European parquet markets have diverged in 2022. While Italy, Scandinavia and Spain have seen continuing increases in demand, the markets in Benelux, France and Switzerland have been flat while sales in Austria and Germany have been declining. To a large extent, this last trend is driven by supply side problems as producers have struggled to fill orders due to wood shortages.

The Federation of European Parquet (FEP) comments that this problem of short wood supply is expected to extend into all European markets in the coming months. The supply problems, which began with the serious supply chain disruption during the COVID pandemic, have become more acute since the start of the war in Ukraine.

A large proportion of the wood raw material and semifinished products used by European parquet producers were previously sourced from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. According to FEP, European supplies of wood from these countries have been impacted by (in chronological order):

  • Lack of workforce in Ukraine
  • International payment difficulties with Russia
  • Transport/logistics difficulties with both countries
  • EU ban of all chapter 44 (wood & wood products) imports from Belarus
  • Russian countermeasures including a ban on exports to EU and other’hostile’ countries of 44.03 products (Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sapwood, or roughly squared),
  • PEFC’s and FSC’s consideration of wood from Russia and Belarus as ‘conflict wood’
  • Wood originating from Russia and Belarus ‘practically’ not EUTR (European Timber Regulation) compliant
  • NGOs’ pressure to stop any wood trade flow with Russia and Belarus
  • FSC’s suspension of wood coming from Ukrainian war areas
  • EU ban of all chapter 44 (wood & wood products) imports from Russia

The FEP notes that “due to the already very tense situation on the wood markets and the ecological responsibility, it is not possible for the [parquet] sector to fully diversify sources of wood to other species and/or other countries”.

The European parquet industry, through FEP, is therefore lobbying the EU authorities for temporary safeguarding, mitigation and support measures to the sector.

Specifically it is asking that the EU introduce a measure to restrict oak logs from the region, such as a quota and for “coherent policies allowing higher mobilisation of existing European wood resources (Forestry Strategy, Biodiversity Strategy) as long as principles of Sustainable Forest Management are applied”.

Longer-term FEP has acknowledged the need “to explore sustainable (and recyclable) substitutes and alternatives to oak”.

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