Press release: Building the bioeconomy with nature-based materials and solutions within the New European Bauhaus

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 (

 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

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

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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.  

[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: Wood4Bauhaus Alliance welcomes the European Parliament’s Report on the New European Bauhaus

Today’s adoption by the European Parliament of their Report on the New European Bauhaus is a welcome move. The Report is the work of the ITRE and CULT committees via the rapporteurs Christian Ehler MEP and Marcos Ros Sempere MEP.

 The Wood4Bauhaus Alliance is especially pleased with paragraph 22 on page 12 which reads:  “Stresses the importance of transforming, upgrading and retrofitting the existing building stock, including poorly planned and constructed buildings erected by totalitarian regimes, of applying nature-based solutions such as wood and of reducing waste and increasing durability, re-usability and circularity in the built environment; insists that this should include favouring renovation and adaptive re-use over demolition and new builds, as appropriate, removing barriers related to the handling and transport of waste as well as raising people’s awareness about embodied and stored carbon in materials to enable them to make informed choices”.

In addition, the Wood4Bauhaus Alliance is pleased to see that the Members of the European Parliament recognise once again the climate benefits of building and renovating with wood. The choices that we make when we choose a material have a direct impact on the climate as their production is an important source of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Construction accounts for 40 per cent of the GHG emissions from global materials production in terms of material use with a climate impact. Changes in the design, construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings can reduce the amount or carbon intensity of construction materials required, decrease the energy used during a building’s operation, extend a building’s lifetime and make materials and components available for reuse or recycling. There is significant potential to reduce emissions through substitution of materials with wood and wood fibre. Plant-based materials tend to cause less CO2 in their production and store carbon during their use.

In line with the European Parliament, the Wood4Bauhaus Alliance supports the call of the Parliament to the Commission and the Member States to connect the New European Bauhaus to the Renovation Wave. Renovations that substantially reduce energy use and GHG emissions in buildings while improving comfort for their occupants must be prioritised.

To this end research should be encouraged into green buildings and green materials and techniques that contribute towards sustainable construction and that also bring other benefits to building owners and users. The Wood4Bauhaus Alliance wants to contribute towards lower development costs, lower operating costs, healthier indoor environment quality, improved comfort and enhanced durability.

Finally, the Wood4Bauhaus Alliance is also pleased to see that the Members of the European Parliament recognise the importance of investing in skills and education of employees, apprentices and students (Point 24, page 12). The New European Bauhaus Initiative can only grow and expand when employees have up to date and modern skills and qualifications – starting from quality education in vocational and company-based training as well as higher education.



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

per e-Mail

PRESS RELEASE The EPF Annual Report 2021-2022

Brussels, July 2022 – The European Panel Federation, representing the European manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hardboard, softboard and plywood, is proud to present the 24th issue of its Annual Report published on the occasion of its Managing Board Meeting on 29 June 2022.

This reference handbook for the wood-based panels industry in Europe and globally, which is also available electronically on USB-card, covers the following chapters:

  • Position of the Western European wood-based panels industry within the woodworking industry
  • The particleboard, MDF, OSB, fibreboard and plywood industries in the EPF member countries in 2021 – Facts and figures
  • The particleboard, MDF, OSB, fibreboard and plywood industries in other parts of the world (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and USA)
  • User Industries (building, furniture, flooring materials)
  • Trade issues including Customs Tariffs, the Harmonised System and the New Combined Nomenclature
  • Technical, Environmental and High-Level Advocacy Issues

The special topics for the 2021/22 issue are:“Time for Timber” – The COP26 Manifesto of the European Woodworking Industries by Mr Paul Brannen, Public Affairs Manager for CEI-Bois and former Member of the European Parliament

  • The Positive Climate Contribution of Wood: 20% and rising…..
  • EU Biomass Use in a Net-Zero Economy: An independent consultant’s startling viewpoints

The book also includes maps showing the location of all particleboard, MDF, OSB, fibreboard and plywood factories in all countries covered.

A booklet is provided together with the EPF Annual Report, which contains the list of all particleboard, MDF, OSB, hardboard, softboard and plywood producers affiliated to EPF, with their product specialisation and full contact details. It also lists the national EPF member associations, the associated EPF members and the institutes collaborating with EPF.

You are most welcome to purchase a printed copy of the EPF Annual Report 2021/2022 + USB-card at the price of 1950 EUR and the EPF Annual Report 2020/2021 + 2021/2022 at the price of 2050 EUR (prices without VAT).

The detailed table of contents can be found here and an order form here.

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.


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



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: EPF rings in a new era of sustainability with a wooden bell

Brussels, 29 June 2022

The start of the 2022 Annual General Meeting of EPF, the European Panel Federation, will be marked by the inauguration of a wooden bell made entirely from wood-based panels by the arborist Ben Vanden Berghe. The EPF AGM 2022 takes place in Ghent from 29 June to 1 July.

By ringing this bell, EPF and Fedustria, the Belgian federation of the textile, wood and furniture industries and this year’s host of the AGM, intend to kick off a new era of sustainability in construction, furniture, packaging and other markets served by innovative wood-based panels.  As well as being active contributors to climate change mitigation through natural long-term carbon storage, these products from sustainable sources fit perfectly into the circular economy and optimise resource efficiency through the cascading use of wood. They represent both our past, and our way ahead.

Today, only 45% of Europe’s wood goes to material use. EPF calls on regulators, EU Institutions and consumers to embrace nature-based materials, to prefer the cascading use of wood and thus to drive this usage up to at least 60%. The era of sustainability is upon us.

As EPF Chairman Martin Brettenthaler stressed: “Together with our members and in the traditional yet progressive city of Ghent, the wood-based panels sector, a role model European industry, is proud to ring in the start of an exciting future.”


Press Release: Programme of the European Wood-Based Panels Symposium on 13-14 October 2022 in Hamburg, Germany

Brussels, 2 June 2022

Following the great success of the previous Wood-Based Panel Symposia, EPF is organising the 12th edition of this Technical Conference again this year following the regretful cancellation of the 2020 edition due to the COVID19 pandemic and the restrictions that made such a large gathering impossible.

The Symposium is again intended to serve as a forum for the wood-based panels industry, supplying industries, technology providers, consultancies, research, education and training institutes from Europe and beyond. This symposium will again be organised in co-operation with WKI-Fraunhofer Institut für Holzforschung and with the support of iVTH and Hywax (formerly Sasol Wax). The event will take place in the Grand Elysée Hotel in the centre of Hamburg, Germany, on 12-14 October 2022.

The event will be opened by plenary presentations by EPF Chairman and SWISS KRONO Group CEO Mr Martin Brettenthaler and Mr Edi Snaidero, Chairman of the European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC) followed by a speech by the Managing Director of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), Mr Jori Ringman. We are also happy to announce that Prof Dr Tunga Salthammer from Fraunhofer WKI will present a critical review on the TVOC value during the 2nd day of the conference.

For the full programme, please click Here.

For more information and registration, please visit the website .

EcoReFibre Press Release: European Wood-Based Panels Industry scales up end-of-life recycling and circular use of recovered wood

Horizon Europe project EcoReFibre explores smart sorting and processing technologies to recycle post-consumer waste wood back into fibreboards and into novel building products. Five highly promising pilots with leading panel manufacturers are launched to demonstrate how Circular Economy approaches linked with innovative, digital-supported technologies will enable security of raw material supplies. EcoReFibre’s aim is to increase available wood resources in Europe.

For full Press Release, click EcoReFibre Press Release