Strong growth in EU financing for implementing the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of the forest-based sector
Representatives from the European forest value chain gathered in Brussels on 18 November 2015 to celebrate the 10 years anniversary of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP). The Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) and other shareholder organisations highlighted FTP’s significant contribution to the necessary dialogue with EU decision-makers, developing and assuring a leading research, innovation and technology development agenda, which helps to strengthen the European forest sector.

On 18 November 2015 the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP) called various representatives from the forest based value chain as well as the members of FTP National Support Groups (NSGs) to convene in Brussels to celebrate its 10 year anniversary. Together with representatives from the European Commission, the founders and shareholders of FTP as well as other European Technology Platforms (such as on 'Sustainable Mineral Resources' or 'Plants for the Future') they took part in different panel debates, stimulating brainstorming sessions as well as the gala dinner after the conference.

Against the background of various socio-economic and environmental challenges, the importance of FTP and its network was clearly acknowledged by the participants. According to FTP shareholders, significant improvements have been made in the dialogue with various policymakers. “FTP’s work, making research, innovation and technology development a subject for the benefits of the sector is remarkable. Via FTP, the European forest owners are able to pro-actively contribute to the complex EU research and innovation agenda, which is highly needed when aiming for a further strengthened competitive forest sector. Therefore a further strong and active engagement in FTP is also needed in future,” affirmed Aljoscha Requardt, CEPF Secretary General.

 “We appreciate immensely the added value that FTP brings to our sector and also the broad networking opportunity to build partnerships across Europe,” said Per-Olof Wedin, the President of EUSTAFOR. “Overcoming the fragmentation challenges of our value chains and better communicating the representative role of FTP internally is crucial for raising the voice of the sector,” stated Patrizio Antonicoli, the Secretary General of CEI-Bois. “Nowhere else in the world is there such a robust structure to advocate for more innovation in the forest industry,” concluded Bernard de Galembert, Innovation and Bioeconomy Director of CEPI.

“The challenge is to move from promises to real facts and figures. There are still value chains that should be created and assessed. Financial mechanisms and regulatory barriers for the development of a bioeconomy shall not be overlooked,” underlined Waldemar Kütt, Head of the Unit BioBased products and processes of the European Commission’s Research & Innovation Directorate General.

“The ambitious Vision Targets and Strategic Research Agenda of FTP are the foundation on which we contribute together to a better future for both society and the forest-based sector,” declared Johan Elvnert, FTP’s Managing Director in his opening statement. “In addition, the positive trend of public investment in research and innovation projects proposed by the sector over the past years demonstrates confidence that forest owners and industry are capable of delivering sustainable bio-based products and services that will serve as the foundation of a fossil-free society.”

Greetings to FTP from the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, were sent via broadcast at the cocktail reception: “You have been successful in building an EU-wide community of partners. Your passion and commitment really come across in your Vision Targets for 2030, a vision to secure livelihoods and to manage our forests sustainably. By pursuing those targets you are helping the EU to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. You are growing the European bioeconomy and you are securing the supply of a sustainable and renewable raw material.”