woodPoP kick-off in Innsbruck, Austria

On 1 December 2022, around 60 high-ranking experts from 15 European countries and British Columbia/CA, attending as an observer, and 16 wood-relevant national and European stakeholder organisations met in Innsbruck, Austria. Upon the invitation of Austrian Federal Minister Norbert Totschnig the starting signal for the establishment of the ‘European Wood Policy’ Platform” (woodPoP) was given.

The ‘European Wood Policy Platform’ (woodPoP) has been initiated by Finland and Austria, as part of the Austrian Wood initiative of the Austrian forest fund. This platform serves to promote wood-based policy dialogue. High-level experts from politics, administration, economy and research discussed current and future challenges for material and energetic use of wood. The meeting provided strategic impetus for the platform to foster innovative cross-sectoral exchange in context of the bioeconomy and the circular economy.

Aims of the ‘European Wood Policy Platform’ (woodPoP)

  • FACILITATING a wood-focused policy dialogue platform on sustainable production and consumption of wood and its contribution to an innovative, circular bioeconomy
  • FOSTERING cooperation and joint activities on wood related matters as well as effective wood policy development and implementation in the pan-European region
  • PROMOTING the added value of wood, wood-based materials and especially long-lived wood products from sustainable forest management as key drivers for inclusive green growth, contributing to climate protection and mitigation through reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • EMPHASIZING the numerous benefits of multifunctional forests and the need for transformative change in order to foster wood use as a nature-based solution, to promote its climate mitigation and adaptation potential and contribute to halting the global loss of nature
  • ACKNOWLEDGING the broad expertise and vast knowledge of the forest-based sector in Europe as a key enabler to develop efficient, future oriented wood-based pathways
Networking, cooperation and exchange of experiences are important elements in order to secure and to continue to guarantee a solid framework for the future-oriented raw material wood. The wood-based bioeconomy is very important for Austria. The forestry-wood-paper value chain creates around 300,000 jobs and generates more than 20 billion euros - Minister Totschnig
Experts participating on site as well as online emphasised the importance of a cross-regional wood policy and the need for international cooperation. The speech by Minister Totschnig, in which he emphasized the enabling function of sustainable forestry and the strengthening of the wood-based value chain, especially in times of crisis and climate change, met great approval. Pooling regional knowledge and intensifying the exchange on wood policy in Europe can create effective synergies. Especially since the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, countries are increasing efforts in view of enhancing independence from fossil resources and are in particular focusing on the contribution of sustainable wood use as a contribution to regional security of supply.
Wood as a renewable raw material makes an important contribution to a sustainable, climate-friendly future. The European forestry and wood sector offers a variety of solutions in the context of the bio- and the circular economy. Therefore, dialogue and cross-border cooperation in the field of innovative material and energy use of the climate-friendly raw material wood are of outmost importance to Minister Totschnig.