Press Release: Wood4Bauhaus Conference announcement

PRESS RELEASE

The New European Bauhaus: wood sector sets out its stall

wood4bauhaus Virtual Conference Thursday 8 April 2021

Keynote address to be given by top adviser to EU Commission President

“A mastermind of the Bauhaus”

In her call for a New European Bauhaus movement, EC President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed that wood can play a key role in transforming the built environment into a carbon sink[1]. Central to her thinking is Professor Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who has recently been named as an ambassador for the New European Bauhaus High-level Roundtable and who will deliver the keynote address of the first conference of the Wood4Bauhaus Alliance.

Welcoming the President’s inspirational new initiative, the European wood-based sector launched the Wood Sector Alliance for the New European Bauhaus (Wood4Bauhaus.eu) to establish an open platform of stakeholders. This newly established sectoral alliance is initiated by several umbrella organisations: the InnovaWood EU network for wood research, innovation and education, the European Wood-Based Panel Federation (EPF), the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) and the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS). It has also the support of the Horizon 2020 project consortia BASAJAUN and WoodCircus.

wood4bauhaus.eu intends to become an active Partner of the New European Bauhaus and, as a first initiative, will hold on 8 April 2021 a Virtual Conference on how the wood sector can contribute to the new Bauhaus.

Wood is an extremely versatile natural material and a circular material par excellence. Long-life products using wood can store carbon for decades or even centuries in buildings and living spaces. The conference aims to raise awareness of the transformative power of the Circular Economy, put a spotlight on the versatility of innovative wood-based products and building systems, and propose dedicated co-creation partnerships with the wood sector for the New European Bauhaus.

As highlighted by Mr Clive Pinnington, EPF Managing Director: “Wood and wood-based panel products are natural, sustainable and climate positive. They offer multiple benefits including energy efficient construction and innovative furniture materials and are therefore a perfect fit for the objectives of the New European Bauhaus”.

In the words of Mr Paul Brannen, Head of Public Affairs for CEI-Bois & EOS and a former MEP: “We are delighted that Professor Schellnhuber, one of the brains behind the new Bauhaus, has agreed to address our conference which will highlight the key role wood can play in tackling climate change, providing affordable housing and bringing beauty into our built environment”.

Dr Uwe Kies, Secretary-General of InnovaWood, underlines: “The New European Bauhaus is a great opportunity for companies, researchers and students in the wood sector to become part of this transformative movement. Joining our forces and knowledge we can co-create climate-friendly solutions and literally build a more sustainable future for our cities and rural areas. We welcome all who wish to take this first step with us”.

Mr Tom Deleu, General Secretary of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) pointed out: “The alliance will demonstrate that more building and renovation with wood will contribute to the EU’s ambition to turn the building sector into a carbon sink. It will also be demonstrated with plenty of examples that climate friendly and energy-efficient buildings can be attractive and comfortable and, the sector can also be a driver for quality jobs in rural areas.”

Speakers include architects, designers, industry representatives, researchers and policymakers. For more information, the complete programme of the conference and registration please visit the conference website: wood4bauhaus.eu

[1] State of the Union Address 2020, 16/09/2020

Brussels, 11 March 2021

© 2021 Wood Sector Alliance for the New European Bauhaus

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

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.

 

EPF launched its new “Fire & Explosion Safety Task Force”

#Safety

On 19th March, EPF proudly launched its new Fire & Explosion Safety Task Force. Its objective is to share the learnings from incidents and near-misses between participants, to provide an ever-safer workplace environment in the European #woodbasedpanels industry.

15 leading safety professionals from 8 countries met in Brussels to focus on 3 case studies from Poland, Germany and Belgium. This was followed by an educational particleboard factory visit, with special focus on safety.

 

Key topics for EPF’s new Fire &Explosion Safety Task Force are likely to include spark prevention, dust removal and incident suppression. Case study learnings will lead to proactive preventative measures. Next meeting will be 22 October in Portugal.

EPF present at the MEP Awards 2019

#MEPAwards19

2019’s ceremony of the Parliament Magazine MEP Awards was hosted on 20 March by Seb Dance, Member of the European Parliament. EPF presented the Energy Award to MEP Vladimir Urutchev. EPF thanked MEPs for the support given last year on #REDII to a level playing field for wood, a truly #sustainable and #renewable (but not unlimited) resource.

The European Panel Federation (Clive Pinnington, Managing Director & Kris Wijnendaele, Technical Director) enjoyed talking with the nominees of the Environment Award, MEP Catherine Bearder, MEP Mark Demesmaeker, and eventual winner, MEP Benedek Jávor, on dinner tables made of #woodbasedpanels, showcasing natural products favourable to the environment.

EPF thanks Dods for organising last night’s excellent event. EPF thanks all MEPs for their hard work in the current term and wishes everyone well in the upcoming elections. EPF looks forward to working with the new Parliament towards a #climateneutral Europe.

Congratulations to all MEPs for your dedication this term, good luck in your re-election campaigns (and don’t forget to fill your homes and offices with wood-based panels as a direct contribution to a climate neutral Europe!)

 

EPF announces 3% production growth in the European wood-based panels industry during 2017 at its Annual General Meeting

EPF celebrated its 2018 Annual General Meeting in Lucerne Switzerland, kindly hosted by the Swiss Krono Group.  Over two days EPF held its General Assembly, Economic Working Group meeting and dedicated Product Group meetings.  These sessions were open only to Regular members, whereas the final event was opened also to Associate members and Press contacts.  It was in this final meeting that EPF publicly announced the key figure from its Annual Report 2017/2018, being a growth in volume of 3% during 2017 across all panel types.

 

EPF members will meet again for their next General Assembly in November 2018, and the 2019 AGM is provisionally scheduled for 26-28 June 2019, with the location still to be announced.

For further information, please go to the Members’ Section, or contact the EPF Secretariat.

EPF takes its RED II message to the top in a meeting with DG Energy’s Director General Mr Dominique Ristori

As part of our regular engagement with policymakers, EPF met Dominique Ristori, Director General of DG Energy in the European Commission. The focus of the meeting was to present the industry position on RED II, Cascade, Waste Wood, Recycling and Regional Wood Diversity. Following the meeting, we have agreed an ongoing dialogue with Mr Ristori and his team in DG Energy, and will continue to contribute to the policymaking process where appropriate.