European flooring market continues to recover
The European ¡®real-wood¡¯ flooring industry continues to
experience moderate growth, benefiting from encouraging
economic developments, especially in construction
Compared to the same period last year, provisional results
for the first half of 2017 point to a continuation of the
positive parquet consumption trends observed in 2016 and
during the first quarter of 2017.
These are the main conclusions of the market discussion of
the Board of Directors of the European Federation of the
Parquet Industry (FEP) when they met in September 2017.
The promising developments reported by FEP members
were registered in all countries where FEP members are
present, with no single country reporting a decline in
consumption. The following conclusions on the market for
real wood flooring were drawn for each country:
Austrian sales increased 2% during the first half of 2017
compared to the same period last year despite intense
competition from alternative flooring types. Belgian
consumption increased 2.5% in the first three months of
Denmark's market is growing at an annual rate of around
1%-2% in line with growth in construction activity.
Sales have been stable in Finland this year, an
improvement after several years of decline. French
demand grew by an estimated 3% in the first half of 2017.
In Germany sales increased by 2% in first half of 2017
reflecting good performance of the construction sector and
despite shortages of craftsmen and harsh competition with
other flooring solutions. Sales in Italy increased 1.5% in
the first half of 2017 on the back of positive economic
developments in the country.
Sales in the Netherlands continue to improve, rising an
estimated 7% in the first half of 2017 due to good
performance of the housing sector, but affordability of
wood raw material and availability of some species is
problematic. Parquet consumption in Switzerland was flat
in the first half of 2017, a situation is expected to remain
unchanged in the second half of the year.
Expanded production of sliced flooring deck layers
In other news from the European flooring sector,
hardwood specialist Danzer re-opened its location in
Souvans, France on 7 September following a 13 million
euro investment in the site which began in May 2016.
According to Danzer CEO Hans-Joachim Danzer, ¡°in
recent years, the global demand for engineered hardwood
flooring has increased steadily ¨C a trend that will continue.
We have installed a new energy-saving boiler, our
proprietary high-precision Danzer VS4000 veneer slicer
and adequate drying kilns.
Previous to the conversion, Souvans was exclusively
producing veneer ¨C now it is also a specialized production
site for flooring deck layers. Annual production volume of
20,000 m3 is planned for Souvans in the future, serving
customers all over Europe.¡±
Preceding the construction, the Danzer Supervisory Board
approved a 15 million Euro investment plan for the thickcut
veneer expansion for the factories of Souvans, Melnik
(Czech Republic) and Darlington (USA) in 2015. Prior to
this, only the plant in Melnik produced thick-cut veneers.
Rougier corporate revenues rise in Gabon and France
Rougier, the Paris-based group which operates seven
factories in Cameroon, Congo and Gabon, reports that
corporate revenues for the first half of 2017 were €76.0
million, down 3% year-on-year.
The Rougier Afrique International branch generated euro
61.1 million of revenues, down 4% from the first half of
This change primarily reflects volatile demand on several
international markets and shipping delays at Douala Port
in Cameroon which had an adverse impact on operating
margins in Cameroon and Congo.
Group profitability in Gabon continued to pick up,
benefiting from the good level of forest production,
improvements in sawmill productivity and the launch of
the contract with GSEZ (Gabon Special Economic Zone)
for log supplies.
Revenues for the French import-distribution branch were
also up 6% from the previous year to €17.7 million,
continuing an upward trend which began in 2016.
The Group is focusing its actions in Africa on improving
its industrial and logistics performances, as well as
creating value through its more profitable timber species.
In the second half of the year, the release of the first euro 5
million tranche from the euro 15 million loan set up with
Proparco will enable Rougier to start up operations in the
Central African Republic in the fourth quarter and give it
the means to ensure its development in the Congo Basin.
FLEGT IMM completes first cycle of market surveys
The FLEGT Independent Market Monitoring (IMM)
programme has undertaken its first cycle of market
surveys, following the project¡¯s relaunch by ITTO in
Correspondents in seven key EU consumer markets ¨C
Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain,
and the UK ¨C as well as in Indonesia and Ghana, have
gauged industry and government agency views on the start
of Indonesian FLEGT licensing, the FLEGT-VPA
initiative and the scope and ease of doing business with
VPA partner countries. They also asked interviewees
about EUTR enforcement and implementation.
An encouraging finding is that the start of FLEGTlicensing
in Indonesia revived trade interest in FLEGT.
¡°FLEGT-licensed timber going from distant promise to
physical reality restored faith¡±, one importer told IMM.
That it is Indonesia doing the licensing also changed mindsets.
If such a large, complex country could do it, said
respondents, others could too.
A previous IMM pilot survey in Germany, Spain and the
UK in 2015 had found more widespread frustration and
¡°FLEGT-fatigue¡±, as repeated forecasts about the start of
licensing came to nothing.
IMM will publish a summary of its survey findings, as
well as comprehensive background information on VPA
partner countries and EU trade with them, on a new
website soon and a quarterly newsletter starts publication
later this year. In the meantime, IMM information can be
found at www.itto.int/imm.
IMM is a multi-year programme funded by the European
Commission and managed by ITTO. It monitors the timber
trade and market impact of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership
Agreements (VPAs) using a range of indicators. Besides
analysing and contributing to work on improving trade
flow data, monitoring is based on a range of surveys in EU
countries and FLEGT-licensing and selected VPAimplementing
Activities in 2017 have included updating analysis of VPA
partner trade flows and preparation of the EU, Indonesian
and Ghanaian market scoping studies. Indonesia, as the
first FLEGT-licensing country, received particular
Next steps include the launch of the IMM website and
newsletter. Work planned for 2018 includes an IMMhosted
FLEGT Market Opportunities Roadshow. To
subscribe to the IMM newsletter, please email subject line
¡°Newsletter¡± to firstname.lastname@example.org
International Hardwood Conference
Hosted by Italy's Fedecomlegno Federation in association
with the ETTF and European Organisation of Sawmillers,
an International Hardwood Conference will take place 15
to 17 November and it expects delegates from 20 countries
worldwide. The core theme will be maximising the
hardwood resource, both in terms of sustainable yield and
realising its potential in new applications.
Expert speakers will provide market trend analysis. ¡°It¡¯s
no longer enough for a hardwood conference to talk just
about logs, sawn goods volume and prices,¡± said
Fedecomlegno Director Stefano Dezzutto.
¡°Today you must address market tendencies, legality,
sustainability and other environmental aspects,
international standards, innovative technology and new
applications. Our goal is a line-up of qualified speakers
addressing a range of themes to envelop the whole
hardwood supply chain. The fact we have registrations
worldwide is an encouraging signal we¡¯ve got it right.¡±
The IHC takes place in Venice's Hilton Molina Stucky
hotel and the Gala Dinner will be in the historic Palazzo
Zeno. For more information and to register
Certified wood accounts for most of Dutch timber
The headline statistic in the ¡¯Sustainably produced wood
on the Dutch market¡¯ study from sustainability, forestry
and forest products institute Probos, is that the market
share of FSC and PEFC certified timber increased from
just 13.3% in 2005 to 83.3% in 2015.
This is the fifth analysis of the sector undertaken by
Probos, covering the primary wood products and paper
and cardboard markets in the Netherlands. It also breaks
down market share figures for sawnwood, temperate and
tropical hardwoods, sheet materials, packaging paper,
cardboard, graphic paper, newsprint and sanitary paper.
The report indicates that share of certified wood on the
Dutch market increased across all product groups,
although the rate of increase has slowed in recent years.
Share of softwood increased from 76% in 2009 to 96% in
2012 before rising to 98% in 2016.
The share of panel products increased from 61% in 2009,
to 89% in 2014 before rising to 92% in 2016. Share of
hardwoods increased from 24% in 2009 to 55% in 2013
and 61% in 2016.
The share of certified in tropical sawn hardwood supply to
the Netherlands increased from 56.5% in 2013 to 63.2% in
2015. Almost half of the certified tropical sawn supply is
under the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme
(MTCS) which is PEFC-recognised and was endorsed as
fully compliant with the sustainability criteria of the Dutch
government from January this year. The rest of the volume
is mainly FSC certified from Cameroon, Gabon, and
The report notes that the most rapid rate of proportional
increase in certified supply in recent years is in temperate
sawn hardwood, from 20.7% in 2013 to 33.7% in 2015,
but this is against the background of a sharp decline in
Dutch imports of temperate hardwood.
Probos suggest that temperate hardwoods are lagging other
product groups because much is lower grade used in the
packaging industry in the Netherlands, very little of which
Probos do not mention an alternative explanation, which is
that a relatively high proportion of temperate hardwood
derives from small non-industrial owners in both Europe
and North America, which are less likely be certified than
the large state and industry-owned forests that supply a
majority of softwood and panel products.
The share of total Dutch consumption of timber and woodbased
panels taken by timber certified under the schemes
was 40.9% for FSC and 33.1% for PEFC in 2015. The
relative share of FSC and PEFC on the market was little
changed from 2013.
Spanish trade association legality risk assessment of
According to the European Timber Trade Federation
(ETTF), the Spanish Timber Trade Association AEIM has
produced a preliminary risk assessment report on sourcing
from Brazil to support member¡¯s implementation of the
EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).
The risk assessment, which was presented to the
association¡¯s latest board of directors meeting, was
commissioned from a ¡®committee of experts¡¯. It lists and
analyses official documentation that must accompany
Brazilian sawn timber products to satisfy AEIM¡¯s
compulsory EUTR-aligned due diligence system.
The report breaks Brazil into three areas; Par¨¢, Matto
Grosso and ¡®other states¡¯. Legality risk assessment
documentation is covered along the supply chain, from
forest to export.
Brazil is rated ¡®very high risk¡¯ on AEIM¡¯s illegality risk
assessment website www.maderalegal.info and the report
is therefore seen as a key trading tool.
Brazil is Spain¡¯s second biggest tropical timber supplier
after Cameroon, on which AEIM commissioned a similar
risk assessment and due diligence report last year. In 2016,
Spain imported 10,312 m3 of Brazilian sawn lumber,
While addressing illegality risk, the AEIM report also
highlights efforts being made by the Brazilian
Environment Institute (IBAMA) to tackle illegal trade, and
the development of Brazil¡¯s National Control System for
Forest Products Origin (SINAFLOR), its timber supply
chain tracking database. The final AEIM report will be
In a separate report, AEIM note that a recent survey of
members revealed that only 4% of all tropical timber
imported into Spain is certified. AEIM is committed to
raising this percentage to 12% by 2020.
LCA provides foundation for new tropical wood
According to the Europeab Timber Trade Federation
(ETTF), a 12-strong group of Netherlands Timber Trade
Association (NTTA) members is planning to use the
findings of two recent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
projects as the basis of a campaign to promote greater use
of sustainable tropical timber.
The campaign will target civil engineers and focus on both
sustainable tropical timber¡¯s environmental benefits in
relation to climate change mitigation, renewability and
low environmental impacts as well as its technical, design
and maintenance attributes.
The campaign draws on a 2016 LCA study, backed by the
EU Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC), on the
use of tropical timber for pile planking. It was
commissioned from EY Climate Change and
Sustainability Services by the NTTA¡¯s Centrum Hout
operation with support from FSC Netherlands.
This study put three sustainable tropical species through
LCA, alongside planking in plastic. Timber scored
significantly better both in overall impact and carbon
Earlier, the Dutch government commissioned a similar
comparative study for pedestrian bridges, measuring the
LCA performance of tropical timber versus concrete, steel
and reinforced composites. Again, tropical wood came out
The promotion campaign will involve meetings for
engineers, and distribution of literature, including fact
sheets already prepared on sustainable tropical timber and
environmental impact, CO2 reduction and the bio-based
and the circular economy.
The pile planking study has also generated literature on
total cost of ownership of the product through its life, and
a design and calculation guide. There is also an online
facility to calculate embodied and lifetime in-use carbon
performance of a particular timber application.