Scotland National Strategy for Economic Transformation: industry leadership groups and sector groups - evidence

This paper provides summary evidence received from Scotland's industry leadership groups and other economic sector groups as part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation engagement process.

11. Forestry and Timber Industry Leadership Group

Figure 11.1 – Turnover and GVA of the Scottish Wood-based Sector [19]
Figure 11.2 – Employment of the Scottish Wood-based Sector [20]

Industry Aspirations to 2030

The industry aims to achieve the targets of:

  • doubling GVA to £2 billion for the domestic forestry and timber industry, and increasing the GVA for the whole sector to £7 billion;
  • doubling industry turnover to approximately £4 billion. If economic activity includes imported wood and wood products the ILG estimates that turnover could double;
  • achieving a 50% increase in the volume of Scottish wood (virgin and recycled) used in construction, while also maintaining markets in Scotland for other Covid essential products such as fencing and pallets; and,
  • storing a further 1 million tonnes of CO2 in woodlands through new woodland creation – from 1.5 million tonnes in 2021, and woodland creation target of 18,000 hectares per year of predominantly coniferous woodlands by 2024/25.

Industry Opportunities

There are a number of green opportunities to be realised, including:

  • increasing the quantity of renewable natural wood and wood products used in Scotland through new manufacturing and circular activity, especially in construction as this can displace other non-renewable energy intensive building materials. The use of wood products will help to store carbon in some products for 100+ years and so help to meet Scotland’s climate change target of net zero emissions by 2045;
  • using ‘improved’ planting stock and increasing the area of productive forestry to sequester and store more carbon in locally harvested and processed wood products; and,
  • in the recreation, tourism and wellbeing industries, and in replacing petrochemical-based products.

Industry Challenges

There are challenges for the industry in:

  • finding viable ways of maximising the use of wood fibre produced from Scotland’s forests for economic growth and climate change mitigation;
  • exploring opportunities to replace imported manufactured wood products with Scottish products, and improving the circularity of use of some wood products;
  • ensuring that a ‘Fabric First’ approach is taken and bringing about a change in building standards, focussing on wood and wood products as the initial preferred materials in new housing and construction; and,
  • ensuring a pipeline of career-orientated skilled workers across the whole wood supply chain.

Ongoing and Planned Activity for Industry

The ILG has a number of planned initiatives including:

  • a current strategy and action plan – ‘Roots for Further Growth’;
  • an active Skills sub-group, including representatives from University of Highlands and Islands, Scottish Forestry, the Institute of Chartered Foresters and private sector companies.
  • working closely with the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre exploring opportunities for wood fibre as a feedstock for biorefining;
  • a group that is actively looking at ways of increasing the amount of wood fibre used in construction through researching new product development opportunities such as manufacturing engineered wood procts including wood fibre insulation; and,
  • plans to create a new working group that will explore opportunities for maximising the benefits from all the data collected throughout the wood supply chain.



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