On the occasion of EPF’s Annual General Meeting in Venice on 7th & 8th July, and in the presence of MEP
Simona Bonafè, MEP David Borrelli, Mr Carlo Mari Medaglia of the Italian Ministry of the Environment,
captains of the European panel industry and their suppliers, the Chairman and President of the Composite
Panel Association of North America and members of the trade press, Dottore Paolo Fantoni, Chairman EPF,
and Mr Markus Wiesner, Chairman EFIC, co-signed the ‘Venice Declaration on Cascading Use of Wood’.
This landmark document presents the views of the European wood-based panels industry, supported
by the European furniture industry towards the Circular Economy, and in particular the concept of the
cascading use of wood. The declaration is a two page appeal to European Institutions and governments
to embrace and promote the multiple or “cascade” use of wood, especially for material products such
as panels and furniture. This is considered to be the best way to make optimum use of this valuable
resource for Europe. The text of the declaration is reproduced below.
The Venice Declaration
“The bioeconomy is increasingly viewed by policymakers as a golden time to develop opportunities that
will facilitate economic and employment growth whilst delivering solutions that address the global
challenges presented by climate change and energy security. The wood-based panel and furniture
industries are proud to be part of the bio-economy.
Parallel to the bio-economy, a central platform of European climate policy is to develop a role for
bio-energy as a means of mitigating climate change through the substitution of non-renewable
fossil-based fuels with sustainable alternatives. Whilst supportive of the overall policy objectives,
the wood-based panel and the wood-based panel furniture industries are concerned by the potentially
negative consequences that such policies, intended to develop one industry, can have on another.
Inherent in their activities, wood material producers embrace many of the climate imperatives through
growing the carbon store, maximising carbon life, recycling, and recovering the energy at ultimate end
of life. Bio-energy production from woody biomass is ostensibly a destructive process that relies on
converting wood from the solid to either a gas or liquid in the shortest space of time. Policy must ensure
that the conversion is done with as little impact as possible to those processes that are inherently
seeking to extend the carbon life, and as a consequence are utilising such a valuable raw material in as
resource-efficient a manner as possible.
In this ‘Venice Declaration’ EPF, the European Panel Federation, has developed a core set of principles
for the Circular Economy to help ensure the continued contribution of the wood-based panel industry to
Europe, whilst still allowing for the conversion of woody biomass waste to energy at the end of its
material life. EFIC, the European Furniture Industries Confederation wishes to emphasise its support
for these policies intended to support the growth of wooden furniture manufactured in Europe. EPF and
EFIC together call upon the European Institutions to integrate these policy principles into future legislation”.