The summer General Assembly of EOS, the European Organization of the Sawmill Industry, took place in Brussels on 19-20th June 2023, hosted by the EOS Belgian Member Confédération Belge du Bois – Belgische Houtconfederatie.
The delegates were drawn from across EOS’ membership, which spans 12 countries and represents about 77% of European sawnwood production.
Several guests’ presentations enriched the programme of the Assembly and provided a comprehensive overview of the most important issues for the sawmill industry presently being discussed by European policymakers.
CEPF and Eustafor, representing respectively the private forest owners and the private forest owners, provided their point of views on relevant policy files including, but not limited to, the Deforestation and Forest Degradation Regulation (so-called EUDR), the Carbon Removal Certification, the Nature Restoration Law and the not-yet-published EU Forest Monitoring and Strategic Plans. While the whole forest-based industry value chain supports the fight against climate change and believes that the sustainable use of forests is part of the solution, there is a risk that the combined effect of these policies will entail a reduction in timber harvesting, as the realities and complexity of forest management is not sufficiently taken into account in the legislation.
Bioenergy Europe also gave an interesting presentation on the bioenergy market and on the latest revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III). Pellets prices skyrocketed at the end of last year, but then they plummeted over the last few months – lately they stabilised and it looks like they are now slightly growing. When it comes to the Renewable Energy Directive, while some measures in the revision will be challenging for the Bioenergy Sector, overall the trilogue agreement contains also some positive elements compared with earlier versions of the text.
CEI-Bois, the Confederation of the European Woodworking Industries, gave a presentation regarding the EU policies affecting the usage of wood in the construction sector. There are opportunities for the wood industry as policymakers increasingly realize the importance of wood to decarbonize the built environment as well as challenges, particularly, but not limited to, increasing administrative and financial burdens.
The EOS Secretariat presented the just-published EOS Annual Report, which will be freely downloadable from the 3rd July on the EOS website at the following address: https://eos-oes.eu/annual-reports/. The Annual Report of EOS is the go-to publication to find information and statistics about the European sawmill industry. The Secretariat stressed that in 2022 production declined by around 4-5% both in the softwood and in the hardwood sector and this year another contraction is expected to amid challenging macroeconomic conditions which negatively impact the construction sector.
The Assembly also had an internal part. Policies of interests for the European sawmill industry as well as promotional activities were presented by the secretariat and intensely discussed by delegates, who also approved the 2022 finances and elected the new EOS Board for the term June 2023-June 2025.
The new composition of the EOS Board is the following:
President: Herbert Jöbstl – CEO of Stora Enso Wood Products (Austria) – II Mandate
- Vice-President Softwood: Ernest Schilliger – CEO of Schilliger Holz AG (Switzerland) – V Mandate
- Vice-President Hardwood: Maria Kiefer-Polz – Sales Leader of European Hardwood Production (Austria) – III Mandate
Other Board Members:
- Tino Aalto – Managing Director of the Finnish Sawmills Association Sahateollisuus (Finland)- – I° mandate
- Nicolas Douzain-Didier – Director of Fédération Nationale du Bois (France)
- Mathias Fridholm – Director of Skogsindustrierna (Sweden)
- Kristaps Klauss – Executive Director of Latvian Timber Producers and Exporters Association – I° mandate
- Stephan Lang – CEO of Rettenmeier (Germany)
- Ciprian Muscă– President of ASFOR (Romania)
- Thomas Sève – General Director of Monnet-Sève SA Sève (France)
The Assembly took place on the 19th of June and was followed by a very interesting visit to the sawmill IDE Woods located in Zulte, in the West of Belgium.
The Next General Assembly of EOS will take place in Vienna on October 13, the day after the International Softwood Conference (ISC) 2023. For registering at the ISC and further information: https://isc2023.com/