Newsletter – November 2023

We are happy to share exciting news from the WEI Autumn Congress in Berlin. Keep reading for the congress highlights and the latest updates from WEI.

WEI Autumn congress in Berlin made key appointments. Firstly, the election of our new President for the coming two years. Mr Erik Karlsson (Rundvirke Industrier) was elected by the General Assembly. He thanked Mikael Westin, the outgoing President, for his efforts over the past four years and for delivering a firm platform to increase WEIs lobbying I activities in Brussels. Mr Karlsson also thanked our German colleagues for hosting the event, Andreas Heidel, Jochen Obermeier and Ralph Schultz.

He announced the appointment of Brussels based management consultancy EPPA whose expertise develops consensus between business, European Union, and governments.  EPPA offers WEI a deep know-how about regulatory processes and the politics driving them.

EPPA presented a roadmap – Treated Wood for Decarbonisation: a strategic enabler on the pathway towards carbon neutrality. The project is part funded by EWPM and a joint task force was appointed to agree with EPPA key objectives, measurement and control, and budget for this project with EPPA.

Congress presentations are available via our web-site members portal.

Mr Erik Karlsson, new president of WEI-IEO.

Increasing lobby activities

During its meeting that took place in Berlin earlier this month, the General Assembly, upon the initiative of the Executive Committee, adopted the proposal to increase WEI’s advocacy and lobbying activities. In this framework, the participants decided to work with the Brussels-based consultants EPPA.

During the meeting, EPPA presented the project proposal and, based on preparatory meetings with representatives from both WEI and EWPM.

Main aim is to position wood preservation as a strategic enabler of decarbonization in the wood and forestry economy.

Via leveraging the benefits of treated wood up and down the value chain, the objective would be to make credible and influential recommendations to the EU.

WEI’s policy narrative should put the focus on the environmental, social and economic benefits of treated wood up and down the value chain: from wood resources (forestry) to wood use (mostly construction). Wood preservation should systematically be presented as a crucial link to make the full wood and forestry economy more sustainable, more efficient, more “local”.

EPPA will assist WEI-IEO in developing a political narrative along those lines, in view of engaging with high-level policy-makers as from 2023 and putting its recommendations in the EU 2024-2029 priorities.

To reach these objectives, it has been decided to finance the project together with EWPM.

WEI will cover 100.000€ annually and the General Assembly decided unanimously to accept the following financing proposal:

  • 32.000 EUR will be taken from WEI reserves
  • Membership fee will be increased with 20%
  • All full members and associated members will be invoiced an additional yearly project fee of 454 EUR per contribution unit.

To deliver this project, membership growth will be critical. A membership team will be established before the year end with representation from EWPM. We seek to find membership growth through both SME treater members and some larger industry players too.

WEI Working Group Activities

Our working groups remain active. WEI are working closer with the European Wood Preservation Manufacturers (EWPM) to support with Biocidal Product Regulation challenges. Position papers were submitted to the public consultation process for Propiconazole.

WEI are calling for working group members to assess the classification of treated wood under the EU Waste Directive. Many members have shown an interest in the work and our French members will Convene this working group. Details to follow.

Marketing and Communication is driven by Frederik Westin and his group. He is delivering news items via social media LinkedIn and Facebook under WEI banner. Members should visit these news items and share them with interested parties.

Finally, wood pole interest group are finalising a publication where an independent expert has assessed the carbon sequestration of the EU wood pole population. The publication will assess the environmental risks of wood v alternative materials, primarily fibre glass. The fibre glass sector is aggressively marketing their products to the EU Telecom sector.

Dates for your diary

9th November – Joint task group meeting with EPPA

29th November – TC124 Conveners Meeting

13 – 14 March 2024 – Spring Congress in Brussels

5 – 6 September 2024 – Autumn Congress, Ghent, Belgium

Wood, wood glorious wood, there is nothing like it…
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