Support the EU Green Deal
The Spanish EU Presidency and a coalition of European business associations representing 20 percent of EU manufacturing companies met in Brussels on Sept. 26 to discuss how a circular bioeconomy could enable a more strategically independent, resilient and competitive Europe while helping the EU address global challenges, climate change and the shift away from fossil fuels.
Keynote speaker Alberto Ruiz, Advisor for Industry at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, highlighted industrial competitiveness and innovation as priorities of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU. Ruiz pointed out that the green transition can be driven by new industrial models, should be fair, and must put citizens at the center.
The event featured insightful presentations from innovative companies from across Europe that are suppliers of high-quality wood, paper and fiber products. These companies provided real-world examples of how the use of renewable biobased resources is already driving the EU’s green growth engine and meeting the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Veronique Hoflack, executive board member of the European Panel Federation (EPF) and CEO of Unilin Panels, opened the session in the style of a TED talk: “Sustainability is not an option; it is no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have. Converting waste into raw materials is part of our history and is in our DNA. We never accept the status quo, and today our particleboard is an incredible 95 percent recycled wood – a symbol of what’s possible when we challenge ourselves.” Hoflack called on the EU institutions to support such innovation through strong European policies that promote circular economies and keep industry alive in Europe.
Ilkka Hämälä, Chairman of Cepi and CEO of Metsä Group, said: “I am proud of what the Circular Choices Coalition represents. We are a coalition of conviction that brings together 20 EU trade associations to develop open, cross-sector collaboration. We pledge that our sectors will reduce EU carbon emissions to at least 30 percent of EU fossil emissions by 2030 if EU policy decisions move in that direction.” Hämälä stressed that to achieve the industry’s goals, “regulatory coherence across policy areas and the cumulative impact of EU rules are critical.”
Hans Ingels, Head of the Bioeconomy Unit in DG GROW, concluded, “The EU Bioeconomy Strategy is key to achieving the goals of the EU Green Deal. It is important that we work with industry to provide the next generations with a new social and economic model based on the circular use of biological and renewable resources.”
“The success of the EU Green Deal is closely linked to industry, and our coalition is key to shaping the priorities of the next Commission. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity,” concluded Jori Ringman, General Manager of Cepi.
About the Coalition: The Circular Choices Coalition consists of 14 EU business associations supported by another six business associations representing EU forest owners and managers. Together, the members of the Circular Choices Coalition represent experts from the EU forestry, wood, paper and cardboard industries, and renewable energy supply. The coalition represents four million employees, turns over 520 billion euros, and annually captures, stores, and replaces 806 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, or 20 percent of the EU’s total fossil fuel emissions. The coalition provides circular and affordable solutions for a carbon-neutral economy by optimizing the use of sustainable and renewable wood and wood fiber-based products and energy in a responsible and resource-efficient manner. Taking care of the EU’s forests means taking care of people’s needs. Sustainable forest management is a success thanks to the commitment and efforts of forest owners and managers. Any decisions made today will have an impact far into the future. More information is available here: https://www.cepi.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/CircularChoices_EU_Bioeconomy_SHORT.pdf