Interview: Tancrède Neveu, Managing Director of Plant for the Future

Publié par Julia, le 12 mai 2020 | Uncategorized

Photo aérienne de la forêt avec logo

We present you today an important actor of the wood industry in France! We asked a few questions to Tancrède NEVEU, delegate director of the Planting for the Future Endowment Fund, who introduced us to his background as well as the actions and objectives of the Endowment Fund.

Can you introduce yourself? What is your background?

My professional career has been practiced for 30 years in the forestry cooperatives. It led me to practice and acquire experience in the fields of forestry, silviculture, consulting and management, but also development and territorial planning, in the forest areas of Landes de Gascogne, Limousin, Dordogne and Charentes. It also allowed me to carry the humanist values of the cooperative, through a cooperation program in Haiti.

What brought you to Planting for the Future?

The Planting for the Future Endowment Fund was created at the end of 2014 by the forestry cooperative where I was working. This innovative, non-profit initiative, which addresses the major issues of reforestation, sustainable forest management and the bioeconomy through the use of wood, immediately seemed relevant to me. Its system is based on the skills of professionals and organizations in the forestry and wood industry and takes into account the major strategic directions of this sector. The financial resources of the Endowment Fund come from the tremendous potential of patronage in France. Indeed, sponsorship allows companies and individuals to take part, in the framework of the general interest, in the great environmental, social and economic challenges, where the public power cannot do everything. When the Fund’s founding forestry cooperative asked me to lead it in 2016, I immediately accepted.

What role does your endowment fund play in the wood industry and in the field of eco-construction?

Since the beginning of the second millennium, awareness has grown on the virtues and the need to use bio-sourced materials for the energy transition and the circular economy. Wood constitutes an opportunity for innovation recognized by the whole society. Also, the forestry-wood industry is a future-oriented industry, a pillar of French green growth and wood is the material of the 21st century.

Over the past two decades, the downstream sector has demonstrated innovation and investment in fields as varied as construction, energy and green chemistry.

But upstream, a significant part of the French forest is accumulating standing timber and its under-exploitation shows a lack of dynamism that affects its renewal. Three quarters of the French forest is privately owned by more than 3 million owners, most of whom own only a few hectares and who do not sufficiently exploit or renew their forest heritage. With the reduction of state and local government aid, forestry plantations have fallen by more than 50% in France. Without support for reforestation, many forest owners are unable to ensure the renewal of stands that are often dying, victims of bad weather or unsuited to climate change and the need for wood for our businesses and industries.

Planting for the Future can be a catalyst and a gas pedal for the mobilization of wood needed for construction projects, providing the necessary support for the renewal and sustainability of forest production in our territories. Therefore, we call on all companies in the sector to help us strengthen this national sponsorship structure to support reforestation in private forests.

What difficulties do you encounter on a daily basis in the exercise of your mission?

One of the difficulties is to make the general public, sometimes ill-informed, understand that beyond the challenge of renewing our forest to sequester more carbon and make it more resilient to climate change, it is also necessary to create the conditions for an increase in its productivity, by ensuring that the wood material remains competitive compared to the energy-intensive materials and fossil fuels it claims to replace.

In other words, it is necessary to explain to those who at the same time plebiscite the use of wood and condemn the exploitation of trees, that a part of our forests must be managed, with as main objective to produce wood, answering in terms of quality, quantity and cost, to the needs of our companies and our industries.

What successes can you look forward to?

Since its creation, the Fund has collected more than 3.7 million euros from 140 companies such as Smurfit Kappa, PiveteauBois, Archimbaud, Siat-Braun… for the industry, but also Nestlé, Dalkia, EngieCofely or Crédit Agricole, which have committed themselves in the framework of their Social and Environmental Responsibility

248 landowners have already received assistance to reforest 1460 hectares throughout France. But the task remains immense and the objective of the endowment fund is to initiate and support several thousand hectares of reforestation per year in France.

Is it difficult today in France to carry out your reforestation actions? What are the difficulties you are facing?

Many forest areas in France suffer from a lack of maintenance and/or climate change. The proliferation of bark beetles on spruce or chalarosis on ash are examples. Even though there are many questions and uncertainties regarding the choice of species and reforestation techniques, many owners wish to renew their plots. Accompanied by certified forestry advisors, who provide technical and legal support, they are increasingly seeking financial support from Planting for the Future, because the process is simple and empowering.

In order to continue to support all these owners, we need to involve and bring together more and more companies around the environmental, social and economic values of a dynamic management of our forests.

Can you introduce us to the « Awareness and Training » program? What are the next objectives of the program?

The « Awareness and Training » program allows us to explain the major issues of the renewal and productivity of our forests to the younger generations, but also to the patrons who support us.

For example, by explaining that wood is the future of construction: that with and thanks to this eco-material, tomorrow’s buildings will be more sustainable and resilient. But also that construction is the future of the forest: because it is by involving the companies of this sector as well as the architects, that it will be possible to build with a local and competitive wood.

Can you tell us a little about the « Innovate » program?

The « Innovate » program is conducted in partnership with with FCBA, INRAE and EFI and supports research and innovation projects on the themes of adapting species and forest management techniques to climate change, but also to the wood needs of our companies and industries.

Thank you to Tancrède NEVEU, Managing Director of Planting for the Future for answering our questions!

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