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The European Woodworking Industries are ready to match the EU increased ambition towards the 2030 Climate targets

Please find here a joint Press Release of EPF, CEI-Bois, EOS and FEP on the State of the Union address that European Commission President von der Leyen presented yesterday in the European Parliament’s plenary session.

In her statement, she clearly said that: “Our buildings generate 40% of our emissions. They need to become less wasteful, less expensive and more sustainable. And we know that the construction sector can even be turned from a carbon source into a carbon sink, if organic building materials like wood and smart technologies like AI are applied. I want NextGenerationEU to kickstart a European renovation wave and make our Union a leader in the circular economy.” Click here to see how she said it!

EPF is delighted to see wood, and therefore also wood-based panels, specifically highlighted at such a high political level as a core material for Europe’s recovery and future.  We are ready and committed to meet this ambition.

The full text of Mrs von der Leyen’s speech is available on video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBakPRQUq-I

Programme of the 12th European Wood-based Panel Symposium, 30 September – 2 October 2020 in Hamburg, Germany

European Wood-base Panels Symposium 2020 Programme

The bi-annual Symposium will take place from 30 September to 2 October 2020 in Hamburg. Registration for the conference can already be carried out with immediate effect via the dedicated Symposium website www.european-wood-based-panel-symposium.org.

The Symposium is again organised by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI and the European Panel Federation EPF in co-operation with the International Association for Technical Issues related to Wood iVTH e.V. and the company SasolWax.

For over 2 decades, this Symposium is the meeting point for the technical and environmental experts in the wood-based panels and related industries and its suppliers as well as research and education institutes and specialised consultants. During the next edition, the presentations will be focused on the categories Raw Materials, Process technology, Furniture application, Insulation application and User requirements.

A special programme committee comprised of academic and industry experts will examine the proposals and select the best presentations for the conference. All the necessary information concerning the submission of an abstract can be found on the Symposium website.

Should you be interested in the sponsoring opportunities related to this symposium, please kindly contact the symposium secretariat at WKI.

EPF launches its Position Paper on the European Green Deal

Following the European Parliament’s recent declaration of a climate emergency, European Commission President von der Leyen unveiled in December 2019 the European Commission’s plans to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050: the European Green Deal. The Commission President committed herself to deliver the first detailed proposals within the first 100 days in office. In January 2020, the Parliament voted on its Resolution on the Green Deal with a large majority calling for the decarbonisation ambitions to be set to at least 55% reduction of greenhouse gases emissions for 2030. Ahead of the March Plenary session in Strasbourg where the first set of statements will be presented by the European Commission on the Climate Law, the New Circular Economy Action Plan and the EU Industrial Strategy, EPF publishes today its Position Paper on the European Green Deal.

The Position Paper presents the priorities and demands of the wood-based panels industry with concrete proposals to stimulate the sector in line with the objectives of a circular and innovative economy as set by the guidelines of the European Green Deal. More specifically, the Paper presents a set of four concrete proposals to help the wood-based panels industry to contribute to the goals of the Green Deal:

  • the guarantee of a level playing field and secure supply for wooden raw materials;
  • the use of sustainable bio-based products to fight climate change;
  • the cascade use of harvested wood products;
  • the promotion of climate-friendly products.

Wood-based panels are innovative circular products that store carbon throughout their whole life cycle. They are mainly used for furniture, construction, packaging and other everyday applications.  Panels can help substitute energy-intensive fossil-based materials in construction and renovation of the built environment. Wood-based panels are time, cost and energy efficient and offer enormous potential towards delivering the societal change targeted by the European Green Deal.

Click for the full EPF Position Paper on the European Green Deal

Club du Bois, European Parliament, 8 January 2020

 

 

 

The Club du Bois event that was held on 8 January 2020 at the European Parliament was a huge success!

For more info, check out our Press release.

Please find the full Report of Club du Bois event here.

 

DRAFT AGENDA
Club du Bois
Brussels, 8 January 2020

  1. Opening (6.30 pm) and welcome by MEP Mrs Maria Noichl, Chairwoman of Club du Bois.
  2. Presentation by EPF Chairman, Dr Paolo Fantoni on “Wood-based Panels: A innovative industry turns a traditional material into a model of the circular economy, and a climate champion”, with special focus on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and developing work with wood education with universities.
  3. Presentation by EOS Chairman, Mr Sampsa Auvinen on “Overview of the economic and politic dynamics that characterise the European sawmill industries including considerations on raw material supply and forest diseases”.
  4. Presentation by a CEI-Bois senior member of the European Woodworking Industry on the priorities for the new EU term 2019-2024.
  5. Audience discussion and handover of the Chair to MEP Mrs Simona Bonafè, by Mrs Maria Noichl.
  6. Networking cocktail and close (8pm)

Ursula von der Leyen’s new Commission

  • Ursula von der Leyen’s new Commission

The incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled the portfolio allocations for the new college of European Commissioners last week. The appointments are still subject to confirmation by the European Parliament, in a series of hearings starting 23 September and set to run for a couple of weeks.

On behalf of the wood-based panel industry, we would like to congratulate Frans Timmermans, Sylvie Goulard and Virginijus Sinkeviçius on their nominations as the members of the incoming Commission who will be most concerned with our sector of the European economy.

  • Frans Timmermans – The European Green Deal

Politically, one of President von der Leyen’s most important objectives is the European Green Deal, which aims to bring Europe’s ambitions on tackling climate change, energy policy and environmental protection to a new level. This includes enshrining the target for EU climate neutrality into law by 2050, and more ambitious goals on reducing emissions. To deliver on this promise, President von der Leyen has nominated Frans Timmermans, a Dutch Social Democrat and an incumbent Commission Vice President from the Juncker college.

As part of our industry contribution to the Green agenda, we are proud that the natural carbon sink properties of wood-based panels make the increased use of harvested wood products, such as panels, an ideal route towards the EU’s achievement of the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. Thanks to their positive effects on the environment, natural materials such as wood-based panels are well placed to contribute to the global efforts to mitigate climate change. For this reason, we urge for greater use of panels in furniture, construction, packaging and in other every day applications.

To find out more, please consult our website

  • Sylvie Goulard – Internal Market

Sylvie Goulard is a former member of the European Parliament and has been nominated for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs portfolio in the new College of Commissioners.

One of her tasks will be ensuring that the EU Circular Economy Action Plan feeds into the overall EU industrial strategy. To this end, we welcome Mrs Goulard’s ambition to implement the Action Plan and to ensure an efficient and optimal use of European resources, including wood-based materials.

We also encourage Commissioner Goulard to maintain harmonised European rules as a cornerstone of the Single Market, especially in the context of the Construction Products Regulation. We oppose fragmentation on every level and promote common legislation throughout Europe for the production, import and marketing of wood-based panels.

We firmly believe that a level playing field is central to the re-establishment of a strong industrial core at the heart of Europe. For this reason, EPF has recently joined a coalition of 145 European federations known as Industry4Europe.  Together we call on the European Union to implement an ambitious EU industrial strategy with a long-term vision and action plan

To find out more about how we support Industry4Europe, please consult the website.

 

  • Virginijus Sinkeviçius – Environment and Oceans

The Lithuanian nominee Virginijus Sinkeviçius will be the first-ever “Greens” Commissioner. In this capacity he will lead the Commission’s work on the new Circular Economy Action Plan, looking at how to contribute to a climate-neutral economy by increasing material circulation, encouraging sustainable material cycles and addressing the environmental impact of the sourcing of raw materials.

To that end, we encourage him to enhance the role of natural materials and, in particular, the role of wood-based panels in the EU’s bio and circular economy ambitions. Panels use material from sustainable sources, with more than half of the woody biomass raw material being either recycled or an industrial by-product.

Panels are a model example of the circular economy, especially due to the principle of the “cascading use” of wood. By using, re-using and recycling wood, our industry seeks to keep this valuable resource in the material and economic cycle as long as possible.

To find out more about how we support the “cascading use” of wood, please consult our website, and to find out more about our sustainability priorities, please click here.

 

PCWIE – Final Conference, Porto 24 May 2019

The Final Conference of the 2 Seminars “Perspectives and Challenges of the Woodwork Industries in Europe”, took place in Portugal, Porto and Lisbon,  is a joint organization Cei-Bois European Industrial Industries Confederation / EFBWW- European Federation of Building and Woodworking Industry / and EPF – European Federation of Panels.

The “Final Conference” addresses the conclusions and directives of the Porto and Lisbon meetings.

For more information, please check our joint press release here

For a video ahead of the Final conference, click here

 

EPF strongly supports the Single Market

EPF calls for European harmonisation of E1 as the minimum allowable standard, and for ½ E1 as a new market class

The European Wood-based Panel Federation (EPF) clarifies the common position of its members following developments in market, regulatory and judicial affairs, and with the unanimous agreement of its General Assembly given on 3 April 2019 in Brussels.

EPF strongly supports the single European market. It endorses harmonised standards across all EU-28 Member States. EPF welcomes the decision of the European Court of Justice in case T-229/17 on 10 April 2019, as it upholds the common European requirements of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). This prevents fragmentation and the possible introduction of specific requirements by individual Member States. EPF feared the confusion that this could have caused to consumers.

European wood-based panels are used for furniture, construction, packaging and many other applications. CE-marked panels are produced according to EN 13986, the harmonised European standard for wood-based panels for use in construction. This defines two classes for formaldehyde emissions being E2 and E1. EPF members have committed since 2007 to make only E1 (or lower).

With its project E1 Compulsory, EPF seeks to ensure that no panels circulate in Europe with an emission level above that permitted by E1. ECHA’s recent proposal for a restriction recommends to: “restrict the placing on the market or the use of all articles releasing formaldehyde at concentrations greater than or equal to 0.124 mg/m³ in the air of a test chamber used under the conditions prescribed in EN 717-1.” This matches E1, the ambition of EPF, and is thus supported.

With its project New Standard, EPF wishes to respond to market demand by adding a new class to the harmonised European standards to be known as ½ E1, with emission limits set at half the value of E1, tested according to EN 717-1. A request for such an additional class (see Annex for further details) has been made to the European Commission and CEN (European Committee for Standardization), asking for the fastest possible introduction, and is currently under consideration.

Chairman Dr Paolo Fantoni comments: “EPF members expect for E1 to be confirmed EU-wide as the minimum requirement for concerned panels by the urgent restriction process, thus delivering greater regulatory control, and for ½ E1 to be introduced as a new voluntary European class as soon as possible, thus responding to market demand”. Precise timings, especially for ½ E1, remain open due to various issues, including available testing capacity.

EPF urges caution on any demands for panels that go beyond these, especially if they infringe CPR which delivers common European requirements and a level playing field for construction products, including wood-based panels. EPF will give the latest update on the rapidly evolving topics of E1 and ½ E1, as well as on other EPF activities at its Press Conference to be held on Tuesday, 21 May 2019 at Interzum in Cologne.  All press contacts are warmly invited to attend.

EPF Proposal for a new Formaldehyde class – April 2019

EU Conference “Our Forests Our Future” Brussels, 25-26 April 2019

The European Commission organised a significant conference “Our Forests, Our Future” to analyse opportunities to enhance the forest sector’s contribution to EU priorities. High-level speakers included Commissioner Phil Hogan (Agriculture & Rural Development), Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete (Climate Action & Energy) and Commissioner Neven Mimica (International Cooperation and Development).  EPF was honoured to share the same podium, Managing Board member and Garnica Plywood Director, Mr Guillermo Hernanz having been invited to deliver a unique perspective on this topic, especially plantation forestry, from Southern Europe.

 

 

Sustainable forest management, the multifunctional role of forests, resource efficiency and global forest responsibility are the guiding principles of the EU Forest Strategy, adopted in 2013. In 2018, a review of the strategy took stock of the actions implemented under the strategy, and the progress towards achieving its objectives for 2020. It concluded that 90% of the required actions had either been completed, or were underway, as highlighted by Commissioner Hogan in his opening address.  Commissioner Hogan used the platform to urge that a new strategy be launched after the completion of the current one.

The first day sessions focused on the contribution of forests and the forest-based sector to innovation, growth and jobs, on EU priorities and on opportunities and challenges (balancing GHG emissions) following the Paris Agreement.  EPF’s Board member Mr Guillermo Hernanz (Garnica Plywood) participated in the panel discussion on the increased demand for wood-based renewable energy, the search for bio-materials and the drive towards zero carbon buildings and products.  In particular, he was asked to comment on whether the price and value of wood today will encourage a new generation of forestry?  He highlighted the contribution of wood-based panels to the EU’s long-term ambition of a climate neutral Europe, emphasising that wood-based panels sequester carbon long after a tree is harvested.  He presented the benefits of plywood, especially its application as a lightweight and structurally strong product.  He called on the EU to support poplar and plantation forestry, especially in Southern Europe, where the future availability of suitable plywood raw material will be very challenging.

It should be highlighted that the Moderator, when introducing Mr Guillermo Hernanz, said that he had looked up EPF on the internet, and had been amazed to find that the industry accounts for 22 billion EUR of turnover and 100,000 jobs.  He was astonished (and delighted) to discover that this was such an important industry and was thus all the more pleased to welcome Garnica and EPF to the podium.  During the panel discussion he was furthermore boosted by the discovery that almost all of the wood-based panel industry’s biomass raw material comes from Europe, and he shared his pleasure in learning this with the 300-400 high level delegates present.  In short, this was a fantastic and very positive promotional occasion for EPF, enabled by the invitation to Mr Hernanz to participate as a speaker at the conference.

Trade Issues with Stakeholders in Morocco

 

On 5 April 2019, EPF joined the EU delegation to Morocco and 4 EU Member States in a meeting with the Moroccan Industry Ministry in Rabat to defend the interests of the European coated particleboard exporters against a possible safeguard measure.

By protecting the sole domestic particleboard producer, thousands of jobs in the Moroccan furniture industry could be put at risk.

For more information: https://www.lavieeco.com/news/economie/entreprises/bois-revetu-les-dessous-du-differend-opposant-cema-bois-de-latlas-aux-importateurs.html

With 120 participants, this was unprecedented in Morocco and raised interest by major domestic press. Debates between Moroccan stakeholders were at some point very lively.

For more information: https://www.leconomiste.com/article/1041597-bois-la-surprenante-piste-europeenne-de-l-antidumping

EPF made its position clear and intervened during the public hearing on commercial defense held by the Moroccan Industry Ministry on 28 February 2019.

Morocco launched its safeguard investigation on coated particleboard imports in July 2018. Responding robustly, EPF capitalised on previous experience, such as its successful 2015 intervention in the Tunisian safeguard investigation (now shelved). EPF advocates strongly for its members’ interests anywhere in the world.

EPF member of Industry4Europe

EPF is delighted to have become a Member of the Industry4Europe coalition: 157 organisations from across the EU will campaign for an ambitious EU industrial strategy. Industry4Europe will help to set the vision for the long-term future of the EU’s industrial and manufacturing strategy.

Industry4Europe published several Joint Papers and Declarations on establishing an ambitious Industrial Strategy. The latest Industry4Europe joint call to the EU27 ahead of the European Council Summit at the end of March 2019 asked for a vision to ensure that Europe remains a hub for a leading, smart, innovative & sustainable industry, that benefits all Europeans and future generations.

On 10 April 2019, Industry4Europe & the Romanian Permanent Representation to the EU organised a joint strategy event: “Setting the scene for an industrial vision for 2030 and beyond”. The EU27 invite the European Commission to present by the end of 2019 a long-term vision for the EU’s industrial future, with concrete measures to implement it, addressing the challenges European industry faces and touching upon all relevant policy areas.