers of wood based panels and laminate floorings, pulp, paper, and energy, as well as independent and institutional producers by givien them a single and powerful voice.

Ever since its foundation the association has been working hard to turn Brazil into a world reference for planted forests and consequently the protagonist and exemplar of this new ‘born to be green’ economy.

By believing in the potential of renewable, recycled and friendly raw materials for enhancing the environment, bio-diversity and human life, IBA seeks by its representation to enhance the levels of science, technology and social and environmental responsibility throughout the productive forest chain and in this way to come up with innovative solutions and methods for Brazil and for the world.

We specifically encourage the practices of sustainable forestry management, the certification of plantations, conscious awareness of the consumption of natural resources, and bio-technology and nanotechnology. In the world scenario, within a year of its foundation IBA took over the presidency of CFPA, the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, a council with 30 worldwide associations in both the forests and the paper sectors; worked out the Brazilian proposals for the Climate Agreement which will certainly contribute to mitigation of the effects of climate changes; partook in several forums and international events, in particular in one promoted by FAO, the Food and Agricultural Organization by the United Nations.

At the end of last year we were explaining to the London Stock Exchange the capacity and relevance of the planted forest sector in the mitigation of climate changes and explaining how the forest based industries could become major issuers of green bonds.

On the commercial front, IBA participated in negotiations, agreements and partnerships with the World Trade Organization, for example in the negotiations between Mercosur and European Union, in the bilateral agreement between Brazil and Mexico and in the Agreement on trade facilitation by WTO. In Brazil, IBA´s efforts have been well received by society, economic and political leaderships and internal agents.

We have consolidated important issues with the Federal government, we have been assigned as members of the CDES (Council of Economic and Social Development) and we have acted jointly with the Ministries of Environment, of Agriculture, Cattle Raising and Supplies, of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, and others.

We have made progress in the implementation of the Brazilian Forestry Code, in the facilitation of environmental licensing, in the discussions of labour reform, and in registration of 19 pesticides that contribute to the productivity of the sector.

There is very much more to be in done in the years to come, and IBA will make all necessary efforts to help the wood based sector in Brazil with the establishment of transparent policies aimed at reducing costs and red tape, with solutions for logistics bottlenecks, and to pave the way for a creation of a carbon market to the benefit of all sustainable products in the sector.

We are certain that that we took the right direction when we decided to unify the entire planted forest sector in the hope that our actions so far, and our forthcoming actions, will turn Brazil into a world leader in green and friendly products.

Brazil in Figures

Economic benefits

In 2015, gross revenue from the planted tree industry totalled R$69 billion, which represents 6% of the country’s GDP.

Exports totalled approximately US$9.0 billion, or 4.7% of Brazilian exports.

The planted tree industry accounts for approximately 3.8 million direct and indirect jobs. Ongoing and forecasted investment in increasing plantations and expanding mills total about R$40 billion from 2016 to 2020.

The industry generates R$11.3 billion in federal, state and municipal taxes, 0.9% of the national revenue.

Planted trees

  • Brazil has 7.8 million hectares of planted eucalyptus, pinus and other (acacia, araucaria and teak) tree species. 6% of this goes to wood panels and laminate flooring
  • Planted trees absorb 1.7 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere
  • 5.6 million hectares of natural areas in the form of Permanent Preservation Areas (PPA), Legal Reserve (LR) and Private Natural Heritage Reserve (PNHR) represent an average stock of 2.48 billion tons of CO2
  • Approximately 70% of plantations are certified, thus guaranteeing the sustainability of and good practices in the industry

Social benefits

  • Investments in social programs totalled R$ 285 million, distributed among social inclusion, education and environmental programs
  • The initiative have benefited million people in approximately 1,000 municipalities, consolidating the Brazilian forestry base as an agent of social and economic development
  • Keeping the rural population in their place of origin generates income for local communities
  • 18700 people benefited from outgrower programs in 2015

Eucatex production line in Bocutatu, Brazil
Duratex production line in Bocutatu, Brazil