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.


EPF calls for 60% material use in REDIII

According to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre1, in the EU only 45% of EU biomass goes to material use, with 55% used for bioenergy. At EPF we believe that at least 60% of this in-demand resource should be preferred for material applications, such as wood-based panels. In this respect, EPF believes it is of the utmost importance to reinforce the implementation of principles for cascading use of biomass, circularity, and resource efficiency.

The current energy crisis has critically underlined the necessity of scaling up the roll out of renewable energies. Indeed, the negative effects the energy crisis has on the energy prices and market disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine further increases the pressure on woody biomass. It is of greatest importance that policy makers realise that burning wood is not the solution to Europe’s energy shortages. Providing state aid to support to further biomass energy developments distorts commercial markets and deprives material markets such as wood-based panels, paper industries and others of valuable material. As well as adding value to the wood material uses keep the carbon locked up in wood in some cases for many decades, after which it can either be recycled for another use phase or if not possible the energy can then be recovered. Wood is too valuable to squander by burning in the first instance.

In this respect, EPF calls for the necessity to maintain all references to the cascading principle and the waste hierarchy under Art.3 of the Directive. Enshrining the cascading principle is especially important given current supply chain difficulties and material shortages. The retention of the cascading use of wood in RED III, in line with the EC guiding principles of sustainability, resource efficiency, circularity, new products or markets, and subsidiarity is vital to avoid market distortions and ensure the security of supply of raw materials for the industry.

Furthermore, to meet the objectives of climate neutrality, it is important to enhance the sustainability criteria under Art.29 of the Directive to reduce early energy recovery, restore sustainable carbon cycles and increase carbon removals in circular and climate positive harvested wood products. It is essential that subsidies for bioenergy should not create market distortions for raw materials especially for woody biomass and prevent that high quality wood is diverted to energy markets, with associated negative impacts on resource efficiency, biodiversity and sustainable carbon sinks.

Therefore, EPF calls upon the negotiators to bear in mind the above when finalising trilogue negotiations. In the words of Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and keynote speaker at the recent NEB Into The Woods conference held in the presence of EC President Mrs Ursula von der Leyen: “Currently in Europe we are burning 50% of the wood that is harvested. Wood is too precious to be burned. We are burning the book of life before we have studied it”.

7 December 2022


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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: 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.”


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