Since the end of the last century, the European sector of extraction of natural resins has undergone a period of deep crisis in which the only possible aspiration was surviving. During these years, several public and private initiatives have taken place in Spain, France and Portugal, which have helped maintain hope for a prosperous and competitive sector.
In this context, the project SustForest was born in 2010 from the conviction that the European resin sector should join forces to face a major challenge and from the absolute certainty that France, Spain and Portugal had to stand together to tackle a complex problem: the impact of the global economy on our forest resources, our sources of rural employment and our high added value products.
SustForest Plus is co - funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) through the Interregional Cooperation Program Sudoe of the European Union. It was a milestone for the European resin sector and it laid the foundations for a genuine transnational cooperation, necessary to defend the European resins’ interests.
The Transnational initiative SustForest Plus is co-funded by the Sudoe Interreg Program through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and aims to capitalise on the efforts made in the SustForest project, establishing longer-term strategies and creating stable networks of joint collaboration to achieve the objectives of the European natural resin industry:
The SustForest Plus project is divided into three task forces that address each of the three objectives mentioned above.
TF.1 strategy for sustainable forest management of European natural resins (ERNE)
TF.2 Plan to improve labour quality and sustainability of the resin workers’ office
TF.3 Plan for the promotion of European natural resin as a technological and sustainable product
The project plans to carry out 31 products that will define the strategy and the two plans of each task forces listed above.
Adhesion to the European Network of Resin Territories
One of the key products will be the creation of the European Network of Resin Territories (RETR in Spanish) which is expected to be joined by entities and private owners of resin forests for the management and coordinated defence of the sector’s interests through the application of ERNE.
The RETR itself will integrate the rest of the value chain of the European natural resin through technical secretariats dedicated to technological, environmental, social and trade phases of resin products.
Increase in the number of workers dedicated to resin extraction
The products designed with SustForest Plus for the resin workers, technical improvements and diffusion of good business practices may be adopted individually by workers, which will improve their job performance.
With the institutional support tools designed within the project, public administrations will be able to contribute to supplementing the incomes of resin workers, making the activity more attractive.
Increased presence of derivatives of European natural resin in markets
The product traceability, the promotion of the technological and environmental characteristics of the European natural resin, and the proposal of a distinctive label of origin will be arguments developed in SustForest Plus, and that put forward by the sector and the RETR itself, will contribute to the revitalisation of demand for natural resin derivatives.