Parallel to the bioeconomy, says EPF, a central platform of European climate policy is to develop a role for bioenergy as a means of mitigating climate change through the substitution of non-renewable fossil- based fuels with sustainable alternatives.

Whilst supportive of the overall policy objectives, the wood based panel and the wood based panel furniture industries are concerned, explains EFF, by the potentially negative consequences that such policies, intended to develop one industry, can have on another.

Inherent in their activities, wood material producers embrace many of the climate imperatives through growing the carbon store, maximising carbon life, recycling, and recovering the energy at ultimate end of life.

In the ‘Venice Declaration’ EPF unveiled at its annual general meeting in Venice in July a core set of principles for the Circular Economy to help ensure the continued contribution of the wood based panel industry to Europe, whilst still allowing for the conversion of woody biomass waste to energy at the end of its material life.

EFIC, the European Furniture Industries Confederation emphasised its support for these policies intended to support the growth of wooden furniture manufactured in Europe. EPF and EFIC together call upon the European Institutions to integrate these policy principles into future legislation.

Four principles are set out in the Venice Declaration to ensure efficient and optimal use of biomass resources, in line with the principle of cascading use of wood:

  • Balance the pressure on wood availability: determine a level that can be sustainably supplied in the long term; impose criteria taking into account resource efficiency and competition with different wood users; and cap the bioenergy share of fulfilling the RED overall quota.
  • Create a level playing field by removing market distortions: discontinue the financial incentives for woody bioenergy jeopardising the material use of wood; use correct full carbon accounting for biomass by implementing the rules in the LULUCF decision; and remove multiple accounting in the ILUC Directive.
  • Enhance the role of wood in the circular economy: stimulate wood availability by promoting segregation at source particularly from construction and demolition (selective deconstruction); increase the recycling targets for wood packaging waste, and introduce targets for wood recycling from other waste streams; remove legal barriers impeding the material use of urban wood; and cap the total maximum of wood waste going to landfills leading to future ban of wood from landfilling.
  • Create a market pull for wood products: prefer products manufactured from wood in public procurement for building construction; increase awareness regarding growth in carbon stock or extension of carbon life when using wood products in furniture and construction; and to stimulate the increase of the pool of harvested wood products in use thereby extending the carbon sink from the forest.