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 (, +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.

Applicants invited for new position: Technical Adviser

EPF is in search for an experienced and dynamic Technical Adviser.

This is a newly created position reflecting our growing activity. If you have a solid technical background combined with excellent communication and organisational skills, please do not hesitate to apply.

The full vacancy advertisement with more details on the job profile, on what we offer and on how to apply is available here.

For additional information, please contact senior HR-consultant Torben Callens (tel.: 09 243 40 80 / email:

INTERVIEW: Anti-dumping measures – Imports of okoumé plywood from China


Last month, the Council of the European Union adopted the decision to extend anti-dumping (AD) duties on okoumé plywood imported into the EU from China. This decision came into force on 15 June 2023, one day after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Okoumé plywood represents €150-200 million in product sales on the European market.

🔎 To better understand what this decision implies for the WBP industry, EPF asked for the expertise of

  • EPF Senior Economist Mr Orifjon Abidov
  • EPF Board Member and Chairman of the EPF Plywood Product Group Mr Mārtiņš Lācis

🔖 Full Interview

PRESS RELEASE: EPF AGM 2023 in Santiago de Compostela

Brussels, 26 June 2023

On 21-23 June, the European Wood-based Panels Federation held its Annual General Meeting in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. EPF Iberian association ANFTA hosted the gatherings in majestic settings, combining both traditional and modern perspectives.

In association with UNEmadera and with the generous sponsorship of Dieffenbacher, Siempelkamp, BASF, Govi, AFRY, Huntsman and Berndorf Band, EPF proudly welcomed about 200 professionals and high-level guests from across Europe and beyond.

Final consolidated 2022 results

2022 production fell by 7.8 % compared to 2021 and final numbers come close to the pre-crisis levels of 2019. 2022 was a year characterised by a relatively strong first half, followed by a weaker second half, caused by softening user demand and falling consumer confidence, affecting construction, furniture, packaging and other markets.

The outlook 2023 remains challenging, but with healthy long-term prospects for the natural, sustainable, climate positive WBP industry.


Highlights from EPF’s 5 Strategic Directions

EPF was delighted to share 5 current advocacy highlights from its 5 SDs:

  1. Heightened visibility of wood in New European Bauhaus (NEB)
  2. Cascade use to be included in legislation for the first time (REDIII)
  3. Increased political support for use of wood to rise from 45 % to > than 60 %
  4. Successful outcome to projects ‘New Standard’ and ‘E1 Compulsory’ regulation
  5. High level access coming from the Coalition for Circular Choices (4 million jobs in Europe)


EPF’s General Assembly unanimously re-elected Mr Martin Brettenthaler, CEO of SWISS KRONO GROUP, for another 2-year term as Chairman.

‘A vital EPF is now needed more than ever: On the one hand, wood-based panels offer key solutions to the global fight against climate change – the most important societal and economic challenge of our time. On the other hand, our industry is under threat: Our raw material is contested by other, often subsidised user groups, regulation and red-tape on all levels is steadily increasing and as an energy-intensive industry with global competition we are especially exposed to the unrealistic energy policies in several European countries.

The General Assembly also nominated two additional Members to the Managing Board:

Mr Baptiste de Sutter (Linex Panneaux, France)

Mr Jarosław Michniuk (Paged, Poland)

The next EPF AGM will take place on 19-21 June 2024 in Riga, Latvia, hosted by Latvijas Finieris.

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

Mrs Isabelle Henin

+32 2 556 25 89

EPF AGM – 21-23 June 2023 – Santiago de Compostela

EPF was thrilled to hold its Annual General meeting in Santiago de Compostela.

On 21-23 June, we welcomed about 200 professionals and high-level guests from across Europe and beyond.

The AGM, hosted by EPF Iberian member ANFTA followed its traditional schedule:

🔷 21 June: Managing Board meeting
🔷 22 June: Member meetings and General Assembly, followed by a Gala Dinner
🔷 23 June: Open Part conference, with a focus on New European Bauhaus

Programme – Open Part of the EPF AGM 2023 – 23 June 

Biography information on the moderators and speakers of the two roundtables

EPF Open Part Presentation – Key results and Advocacy Highlights

Press Release, 26 June 2023 

Report Open Part AGM – New European Bauhaus: How wood-based panels can bring beauty, sustainability and inclusivity to the built and living environment

We were delighted to exchange with many of you in Spain for this gathering of the European wood-based panels industry.









PRESS RELEASE: EU associations launch coalition for a more competitive, and ambitious, EU bioeconomy

Tuesday 28 March

A new group of 14 EU trade associations including the providers of high-quality wood-based products, fibre-based, paper and board products and packaging, and renewable energy solutions, supported by EU forest owners and managers, has today launched a cross-sectoral coalition. The coalition’s aim is to present EU policymakers with an ambitious common vision ahead of 2030 and, going beyond, one leading to a transition towards a circular bioeconomy.

Now, more than ever, is the time to embed into EU policy the circular bioeconomy as a fully integrated, resilient European value chain. The coalition has made publicly available a paper detailing common challenges, needs, and solutions [STRATEGIC DOCUMENT]. It is also supported by a further 6 associations linked to the forestry sector.

This is the broadest coalition yet representing these value chains. Jointly, its members represent 3% of the EU’s GDP, €520 billion in turnover, and 20% of its manufacturing companies. They are an integrated part of the EU bioeconomy, using local renewably-sourced materials, made and recycled in Europe, and using European technology. But their contribution could go much further. They hope to work with the EU institutions towards creating an enabling policy environment for their sectors to collectively reach climate change mitigation equivalent to 30% of EU annual CO2 emissions. In 2019, this figure stood at 20%.

The coalition’s ambition will require consolidating the EU’s global leadership as a provider of sustainable and competitive alternative solutions for today, and innovative opportunities for tomorrow. Europe’s wood and fibre-based value chains are widely considered a laboratory for the future circular bioeconomy.

In order to be climate neutral by 2050, the EU needs to work with the coalition to accelerate the uptake of bio-products, encourage investments in green technologies for production processes and supply chains, and support a shift towards sustainable consumption while putting in place policies to boost the competitiveness of sustainable manufacturing industries.

The competitiveness of the overall European industry has been impacted by the energy crunch and issues related to the supply of strategic raw materials. Wood-based products, fibre-based paper and board products and packaging, and renewable energy solutions offer resilience and ensure European strategic autonomy and competitiveness via the sustainable management of sources of valuable raw materials, and secondary raw materials and related technology.

Download the paper Circular Choices for a competitive EU Bioeconomy here.

As EPF Chairman Martin Brettenthaler stresses: ‘EPF is proud to be part of this coalition using nature-based products to help realise Europe’s goal of net-zero climate neutrality.  Wood-based panels are integral to this journey using sustainable materials for furniture, construction, packaging and in multiple everyday applications. As a European global champion in this field, we urge policy makers to work with us to place industry, especially the circular bioeconomy, at the heart of this social, economic and environmental transition’.

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

Mrs Isabelle Henin

+32 2 556 25 89

Guest interventions DG CLIMA and New European Bauhaus at EPF Technical and Environmental WG meetings

EPF held its Technical and Environmental Working Group meetings this week.

On 8 February, we were very pleased to welcome two guests, Mr Christian Holzleitner (HoU – Directorate-General for Climate Action) and Mr Borut Cink (Community Manager and Policy Officer at the Joint Research Centre) to our Environmental Working Group meeting.

Mr Christian Holzleitner delivered a presentation on the Proposal for a Regulation on an EU certification for carbon removals.

In his intervention, he stressed that our main objective is to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. Mr Holzleitner shed light on several options to reach this net zero aim by taking more CO2 out of the atmosphere, including geological storage, carbon farming and carbon storage in long-lasting products, especially in the construction sector via the use of wood-based materials. Finding the right mix between these solutions is crucial, he added.

EPF was delighted to be invited by Mr Holzleitner to attend a workshop together with the wood-working industry to further develop discussions and actions, especially on carbon removals.

Mr Borut Cink briefed our members with the latest news related to the New European Bauhaus – its progress report, NEB Compass and other opportunities. He provided us with a presentation of the current and upcoming flagship initiatives such as:

  • NEB prizes – recognising contributors for the green transition, nationally and locally
  • the Dashboard – gathering geospatial data of the NEB activity
  • the digiNEB project – aiming at pooling digital resources dedicated to the New European Bauhaus
  • the future NEB Lab project – highlighting the role of wood in construction
  • the future NEB Academy – addressing the lack of skills and knowledge in the construction ecosystem

Workshops for further collaboration and training plans releated to NEB Academy are to be held at the University of Primorska (Slovenia) where EPF will be invited as an active part of the W4B AllianceEPF and W4B aim to contribute especially to how biobased materials can help to decarbonise the built environment.

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.


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