Today’s publication of the non-binding guidelines on the cascading use of wood fails to live up to the Commission’s own ambitions signalled in its recent Bioeconomy Strategy. CEPI has been a long-time proponent of this principle which allows for every wood fibre to be used on average 2.5 times, instead of solely burning wood for bioenergy.
“The cascading use principle works automatically in a well-functioning market but unsustainable subsidies distort wood markets” says Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director of CEPI, the European forest fibre and paper industry. “The new guidelines should be aligned with the new EU strategy to make the bioeconomy more circular. They should also take into account any assessment of Member States that encourages the application of these principles in their bioenergy support schemes.”
The new guidelines ignore the firm call set out by the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, approved yesterday, to avoid raw material market distortions and neglect to provide clear instructions on this in the new guidelines.
The guidance is clearly a missed opportunity for contributing to a circular bioeconomy that is built on the efficient use of biomass and innovative solutions rather than on direct burning of wood for bioenergy. The focus should now turn to ensuring that Member States respect the cascading use principle in their national climate and energy plans and that future revision of these guidelines take account of this principle.