EPF Fire & Explosion Safety Task Force and Factory visit of Pfleiderer

On 10 October, EPF held its Fire and Explosion Safety Task Force meeting. This meeting, hosted by PFLEIDERER gathered 25 experts from EPF member companies to delve into strategies and share best practices in terms of fire and explosion safety within the WBP industry.

The day kicked off with insightful presentations, a case study and a visit of the Pfleiderer Group plant in Leutkirch, Germany.

Participants reviewed contributions on protection and preventive guidelines, related to screens and air sifters. These will be further enhanced with the aim to establish an EPF state of the art reference for both processes.

The event concluded with a group photo, capturing the spirit of networking and shared learning among industry experts.

Looking ahead – the next Task Force meeting is planned in Spring 2024, with EGGER extending a kind invitation to host the gathering in Unterradlberg, Austria.

More details in our Press Release.



Circular Choices for a competitive EU bioeconomy – Launch event – 26 September 2023, Thon Hotel EU, Brussels

The audience included around 100 executives and experts in the business ecosystem across Europe as well as media, think tanks, and national EU/policymakers.

EPF’s Managing Board Member and CEO of Unilin Panels, Mrs Veronique Hoflack, was one one of the speakers of the bioeconomy talks.

TED Talk-style session: BIOECONOMY TALKS, with highlights on

  • positive developments, business cases and examples of low-carbon innovations at national level across the sector
  • investments in the EU and challenges companies might face in the upcoming years

Panel debate: Supporting EU competitiveness for green industrialisation objectives

As the Spanish EU Presidency prioritises the reindustrialisation of the EU and how to ensure open strategic autonomy, the role of sustainable value chains of manufacturing industries, such as the ones represented by the Circular Choices Coalition, will be key.

It indeed provides meaningful employment, reduces continuing dependence of Europe on fossil resources and helps cutting carbon emissions of other sectors.

But this focus also opens new questions: How can EU sustainable industries remain competitive in the long term? How to ensure and re-build EU competitiveness while moving towards a circular bioeconomy?


In March 2023, Cepi launched the Circular Choices Coalition for a competitive EU bioeconomy, which promotes the policy and market conditions necessary in the EU to scale-up the circular bioeconomy. The coalition, which is the broadest ever within the sector, brings together 14 EU trade associations that represent providers of renewable products and renewable energy solutions -wood, fibre-based, paper, products and packaging, bioenergy industries. And it is supported by a further of six trade associations that represent EU forest owners and managers.

These integrated value chains are a pillar of the EU economy. They are also key for the strategic autonomy of Europe: they are renewable and sourced, made and recycled in Europe, with European technology. Together, they directly employ more than four million Europeans, representing 520 billion euro in annual turnover. It is also a manufacturing powerhouse: one in every five manufacturing companies in Europe are in this sector.

Copyright © 2023 Cepi – The Confederation of European Paper Industries. All rights reserved.

EPF Fire & Explosion Safety Task Force and factory visit of FINSA

EPF held its last meeting of the Fire & Explosion Safety Task Force on 25 May, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

This meeting, hosted by FINSA gathered around 30 experts from EPF member companies to exchange experiences and discuss best practices on preventive and protective measures as well as training requirements in WBP manufacturing.

Case studies and follow-up actions were discussed before a field visit to FINSA’s headquarters and factory. The next Task Force meeting will be held in Germany on the kind invitation of PFLEIDERER.

More details in our Press Release 

EPF Press Conference @ Interzum – 9 May 2023

On the opening day of the Interzum Trade Fair, EPF was delighted to hold a press conference for approximately 30 trade journalists, members and guests.

Managing Director Mr Clive Pinnington presented the European wood-based panels industry’s provisional indicative 2022 results as well as an outlook for 2023 and beyond. The headline comments were:

  • 2022 production fell by more than 6% compared to 2021, and is expected to finish at approximately the same level as the pre-crisis year of 2019;
  • The year was characterised by a relatively strong first half, followed by a noticeably weaker second half, caused by softening user demand and falling consumer confidence;
  • Whilst 2023 remains challenging, long-term prospects for wood-based panels remain healthy, as evidenced by continuing announced capacity investments

Technical Director Kris Wijnendaele then updated on EPF’s 5 Strategic Directions and presented 5 advocacy highlights being:

  • Cascade in legislation (REDIII);
  • New European Bauhaus;
  • Material use of wood;
  • Regulation for chemicals;
  • Coalition for Circular Choices.

The final consolidated 2022 results as well as further advocacy updates will be given to the press at the next EPF Annual General Meeting on 23 June in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Press Conference Presentation – 9 May 2023 

Should you wish to know more about any of the above, please contact info@europanels.org.

Coalition for Circular Choices: Follow-up meeting with officials from the European Commission’s Secretariat-General

EPF is delighted to have met Mrs Elisabeth Werner, Deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission’s Secretariat-General, responsible for Policy Coordination, and officials from the EC’s Secretariat-General this week, with partners of the Coalition for Circular Choices. This appointment held on 12 April followed the launch of the campaign of the cross-sectoral Coalition.

This was the opportunity, at a senior and influential political level in the European Commission, to deliver the executive summary of the Coalition’s strategic document for a competitive EU Bioeconomy and to be recognised as a role model sector and European global champion representing 4 million jobs and €520 billion turnover, aiming to make a positive climate contribution, equivalent of 30% of current EU fossil emissions.


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.

1st High Level Meeting of the European Wood Policy Platform (woodPoP) – Innsbruck, Austria

On 1st of December, the European Wood Policy Platform held its 1st high-level meeting, co-chaired by Austrian and Finnish governments, in Innsbruck, Austria.

EPF was delighted to be invited to this kick-off event – the starting point of a platform aiming at creating synergies and bringing together knowledge and expertise from relevant stakeholders – government representatives, scientists, business experts, national organisations as well as European and international federations.

Mr Norbert Totschnig, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water and Management of the Republic of Austria and Mr Teppo Lehtinen, Director General of the Department of the Built Environment at the Ministry of Environment of Finland opened the session. Keynote speakers were Mr Ewald Rametsteiner (FAO), Mrs Anne-Christine Ritschkoff (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Mr Petri Heino (Director of the Wood Building Programme at the Ministry of Environment of Finland).

More than 60 participants attended the event. The exchanges mainly dealt with:

  • wood construction
  • innovation
  • wood building technologies
  • market information
  • wood-based bioeconomy
  • best practices and scientific case studies
  • awareness raising, communication on the sector and ways to align policy initiatives and strategies such as the New European Bauhaus

Views were exchanged in support of the WOODPOP CALL on upscaling wood policy cooperation in Europe, which EPF highly values.

12th European Wood-based Panel Symposium

Hamburg, 14 October – “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”. Mark Twain’s words of encouragement were quoted by EPF Chairman and SWISS KRONO Group CEO Mr Martin Brettenthaler in the opening speech at the 12th European Wood-Based Panel Symposium (EWPBS), held on 13-14 October in Hamburg. Mr Brettenthaler recognised the difficulties that the industry currently faces but urged the attendees to continue the sector’s exemplary work in terms especially of sustainability and decarbonisation. 

In the opening sessions, Mr Brettenthaler was joined by Mr Edi Snaidero, Chairman of the European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC) and by Mr Jori Ringman, Managing Director of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). With words such as “cascade”, “resource efficiency”, and “wood availability” recurring in all three tasks, it was noted with pleasure by the audience how aligned the sectors are as the wood-based panels industry seeks to establish itself as a role model industry within the European Green Deal. 

Mr Snaidero underlined the importance of the wood-based panel industry to the furniture branch, looking forward to increasing areas of integration and collaboration across the supply chain; Mr Ringman highlighted that the forest-based industries today make a positive climate contribution equivalent to 20% of current EU fossil emissions, noting that by working together in terms of emission reduction and carbon storage, this figure might reasonably rise to 30%. To optimise this effect, the wood-based panels industry and related sectors should continue to work together as a single, resilient, integrated ecosystem. Mr Brettenthaler assured the attendees that these industry partnerships have been set as a key objective for EPF, together with the 5 Strategic Directions of role model industry, climate, wood availability, harmonisation and regulation. 

Hosted by Fraunhofer WKI, EPF and iVTH, and with HyWax as primary sponsor, 320 delegates from 28 countries enjoyed two days of market updates, technical presentations and networking for the first time since 2018. The 13th edition of the EWBPS is planned for 9-11 October 2024, in Hamburg. 

Wood4Bauhaus Bioeconomy side event

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 (nextensa.eu)

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 info@wood4bauhaus.eu

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

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

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