EPF’s Position Paper on the European Green Deal

Wood-based panels offer innovative solutions for better living and an immense potential for circular and accumulating carbon storage for a sustainable future. The European Panel Federation (EPF) members’ products are outstanding models of circular economy and we believe that the European Green Deal is a unique opportunity for wood-based panels to help Europe to achieve its climate and sustainability commitments. Thanks to the natural properties of wood, combined with the innovation of our sector, the wood-based panels industry is committed to making a significant contribution to the fight against climate change in terms of carbon removals through sequestration, storage and substitution.

EPF warmly welcomes the European Green Deal ambitions to deliver climate neutrality by 2050 together with a circular innovative industry for a successful green transition. In this respect, and in order to help achieve the Green Deal objectives, EPF calls on the European institutions to:

• Secure the supply for wooden raw materials and guarantee a level playing field:
▪ Avoid unnecessary market distortions from support schemes for bioenergy;
▪ Develop an integrated policy framework for sustainable forest management to satisfy the growing demand for raw materials and climate-friendly wood-based products;
▪ Support plantations and reforestation that capture carbon, protect soils, rivers and biodiversity, create jobs in shrinking rural areas of Europe and support the European industry;

• Increase the use of sustainable bio-based products and systems to fight climate change:
▪ Assess the environmental and energy performance by categories of buildings to identify the most climate-friendly solutions for construction and renovation;
▪ Reflect results into minimum green public procurement for sustainable products;
▪ Boost the use of biogenic carbon storing materials for better resource and energy efficiency;

• Stimulate the cascading use of harvested wood products:
▪ Promote resource efficiency, waste reduction and extension of the carbon life cycle for the deployment of a circular bioeconomy;
▪ Ensure that bio-based materials, including all wood wastes, return to the value-chain by fostering eco-design, increasing recycling targets and favouring wherever possible the use of secondary wooden raw materials for products ahead of eventual end of life incineration;
▪ Broaden the waste hierarchy principle to materials;

• Enable users to choose climate friendly materials:
▪ Define accurate accounting to measure and confirm the substitution effect of using biogenic products instead of carbon-intensive materials;
▪ Extend carbon storage via greater use of natural products such as wood-based panels and increase the total harvested wood products’ carbon stock.

EPF represents the manufacturers of wood-based panels being particleboard, dry process fiberboard (MDF), oriented strand board (OSB), hardboard, softboard and plywood. EPF has members in 32 European countries. The EU wood panel industry has a turnover of about 22 billion euro every year, creates over 100,000 jobs directly and counts more than 5,000 enterprises in Europe. The production of wood-based panels in the EU-28 (+EFTA) in 2019 was an estimated 57.6 million m³.

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