Japanese trading firms investing more in forest assets

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Major Japanese trading companies are stepping up their investments in forestry projects abroad. That’s as they seek to achieve carbon neutrality and meet growing demand for lumber products.

Mitsui & Co. plans to acquire additional shares in an Australian firm that manages forests and sells lumber.
Mitsui’s stake in New Forests is expected to rise to 49 percent, making it the firm’s top shareholder.

The Australian company currently has about 1.1 million hectares of forest under management.

Meanwhile, Sumitomo Corporation aims to double the forested area it holds in New Zealand to around 100,000 hectares by March 2024.

Marubeni is planting more-productive trees in Indonesia to boost lumber supply.

Many companies aim to use their forest assets to win carbon credits as part of decarbonization efforts. They are also seeing a profit boost as a surge in economic activity after the pandemic pushes up lumber prices.