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More than 9000 European wood processing companies have signed the “Stop Log Exports” petition to be submitted to the European Commission.

Originally the petition has been prepared by the French National Timber Federation and focused on the export of oak logs, but was quickly expanded to include logs in general to keep the domestic economy viable.

Started in France to put pressure on the government there, industry associations from Germany, Spain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland soon joined. But there are also critical voices about this idea, which could, for example, lead to delays in the transport of logs out of the forest if domestic demand falls and exports are prohibited.

Content of the petition

”The Member States of the European Union and the European authorities must act decisively and quickly to save the wood processing industry. At stake is the future of a key element in the wood sector, as well as the recovery of the economy.

Without raw material supplies, the crisis will have direct consequences for other related sectors (industry and crafts, construction and logistics), which will not be able to source materials from Europe and will be dependent on imports from outside Europe.

There is no doubt that the crisis in the supply of timber to sawmills is as violent as ever and will only get worse. The time has come to wake up and acknowledge that European sawmills will soon be in danger of closure and decommissioning if action is not taken to contain the losses that are taking place right now.

In 2020 18 million (m3) softwood logs were sold outside Europe. This is a doubling of the quantity compared to 2019. In the last 6 months, this raw material outflow has doubled. The same has been happening for years with beech and oak logs, causing European production to decline. This applies to all types of wood, even pulpwood is shipped for production.

We are experiencing strong global demand which is causing supply tensions in all sectors. The only guarantor of economically and ecologically stable supplies to the European Union market is the European wood industry. Did we learn nothing from the episode of masks and vaccines?

The demand of entities from outside Europe will increase tenfold due to the passivity of European governments, Russia’s decision to ban the export of unprocessed raw material, and China’s strategy based on sourcing raw materials. European producers need resources to work and fuel the economy that are being plundered without limit.

This situation now affects all sectors (carpenters, construction companies, retailers and traders) and supply problems are felt in all countries. They are unable to secure the stability of supplies in international markets. Disruptions in the supply chains (packaging, transport, etc.) affect the logistics sector if pallet manufacturers cannot find the wood materials they need on site. This economic and environmental nonsense aberration must end now.

Today, Europe shows a strong political will to change its environmental profile and reduce CO2 emissions. Assuming that wood, as the building material of the future, will achieve these goals. On the other hand, mass export of wood raw material destroys all these assumptions, emitting more CO2 during transport to the other side of the world than the tree has stored in its lifetime.

Without securing the supply of raw materials, European producers cannot invest and modernize companies. Europe is one of the last regions in the world not to have a strategy to valorize its natural resources. Through our work, we, wood processing companies, build a European industry that is what Europe should be like: Modern, Responsible and Sustainable.

The services of the Member States and representatives of European institutions have allowed this toxic practice for 10 years. We are currently on the brink of a precipice.

Permission to export European raw material without ensuring strategic and priority supplies for our industry is synonymous with:

  • depriving the wood industry of self-sufficiency
  • the destruction of the sector that provides local jobs
  • a threat to the craft, construction and logistics sectors
  • turning away from our ecological ambitions
  • the work of our predecessors to be wasted and the inability to provide our children with a future in this industry.”

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