PRESS RELEASE: EU funded EcoReFibre project releases its first Video on increasing MDF and fibreboard recycling at industrial scale

Brussels, Tuesday 27 February 2024

EPF is delighted to share with you the release of the first video presenting the essence of the EcoReFibre project, showcasing the benefits and versatility of wood-based panels and innovative advancements in the recycling of fibreboards.

Funded by Horizon Europe (14.8 million € for the period May 2022 – April 2026), the project undertaken by a consortium of 20 partners, underscores the importance of collaborative research and development in driving positive change within the wood-based panels sector.

EcoReFibre aims to increase available wood resources in Europe through more recycling at industrial scale. Its ambition is to enhance circularity by pushing wood recycling to the next level and improve waste sorting technologies. Substitution up to 25% of the virgin fibres currently used in the European fibreboard market is one of the project’s targets.

Highly promising industry-led pilot demonstrations, involving leading panel manufacturers, are being developed through industrial trials into solid business opportunities creating and increasing economic value, circularity and environmental benefits.

EPF is proud to be part of this consortium and looks forward to further joint efforts towards sustainable solutions and increased circularity in the wood-based panels sector.

For further information, please contact EPF Administration and Communications Officer: Mrs Isabelle Henin (info@europanels.org)

PRESS RELEASE: European Panel Federation signs the Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal

Brussels, Friday 23 February 2024

The European Panel Federation (EPF) has signed the Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal. EPF joins 72 leading companies and 34 industry associations representing more than 7.8 million jobs in calling for the Industrial Deal to be put the core of the new European Strategic Agenda for 2024-2029.

A fulfillment of the Antwerp Declaration would allow industry to take its position as a key driver towards a resilient, competitive, and sustainable Europe, that works for all.

A key highlight of this Declaration is its ambition to reindustrialise Europe, positioning Europe as a global leader in sustainable and innovative industry. This message sheds light on the vital role of industry as a driving force for economic growth and job creation, and echoes EPF’s commitments and ambitions as a Role Model Industry. With an annual turnover of about €25 billion and the creation of over 100,000 jobs directly in Europe, our industry is an integral and innovative part of the EU’s bio and circular economies.

The Antwerp Declaration outlines 10 actionable measures, including a streamlining of legislation, and calls for initiatives to position Europe as a global leader in boosting demand for net zero, low carbon and circular products, fostering raw material self-sufficiency, and making the innovation framework smarter.

Signatories represent a broad spectrum of industries from sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paper, steel, mining, aluminium, glass, zinc, metals, textiles, ceramics, biotech and now wood too. The Declaration was presented to European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen and to Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo at the European Industry Summit held in Antwerp on 20 February.

As EPF Chairman Martin Brettenthaler stresses: ‘Embracing the Antwerp Declaration, we advocate for placing the European Industrial Deal at the forefront of Europe’s agenda, aligning with EPF’s objectives and strategic directions. By prioritising reindustrialisation, especially with natural, innovative sustainable products such as wood-based panels, we can play a vital role in delivering the European Green Deal’.

For further information, please contact EPF Administration and Communications Officer:

Mrs Isabelle Henin

info@europanels.org

 

PRESS RELEASE: Martin Brettenthaler remains Chairman of EPF until successor is chosen

Brussels, Friday 2 February 2024

Following the announcement of Martin Brettenthaler’s departure from the SWISS KRONO Group on 31 January 2024, we are pleased to confirm that he has agreed to remain Chairman of EPF whilst his successor is chosen, assuring business as usual for the European wood-based panels federation.

The Board is delighted with the leadership and direction that Mr Brettenthaler has brought since becoming Chairman of EPF in June 2021. In choosing the next Chairman or Chairwoman, the EPF Managing Board will focus on a smooth transition and maintaining the current strategic focus of the association. The Board will next meet in late March in Brussels.

For further information, please contact us at info@europanels.org.

Press Release

Call for Papers: Opportunity to showcase your expertise at the 13th European Wood-Based Panel Symposium in Hamburg

Organised in co-operation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research (WKI) and with the support of iVTH and Hywax, the 13th European Wood-based Panel Symposium will take place on 9-11 October 2024 at the Grand Elysée Hotel in Hamburg.

Registrations are already available via the conference website. This major networking event offers you the opportunity to showcase your expertise. EPF is delighted to invite you to submit an abstract for an oral presentation. 🔖 Deadline to submit papers is Thursday 29 February 2024.

More information on the conditions and on the submission process are available via this link

 

 

 

EPF Chairman Martin Brettenthaler meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, 16 November 2023

On 16 November, EPF Chairman Martin Brettenthaler was delighted to meet with President Emmanuel Macron during his State visit in Switzerland. Together with five other Swiss CEOs of companies, crucial discussions took place for the business community. This was an excellent opportunity to represent both SWISS KRONO Group and EPF, shedding light on core advocacy messages from the wood-based panel industry.

 Interview by EPF Chairman on Radio Télévision Suisse

PRESS RELEASE: EcoReFibre M18 General Assembly: promising results towards industrial trials

Brussels, 16 November 2023

On 7 and 8 November, the EcoReFibre consortium met in Paris for the M18 General Assembly.

Hosted by FCBA technological institute, the meetings dealt with the project’s main achievements until now, work in progress and next steps.

Insightful presentations on the state of play of each of the work packages and demos as well as technical discussions towards joint efforts related to industrial trials contributing to the project deliverables were at the core of the discussions. Interactive workshops dedicated to demonstration and dissemination/exploitation missions were on the agenda to foster further sharing of knowledge, dialogues and collaboration between partners.

The first test results of lab trials are so positive that partners discussed ways to undertake the industrial trial to succeed in industrialisation of the technologies.

The consortium experts also agreed to expand the work to develop and share best practices and recommendations for improving and developing new collection schemes for clean wood and fibreboard waste at industrial scale for the industry to enable increasing recycling rates.

This General Assembly was also marked by the lab tour of FCBA’s Furniture Department, by the promotion of the projects’ multilingual online survey and by the release of EcoReFibre’s first newsletter. If you are interested in this project, the link to sign up is available here.

PRESS RELEASE: Sharing experiences and developing best practices in the realm of fire and explosion safety in the wood-based panels industry

Brussels, 16 October 2023

On 10 October, 25 experts from EPF member companies met in Leutkirch (Germany) to discuss and develop strategies regarding the latest advancements and best practices in terms of fire and explosion safety. Networking and sharing best practices took centre stage, fostering knowledge and learning exchanges among attendees.

“Safety is of highest priority”, Dr Frank Hermann, CEO of Pfleiderer underlined in his opening address, stressing on the wealth of expertise to help preventing and managing incidents, keeping them as harmless as possible. The day started with insightful presentations by Mr Gonzalo de las Alas-Pumariño and by Mr Timo Gauck from Pfleiderer, a leading player in the engineered WBP industry. The spotlight was on a case study involving an explosion with no injury in a silo and sifter in the factory in Leutkirch which occurred in November 2022. Participants delved into the measures and conclusions drawn from this specific incident, sparking discussions on how this experience could be used to enhance safety protocols in other plants as part of the sector wanting to become a Role Model Industry.

Participants furthermore evaluated contributions gathered from member companies on protection and preventive guidelines, specifically related to screens and air sifters. These will now be further enhanced with the goal to establish an EPF state of the art reference for both processes. In a next step, best practices will also be developed for dry mills, potentially other processes.

Following the meeting, participants visited the areas at Pfleiderer Leutkirch’s facilities where the incident took place. Thanks to this visit, participants had the privilege of witnessing a wide variety of cutting-edge technologies, versatile production and gaining insights into the manufacturing processes, control measures, and most importantly the safety features that underpin the plant’s operations.

The next Task Force meeting will take place online on 7 December. It will be followed by a physical Task Force meeting on 17 and on 18 April 2024, on the kind invitation of EGGER, in Unterradlberg, Austria. This continued collaboration of the Task Force members within the European Panel Federation reaffirms the industry’s commitment to advancing worker safety and constant progress.

About EPF – the European Panel Federation has members in more than 30 European countries and represents the manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hardboard, softboard and plywood. The EU wood-based panels industry has an annual turnover of about 25 billion euro and creates over 100,000 jobs directly. Contact us at info@europanels.org.

PRESS RELEASE: EPF applauds cascading use of wood in EU legislation (RED III)

Brussels, 12 October 2023

The European Panel Federation (EPF), representing the European manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, hardboard, softboard and plywood strongly welcomes the cascading use of wood principle being enshrined in EU law. Following adoption by the European Parliament in September, the Council formally adopted the revised text of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII) on Monday 9 October.

The legislation not only highlights the importance of wood as a renewable resource but also sheds light on the need for responsible and efficient use and on the strengthening of sustainability criteria, aligned with EPF’s advocacy calls for at least 60% of Europe’s roundwood harvest to go to material use, to be cascaded through multiple cycles, and ultimately incinerated for energy at end of material life. As highlighted in Article 3(3), ‘Member States shall take measures to ensure that energy from biomass is produced in a way that minimises undue distortive effects on the biomass raw material market (…) with a view to ensuring that woody biomass is used according to its highest economic and environmental added value’.

EPF further applauds the key decisions of legislators not to give subsidies for the burning of industrial grade roundwood (IGRW) and to carry out a report by the European Commission on market distortions and the limitation of support schemes by 2027.

By encouraging the cascading use of wood and these takeaways, the legislation supports a circular and resource efficient-oriented approach, which resonates with EPF’s longstanding commitment to optimal use, responsible and sustainable practices within the wood-based panels industry.

EPF represents the European manufacturers of wood-based panels being particleboard, dry process fibreboard (MDF), oriented strand board (OSB), hardboard, softboard and plywood. EPF has members in 30 European countries. The EU wood panel industry has a turnover of about 25 billion euro every year and creates directly over 100,000 jobs. The production of wood-based panels in the EU-27 (+EFTA) in 2022 was an estimated 59.8 million m³. www.europanels.org

PRESS RELEASE: Advocacy 2024: Circular Choices Coalition meets with Spanish EU Presidency

The Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU and a coalition of European trade associations representing 20% of the EU’s manufacturing companies gathered on 26 September in Brussels to debate how a circular bioeconomy could enable a more strategically autonomous, resilient and competitive Europe, while at the same time helping the EU navigate through global challenges, climate change and a move away from fossils.

Keynote speaker Alberto Ruiz, Counsellor for Industry at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, highlighted industrial competitiveness and innovation as the priorities of the Spanish EU Presidency. Mr Ruiz noted that the green transition can be driven by new industrial models, should be fair and must put citizens at the centre of it.

The event featured insightful presentations from innovative companies across Europe, representing providers of high-quality wood, paper and fibre-based products. These companies showcased real-life examples on how the use of renewable bio-based resource is already driving the EU’s green growth engine, aligning with the objective of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EPF Managing Board Member and Unilin Panels CEO Veronique Hoflack inaugurated the TED talk-style session:

“ Sustainability is not optional; it is not a nice-to-have anymore, it is a need-to-have. Transforming waste into raw materials has been part of our history and is in our DNA. We never accept the status quo and today our particleboards consist of a staggering 95% recycled wood, a symbol of what’s possible when we challenge ourselves.

Mrs Hoflack called on the EU institutions to support such innovation with strong European policies supporting circular businesses and keeping industry thriving in Europe.

Ilkka Hämälä, Cepi chairman and CEO of Metsä Group, stated: “I am proud of what the Circular Choices Coalition represents, we are a coalition of believers bringing together 20 EU trade associations to develop an open cross-sectoral cooperation. Our promise is for our sectors to mitigate carbon emissions in the EU to the equivalent of at least 30% of EU fossil emissions by 2030, if EU policy decisions are made to support this direction.’ Mr Hämälä underlined that to achieve the industry’s targets, “attention to legislative coherence across the different policy areas as well as to the cumulative impacts of EU regulations is key.”

Hans Ingels, Head of Bioeconomy Unit in DG GROW concluded: “The EU Bioeconomy Strategy is key in achieving the EU Green Deal’s objectives. It is important that we work together with the industry to deliver to the next generations a new societal and economic model that is based on the circular use of biological and renewable resources.”

“The EU Green Deal’s success is intricately tied to manufacturing, and our coalition holds the key to shaping the next Commission’s priorities. Let’s seize this opportunity”, Director General at Cepi Jori Ringman concluded.

About the Coalition:

The Circular Choices Coalition comprises 14 EU trade associations supported by a further six trade associations that represent EU forest owners and managers. The Circular Choices members collectively represent experts in the EU forestry sector, the wood, fibre-based paper, and board products industry, and in renewable energy provision. The coalition represents 4 million direct employees, turns over €520 billion and sequesters, stores and substitutes 806 Mt CO2 eq annually, equivalent to 20% of EU total fossil emissions. We offer circular and affordable solutions to deliver a net-zero economy by optimising the use of sustainable and renewable wood and wood fibre-based products and energy in a responsible and resource-efficient manner.  Caring for the EU’s forests means caring for people’s needs. Sustainable forest management has been a success thanks to the commitment and efforts of forest owners and managers. Their decisions today will echo far into the future. Find out more here.

For further information, please contact EPF Administration and Communications Officer:

Mrs Isabelle Henin (info@europanels.org, +32 2 556 25 89)

Dieffenbacher’s Anniversary celebrations – 150 years

Last Friday, EPF was delighted to attend Dieffenbacher’s celebrations in Eppingen, Germany. 2023 marks a significant milestone for this world class family-owned company, and EPF Associate Member, as it celebrates its 150 years of innovating and growing operations. The anniversary event focused both on what has been achieved, as well as what lies ahead, under the motto “Transformation on Solid Ground”.

Mr Christian Dieffenbacher (CEO) opened the celebrations with a keynote speech, as a representative of the 5th generation of a family business that began making fruit and wine presses. As Jakob Dieffenbacher’s great-great-grandson, he now leads this company which employs 1,700 people and generates more than 400 million € in annual sales.

Over the years, Dieffenbacher has been at the forefront of impressive progress and transformation, together with a commitment to sustainability and resource efficiency. This company is currently among the world leaders making high technology wood-panel presses for our sector.

The event was a good occasion for EPF to catch up with many of our members as well as to make new connnections.

A heartfelt thank you to the Dieffenbacher family and team for your invitation, dedication, and support, especially for having sponsored our last Annual General Meeting which took place in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

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