Study shows Slovenia losing billions of euros in wood industry

Ljubljana – Slovenia has lost almost EUR 10 billion as it neglected its wood industry in recent decades, shows a study which will serve as a basis for a wood industry strategy for 2021-2027.

While four cubic metres of wood per resident grow in Slovenia a year, only half a cubic metre of wood per resident is used for products.

Translated into the price of CO2 coupons, this amounts to up to EUR 170 million a year, shows the study, whose findings were presented by the Economy Ministry.

If three million cubic metres of wood were processed, products would absorb some 7.5 million tonnes of CO2, which is almost 50% of the country’s annual CO2 emissions.

Slovenia also exports too much of its chopped wood, according to the study How to Use the Potential of Wood and Wood Industry for Breakthrough in Sustainable Development.

In 2018, the country’s wood growth was 8.8 million cubic metres and 6.1 million cubic metres were logged, of which only 1.7 million cubic metres were processed at home.

This trend has resulted in the number of workers in the wood and furniture sectors dropping, while production of semi-products for the furniture industry has practically disappeared.

Wood is also still too widely used as a source of energy, while it is widely present in programmes encouraging energy renewal of buildings or in housing construction.

The study was drafted by several experts taking into account the EU’s 2021-2027 financial perspective, and proposes several measures to enhance the wood-processing industry.

It highlights the need for measures to encourage demand for wood products and to stimulate investments into the wood industry.

Funds from the climate and Eco funds should be channelled into projects in the wood industry, the study says.

Carbon footprint should be introduced for products and buildings, and taxation adjusted in line with it.

The use of wood should also be encouraged through green public procurement, while funds should be provided to develop innovative technologies and products.

The ministry’s wood directorate is already working on various measures to revive the industry on the basis of the study.