An important event in terms of development of environmentally-friendly wood-based panels took place this July in the Limousin region of central France.

At the headquarters of MDF producer Panneaux de Corréze, a new panel product was launched as a result of a development project with French resin technology specialist Evertree.

It’s described by Evertree as a ‘world first’ – the first bio-based MDF board, using 100% bio-resin, containing no added formaldehyde or isocyanate.

More than 70 people attended the launch event at the Ussel production site of Panneaux de Corréze.

“It’s a landmark and very important for us, basically it was a target of the last four years of R&D for Evertree to develop the new bio-based resin,” Nicholas Masson, Evertree CEO, told WBPI after the launch event.

“Since the middle of 2019 we have been working with Panel de Corréze on a partnership in order to launch the product. Customers and potential customers attended the launch – distributors, wood panel finishers, the furniture industry, with several potential partners working on a new furniture range using these boards.

“They were very excited about the product and the prospect that they can make something from it.”

Philippe Mocaer, president of Panneaux de Corréze (the factory was formerly run by Isoroy before a management buyout in 2015), highlighted Next as a purely French innovation between two French companies that share the same values and the same philosophy of eco-responsibility. For 30 years, the Ussel production site has produced MDF wood panels, which are sold under the Medium and Clairpan brands.

“Next is ready to meet the public’s demand and therefore our customers’ needs for ‘green’ panels that do not release formaldehyde into the air,” said Mr Mocaer.

“They will be able to use Next in shop fittings, hotels, restaurants, in doors, parquet floors, skirting boards, in furniture and more generally in all establishments open to the public.”

The partners say that the physical characteristics of the Next panels are the same as standard MDF panel made by Corréze.

“So, the same quality, but without the formaldehyde, isocyanate, utilising a bio-based resin which is manufactured locally in France, so we improve the carbon footprint of the final product as much as possible,” added Mr Masson. “The emissions are the same as natural wood.”

As reported previously in WBPI, the Evertree resin product is derived from rapeseed and sunflower seed.

Grown throughout France, rapeseed and sunflower seeds are rich in oil and vegetable proteins, used in food and nonfood applications (as a source of renewable energy or in plant chemistry).

Rapeseed and sunflower oils are obtained by crushing and pressing the seeds, leaving a co-product: oil-cake, a protein-rich material which is used to make the resin. More than 20 million tonnes of oilseed cake are produced each year in the EU.

Evertree’s Green Ultimate resin is produced in the Avril Group’s factories located in France and is designed as an effective ecological alternative to the traditional petro-sourced products of the wood industry.

Green Ultimate was developed in partnership with the FCBA as part of the Respire project.


Evertree says wood-based panel producers were obviously an important focus, but promotional work was needed for the rest of the supply chain, including distributors and furniture makers. To this end, Evertree is working together with Panneaux de Corréze on the commercial side in order to make the new panels widely known to the furniture manufacturers.

“What we want is the final customer to get a product which is VOC free and without formaldehyde and isocyanate, while made according to modern standards in terms of environmental protection and health and safety,” said Mr Masson.

Furniture manufacturers have told the partners there is high demand from furniture buyers for such products.

“And the demand is getting higher. Furniture manufacturers’ customers are requesting more information about where a product comes from, how it is manufactured, what the carbon footprint is, what are its impact on our health? There is an opportunity for them use the product to launch new furniture ranges and the story of a locally sourced product resonates with the young generation.”

Evertree is allowing furniture makers to use the name ‘Green by Evertree’ for furniture ranges if they wish.

“What’s very interesting is different furniture manufacturers won’t necessarily market the same benefit. Some of them are very focused on environmental aspects. They know they can improve the carbon footprint of the furniture by more than 20%. Other manufacturers are focusing on the health aspects of the products.

“I’m sure it will be a big talking point in the panels industry in the years to come. People will always explain that formaldehyde is not that toxic for health and there is debate between scientific experts. Today there is more distrust between people and what the scientists say. I think let’s get rid of the chemicals that may be harmful, then it’s always better for the customers as they will feel safer.”

The wood used to manufacture the panels is harvested from sustainably managed forests within a 70km radius of the production site.


At the moment it is just MDF being made using Evertree’s bio-based resin, at the 150,000m3 capacity Panneaux de Corréze.

“Panneaux de Corréze is our first partner in MDF but we will be looking for other partners in the MDF industry to be able to distribute the product more widely in Europe,” said Mr Masson.

Subsequent agreements with other MDF producers would require different brand names to be used for the product.

“We are looking for both people in the supply chain and other MDF manufacturers as close as possible to furniture manufacturers. We want furniture manufacturers to be able to work with their usual manufacturer when purchasing bio-based MDF.

“We are also looking for a solution for some particleboard manufacturers and we should make the first industrial scale trial and production by the end of this year. The target is to have a commercial solution for particleboard next year.”

Evertree says it has many prospective particleboard candidates interested in producing the material, from which it has selected several potential partners that are willing to run an industrial scale trial.

OSB may prove to be a nut that is harder to crack due to the need for greater water resistance compared to MDF and particleboard.

Mr Masson said currently it would be difficult to use a 100% bio-based resin in OSB because the water resistance qualities could not yet match non bio-based resins.

However, Evertree’s Green Boost additive can be used in OSB manufacture, which allows a 20% reduction in the quantity of conventional resin used, while maintaining the same performance.

“It’s a first step, especially in view of the price of isocyanate today and the lack of material. We plan to develop a resin solution for OSB in next two to three years but at the moment we are focusing on the MDF and particleboard markets.”


What about tomorrow?

Evertree and Panneaux de Corréze and their partners aim to go further: their wish is that all the players in the wood sector adopt virtuous solutions to offer consumers products that are even more respectful of their health and the environment.

Green Ultimate resin and Next MDF are seen as the first step in a broader project.

In order to go even further in contributing to a better world, Evertree has launched Project Green by Evertree to encourage the use of better environmental materials.

The aim of this project is twofold: to achieve homes, furniture, flooring and toys that do not harm the air quality in any way, and also to help decarbonise the industries that manufacture these items so that the environment does not suffer.

For these reasons, the “Green by Evertree” project was born in 2020 and aims to unite the various players in the furniture and interior design industries around solutions that are fully eco-designed, sustainable, locally sourced, without added formaldehyde and without compromising on their performance, design and functionality.

Evertree and its partners, including Panneaux de Corréze and the FCBA Institute, invite all wood, furniture, architecture and interior design professionals to join the movement.

Mr Masson said further targets were to remove formaldehyde and other emissions from other items forming part of furniture and other wood-based products. This includes any glues used, coatings and finishes and even wood raw material.

“So we are looking for partners to have other solutions. We have found people who can provide water-based painting to finish the product and some people are able to put some veneer on the board using glues that are not formaldehyde-based.

“The questions are coming – how can we do the coating on the board, how can we improve the design to make it have less impact on the environment? When you start doing things the right way and promote what you are doing you have to find other partners and the resin manufacturers or the panel manufacturers are not enough on their own to answer all the questions.

“We have picked up a lot of momentum during the last two years and things are moving faster and faster and there is now a lot to say.

“When you’re leading a small company like Evertree and you are going from an innovative company to a stage where products are going to the market it is very good.”

And with availability of Evertree’s raw material increasing in the years to come, scope for expansion is firmly on the agenda.