Main content area

Quantifying the climate change mitigation potential of China’s furniture sector: Wood substitution benefits on emission reduction

Geng, Aixin, Ning, Zhuo, Zhang, Han, Yang, Hongqiang
Ecological indicators 2019 v.103 pp. 363-372
climate change, environmental impact, environmental indicators, furniture, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, markets, pollution control, wood, China
Wood and wood-based products have positive effects on climate change mitigation. These products can substitute for energy-intensive products made of conventional materials. The main objective of this study was to quantify substitution benefits of wood furniture for China via national-scale mitigation analyses. We selected a basket of representative furniture and estimated the emission reduction for two functionally equivalent products, which differentiate in wood intensity. The emissions avoided in each type of product were weighted by its share of the furniture market to ensure that the basket can represent the current situation. Then, avoided emissions were estimated for wood commodities contained in the products basket. Results demonstrated that wood materials exerted low environmental impacts. From the less to the more wood intensity products with the equivalent function, the proportion of energy-intensive materials decreased 24% while the proportion of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased 34%. The overall displacement factor for the wood material was 2.67 kg CO2eq/kg or 1.46 tC/tC. The findings highlight the importance of material selection in mitigating climate change in the furniture sector. It is urgent to use of the existing timber resources efficiently and pursue alternative schemes for emission reduction to achieve the goal of GHG mitigation.