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Save the date – EPF Annual General Meeting – Santiago de Compostela, Spain – 21-23 June 2023

EPF is delighted to announce that its Annual General Meeting will be held from 21 June to 23 June 2023 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain hosted by ANFTA. The AGM will follow the traditional schedule with a Managing Board meeting on 21 June, member meetings on 22 June including the General Assembly followed by the Gala Dinner, and an Open Part conference on Friday 23 June. Attendance is by invitation only. These will be sent in due course.

We look forward to seeing many of you in Spain for this important gathering of the European wood-based panels industry.

EPF Press Conference @ Interzum – 9 May 2023

 

EPF is pleased to announce an upcoming event.

In the framework of the Interzum Trade Fair 2023, EPF will hold a Press Conference.

Chairman Mr Martin Brettenthaler will present provisional highlights from the European wood-based panels industry’s 2022 results, the full presentation of which will be made to the press on 23 June 2023 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

EPF will also provide its members and journalists with updates on its 5 Strategic Directions, current advocacy, and latest news.

Press contacts, EPF members and interested parties will be formally invited nearer the time, but are welcomed to already mark this date and time in their calendars.

The EPF Press Conference will take place on 9 May at 1 pm at the

Congress-Centre North
2nd floor – Conference Room A
Rheinsaal Section 5

Messeplatz 1, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia 50679, Germany

For further information, please contact Isabelle Henin on info@europanels.org

EPF welcomes Isabelle Henin

We are delighted to announce Isabelle Henin as the new Administration and Communications Officer at EPF. She took up her new role on Monday, 9th January 2023.

Isabelle is Belgian with an academic background in communications and in political science, with a focus on international relations. Her mother tongue is French, she speaks fluent English and German and she has a working knowledge of Dutch, Portuguese and Italian.

Isabelle joined EPF from the Acolad Group where she was Project Manager for linguistic services.  Prior to that she was Communication and Events Assistant at EESC, the European Economic and Social Committee, a European Union institution.

Previous roles and internships include working in the EPP President’s office and being elected Secretary General of Belgian Youth Diplomacy.

 

EPF calls for 60% material use in REDIII

According to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre1, in the EU only 45% of EU biomass goes to material use, with 55% used for bioenergy. At EPF we believe that at least 60% of this in-demand resource should be preferred for material applications, such as wood-based panels. In this respect, EPF believes it is of the utmost importance to reinforce the implementation of principles for cascading use of biomass, circularity, and resource efficiency.

The current energy crisis has critically underlined the necessity of scaling up the roll out of renewable energies. Indeed, the negative effects the energy crisis has on the energy prices and market disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine further increases the pressure on woody biomass. It is of greatest importance that policy makers realise that burning wood is not the solution to Europe’s energy shortages. Providing state aid to support to further biomass energy developments distorts commercial markets and deprives material markets such as wood-based panels, paper industries and others of valuable material. As well as adding value to the wood material uses keep the carbon locked up in wood in some cases for many decades, after which it can either be recycled for another use phase or if not possible the energy can then be recovered. Wood is too valuable to squander by burning in the first instance.

In this respect, EPF calls for the necessity to maintain all references to the cascading principle and the waste hierarchy under Art.3 of the Directive. Enshrining the cascading principle is especially important given current supply chain difficulties and material shortages. The retention of the cascading use of wood in RED III, in line with the EC guiding principles of sustainability, resource efficiency, circularity, new products or markets, and subsidiarity is vital to avoid market distortions and ensure the security of supply of raw materials for the industry.

Furthermore, to meet the objectives of climate neutrality, it is important to enhance the sustainability criteria under Art.29 of the Directive to reduce early energy recovery, restore sustainable carbon cycles and increase carbon removals in circular and climate positive harvested wood products. It is essential that subsidies for bioenergy should not create market distortions for raw materials especially for woody biomass and prevent that high quality wood is diverted to energy markets, with associated negative impacts on resource efficiency, biodiversity and sustainable carbon sinks.

Therefore, EPF calls upon the negotiators to bear in mind the above when finalising trilogue negotiations. In the words of Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and keynote speaker at the recent NEB Into The Woods conference held in the presence of EC President Mrs Ursula von der Leyen: “Currently in Europe we are burning 50% of the wood that is harvested. Wood is too precious to be burned. We are burning the book of life before we have studied it”.

7 December 2022

https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC128384

 

European Panel Federation

Rue Montoyer 24, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Tel +32 2 556 25 89 – info@europanels.org www.europanels.org

EU Transparency Register: 572064811767-22 – IBAN: BE33 4268 1660 1346 – VAT: BE 0464.722.149

 

12th European Wood-based Panel Symposium

Hamburg, 14 October – “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”. Mark Twain’s words of encouragement were quoted by EPF Chairman and SWISS KRONO Group CEO Mr Martin Brettenthaler in the opening speech at the 12th European Wood-Based Panel Symposium (EWPBS), held on 13-14 October in Hamburg. Mr Brettenthaler recognised the difficulties that the industry currently faces but urged the attendees to continue the sector’s exemplary work in terms especially of sustainability and decarbonisation. 

In the opening sessions, Mr Brettenthaler was joined by Mr Edi Snaidero, Chairman of the European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC) and by Mr Jori Ringman, Managing Director of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). With words such as “cascade”, “resource efficiency”, and “wood availability” recurring in all three tasks, it was noted with pleasure by the audience how aligned the sectors are as the wood-based panels industry seeks to establish itself as a role model industry within the European Green Deal. 

Mr Snaidero underlined the importance of the wood-based panel industry to the furniture branch, looking forward to increasing areas of integration and collaboration across the supply chain; Mr Ringman highlighted that the forest-based industries today make a positive climate contribution equivalent to 20% of current EU fossil emissions, noting that by working together in terms of emission reduction and carbon storage, this figure might reasonably rise to 30%. To optimise this effect, the wood-based panels industry and related sectors should continue to work together as a single, resilient, integrated ecosystem. Mr Brettenthaler assured the attendees that these industry partnerships have been set as a key objective for EPF, together with the 5 Strategic Directions of role model industry, climate, wood availability, harmonisation and regulation. 

Hosted by Fraunhofer WKI, EPF and iVTH, and with HyWax as primary sponsor, 320 delegates from 28 countries enjoyed two days of market updates, technical presentations and networking for the first time since 2018. The 13th edition of the EWBPS is planned for 9-11 October 2024, in Hamburg. 

Wood4Bauhaus Bioeconomy side event

Report from the Wood4Bauhaus Alliance side event held Friday 7th October at the High-Level EU Bioeconomy Conference, ‘Bioeconomy – Enabling the European Green Deal in Challenging Times’ 6-7th October, Brussels

This side event was held at the request of the European Commission to highlight the potential climate benefits of using more nature-based materials, such as wood and other biomaterials, in the built environment within the context of the New European Bauhaus.

Long-life, low-carbon, circular products can drastically diminish the carbon emissions of Europe’s building stock. Nature-based solutions will thus be key to achieving a more resilient, self-sufficient European bioeconomy.

The event was hosted by the Wood Sector Alliance for the New European Bauhaus – wood4bauhaus an official partner of the New European Bauhaus, which drives change in the building sector, supports the co-creation of innovative solutions and helps to make the transition to sustainable living a widespread, powerful movement.

Four speakers explained how the bioeconomy can be built with nature-based materials and solutions within the setting of the New European Bauhaus (NEB):

 Borut Cink, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, explained that the NEB was keen to foster and co-create nature-based solutions and “that the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, sees the New European Bauhaus as the soul of the Green Deal.” Cink pointed out that they are undertaking regulatory analysis to identify obstacles to the NEB, including with regards the use of new materials, and the first report will be available in the autumn.

Olivier Vuylsteke, Chief Investment Officer at Nextensa, spoke about the paradigm shift that is now underway in the construction sector as it rediscovers wood as a building material. Using the example of his own company he explained how they were “working to decarbonise the buildings in their portfolio”, an approach “in line with the values of the New European Bauhaus.” He explained it had been necessary “to do some convincing to move away from the traditional build approach.” Vuylsteke highlighted their new build timber office block close to EU Parliament on Rue Montoyer, the first of its kind in Brussels, which had been erected quicker than a normal build and with considerably lower climate emissions Monteco (nextensa.eu)

Clive Pinnington, Managing Director of the European Panel Federation, highlighted the potential of wood insulation materials both within the Renovation Wave and the NEB. “With energy prices rocketing the number one recommendation is ‘insulate your loft’. Yet, only 1% of insulation materials are currently nature-based, the other 99% are all fossil fuel based.

This needs to change and, as European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans highlighted when addressing the Bioeconomy Conference earlier today, wood-fibre is the sustainable material that can do this and additionally it will safely store carbon.” 

Lauri Linkosalmi of StoraEnso spoke about building solutions with wood being a leading driver for the bioeconomy. “Wood is an existing solution. It is lightweight and can be fabricated and deployed quickly and has many applications. Everything that’s made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow.” By way of example he referenced wooden wind turbine towers made with laminated veneer lumber (LVL), which proportionate to their weight are stronger than steel.

Uwe Kies, Secretary General of InnovaWood, chaired the event.

For further information and comment contact:
Paul Brannen +44 787 856 5406, or
Uwe Kies +32 472 62 60 43, or

per e-Mail info@wood4bauhaus.eu

Background information

The European Commission’s New European Bauhaus calls for a creative, interdisciplinary, novel movement embedded in society to imagine a sustainable future together and to engage on a transformative path towards affordable and beautiful living spaces in urban and rural environments. A key step is the transformation of the building sector into a circular model that can also counteract the escalating climate crisis. This transformation requires prioritised research in the use of organic materials in buildings.

The Wood4Bauhaus Alliance’s main objective is to shape a better and sustainable future with beautiful, healthy and inclusive living, working, and learning spaces as part of a sustainable, low carbon-built environment. Our platform shall foster an open, long-term dialogue with all interested stakeholders and help share good practices related to the Circular Economy and Green Buildings. Our goal is to inspire as many actors as possible to co-create and develop contributions to the New European Bauhaus from European to regional and local level, all in the common interest to advance and exploit as much as possible nature-based materials, innovative building systems and smart solutions to mitigate climate harm and benefit European citizens. The Alliance will therefore:

  • Encourage research and innovation for novel, innovative uses of wood in the built environment,
  • Foster new collaborations and co-creation between different stakeholders across disciplines, sectors, and society, and
  • Facilitate knowledge sharing and skills development towards future generations.

The Alliance confirming these policy recommendations comprises the following partners:

InnovaWood is the European network for wood science, research, innovation and education with 60+ member organisations in 28 countries, including RTOs, universities, VET centres and cluster organisations. The European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois) is an umbrella organisation of 21 European and national organisations from 15 countries backing the interests of the whole wood sector. The European Panel Federation (EPF) represents 100,000 direct jobs in wood-based panel manufacturing and furniture in 32 countries. The European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) represents 35,000 sawmills in 12 countries. The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) is the European Trade Union Federation grouping 76 national free trade unions from 34 countries with members in the building, building materials, woodworking, forestry and allied industries and trades. InnoRenew CoE is a new research centre in Slovenia focused on sustainable construction with renewable materials.

BASAJAUN project fosters sustainable wood construction chains from forest harvesting to final buildings and Circular Economy solutions in the sector. It has received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 862942. InnoRenew CoE was founded with support from H2020 Widespread-2-Teaming grant no. 739574.

© 2022 Wood Sector Alliance for the New European Bauhaus

Contact: info@wood4bauhaus.eu | Web: wood4bauhaus.eu

Press release: EPF experts explore techniques to enhance protection of workers against potential risks of fire or explosion accidents

Some 30 experts from EPF member companies gathered yesterday in Osoppo at FANTONI SPA to exchange experiences and discuss current practices on preventing fires and explosions to, ultimately, ensure the protection of the workers in the factories. This was the 4th meeting of this important task force that previously took place at UNILIN in Belgium and SONAE ARAUCO in Portugal with an online meeting during the Covid19 pandemic.

Following interesting presentations, with case studies from the last 25 years by FANTONI, the group visited the impressive factory with specific attention for those areas where incidents had taken place although fortunately without any injuries or casualties. The discussions promoted before and during the visit contributed to a sound benchmark and valuable learnings on WBP industrial safety.

Participants unanimously elected Mr Jose António Rocha of SONAE ARAUCO as Chairman and Mr Koen De Backer of UNILIN as Vice-Chairman. Furthermore, the group was delighted to welcome the invitation from FINSA to host the next meeting in Iberia during Spring next year.

Press Release: EPF applauds the inclusion of the cascade use of wood principle in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III)

Brussels, 15 September 2022 – The European Panel Federation (EPF), representing the European manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hardboard, softboard and plywood, welcomes the positive vote in the European Parliament Plenary on MEP Pieper’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) report on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III) as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package.

This vote on the revised RED comes at a critical time for the energy sector especially if we are to achieve EU’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. EPF applauds that the Parliament resolution clearly recognises and underlines the need for alignment of bioenergy policies with the cascading principle[1] of biomass in line with resource efficiency through the prioritisation of the highest environmental and material added value for the use of biomass and by requiring respect of the waste hierarchy.

EPF is delighted that this will enshrine the cascading principle into the Directive allowing for the maintenance of sustainable carbon cycles in products such as wood-based panels, while ending market distorting subsidies for the burning of primary woody biomass for energy and limiting the burning of all woody biomass through enhanced sustainability criteria.

Mr Clive Pinnington, EPF Managing Director commented that “wood-based panels are natural, sustainable carbon stores, that contribute daily to the mitigation of climate change in furniture, construction, packaging and other applications. We are delighted that RED III will now allow these products to thrive on an increasingly level playing field”.

EPF’s Technical Director Mr Kris Wijnendaele welcomed the “efforts by the European Parliament to safeguard the material use of wood to manufacture high quality versatile products like furniture and sustainable nature-based building materials that are needed to realise the ambitions of the New European Bauhaus of EC President Mrs von der Leyen to turn the built environment from a greenhouse gas emitter into a carbon sink”.

EPF appreciates that ‘no later than one year after the entry into force of this amending Directive, the Commission shall adopt an implementing act on how to apply the cascading principle for forest biomass’. EPF stands ready to support on this and in the overall achievement of Europe’s New Green Deal.

EPF represents the manufacturers of wood-based panels being particleboard, dry process fibreboard (MDF), oriented strand board (OSB), hardboard, softboard and plywood. EPF has members in 25 EU countries. The EU wood panel industry has a turnover of about 22 billion euro every year and creates directly over 100,000 jobs. The production of wood-based panels in the EU-27 (+EFTA) in 2021 was an estimated 63.7 million m³. www.europanels.org  

[1] In line with the cascading principle, woody biomass should be used according to its highest economic and environmental added value in the following order of priorities: 1) wood-based products, 2) extending their service life, 3) re-use, 4) recycling, 5) bio-energy and 6) disposal.

 

 

Press Release: EPF reports strong 2021 results but is cautious for 2022, launches 5 Strategic Directions, announces Board changes, and rings in an era of sustainability at their AGM 2022 in Ghent

Brussels, 1 July 2022

EPF, the European Wood-based Panels Federation, proudly welcomed more than 150 participants to its AGM 2022 on 29 June -1 July in Ghent Belgium.  The gathering was wonderfully hosted by EPF National Association member Fedustria, the Belgian federation of the textile, wood and furniture industries and its member companies UNILIN and Norbord West Fraser Belgium.

Results


EPF was delighted to announce strong results from 2021, with an overall production increase of 9.8%.  All product types recorded increases from the previous year, and each exceeded pre-pandemic levels, showing the resilience of the sector and the growing interest of the public in nature-based materials such as panels.  However, it was noted that these results should be treated with caution in terms of how 2022 might develop.

Mr Martin Brettenthaler, EPF Chairman, commented: “Like the city of Ghent, our sector has always been innovative, dynamic and sustainable.  I am confident that this will help us to find opportunity in today’s turmoil, but this is no longer business as usual.  That is why we need our politicians to help secure the energy we need, and the wood we require, but not by burning the latter to supply the former.  That is not the solution either in the long, medium or short-term”.

5 Strategic Directions

Mr Martin Brettenthaler, Chairman, launched EPF’s 5 new Strategic Directions: Role Model Industry, Climate, Wood Availability, Harmonisation and Regulation.  These were accompanied by a short video and a fact sheet and may now be found on EPF’s website: www.europanels.org.  The 5 Strategic Directions are the focus areas of EPF’s work in the coming years.

 

Elections

EPF’s General Assembly accepted the resignation of Mr Bernard Thiers, CEO of UNILIN as Vice-Chairman and Managing Board Member, thanking him warmly for his many valuable years of service and support.  Replacing Mr Thiers, Mr Pablo Figueroa López, Executive Committee member of FINSA, was chosen as the new Vice-Chairman and Mrs Veronique Hoflack, President of UNILIN Panels, was elected to the Managing Board.

Era of sustainability

Despite the turbulent times bringing a multitude of challenges, EPF looks forward to playing its role as a role model industry in the economy, in the environment and in society during the coming years.  This was symbolised by the ringing of the wood-based panels bell by Mr Brettenthaler and Mrs Hoflack.  With this, EPF hopes to usher in a new era of sustainability in construction, furniture, packaging and other markets served by innovative, climate-smart wood-based panels.


© Hilde De Kelver

Press Release: AGM 2022 – 29 June – 1 July – Ghent

Brussels, 1 July 2022

EPF, the European Wood-based Panels Federation, proudly welcomed more than 150 participants to its AGM 2022 on 29 June -1 July in Ghent Belgium.  The gathering was wonderfully hosted by EPF National Association member Fedustria, the Belgian federation of the textile, wood and furniture industries and its member companies UNILIN and Norbord West Fraser Belgium.

EPF was delighted to announce strong results from 2021, with an overall production increase of 9.8%.  All product types recorded increases from the previous year, and each exceeded pre-pandemic levels, showing the resilience of the sector and the growing interest of the public in nature-based materials such as panels.  However, it was noted that these results should be treated with caution in terms of how 2022 might develop.

Mr Martin Brettenthaler, EPF Chairman, commented: “Like the city of Ghent, our sector has always been innovative, dynamic and sustainable.  I am confident that this will help us to find opportunity in today’s turmoil, but this is no longer business as usual.  That is why we need our politicians to help secure the energy we need, and the wood we require, but not by burning the latter to supply the former.  That is not the solution either in the long, medium or short-term”.

5 Strategic Directions

Mr Martin Brettenthaler, Chairman, launched EPF’s 5 new Strategic Directions: Role Model Industry, Climate, Wood Availability, Harmonisation and Regulation.  These were accompanied by a short video and a fact sheet and may now be found on EPF’s website: www.europanels.org.

The 5 Strategic Directions are the focus areas of EPF’s work in the coming years.

 

Elections

EPF’s General Assembly accepted the resignation of Mr Bernard Thiers, CEO of UNILIN as Vice-Chairman and Managing Board Member, thanking him warmly for his many valuable years of service and support.  Replacing Mr Thiers, Mr Pablo Figueroa López, Executive Committee member of FINSA, was chosen as the new Vice-Chairman and Mrs Veronique Hoflack, President of UNILIN Panels, was elected to the Managing Board.

Era of sustainability

Despite the turbulent times bringing a multitude of challenges, EPF looks forward to playing its role as a role model industry in the economy, in the environment and in society during the coming years.  This was symbolised by the ringing of the wood-based panels bell by Mr Brettenthaler and Mrs Hoflack.  With this, EPF hopes to usher in a new era of sustainability in construction, furniture, packaging and other markets served by innovative, climate-smart wood-based panels.

 

 

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