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Visible and invisible products from forests take centre stage at Geneva seminar

Published: 24 April 2013

It’s nothing less than astounding to see the many ways that wood is being used today. Who would imagine that wood products are used in things like beauty products, gels for back pain, hip replacement material, and spacecraft?      

A group of experts gathered on 22 April in Geneva to discuss innovation in the forest-based sector and to showcase success stories. The forest sector is expected to play a leading role in the transition towards a green economy. The seminar was hosted by the Geneva-based UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, in collaboration with InnovaWood.

Bioproducts and biochemicals are the exciting wood-based products of the future. They’re already finding a distinct and profitable niche, for instance in the food and hygiene industries, where they’re being used in packaging for take-away food; and in disposable nappies/diapers. 

Special wood products are also replacing concrete in construction. In some countries, new building codes allow the use of wood in multi-storey buildings. And Switzerland is moving towards active sustainable wooden buildings, which can produce their own energy from solar panels.

“Both process innovation and product innovation are a must for the transition of the forest sector towards a green economy”, said Ewa Ratajczak, the president of InnovaWood, stressing how news products can only come through innovative processes.

The discussion on innovation will continue in Russia on 22-24 May in a workshop on ”Forest products and technologies for the future” and in Finland in December during the European Forest Week. 

For more information on innovative wood products or on upcoming seminars and workshops,  contact:

Elina Warsta
Email: elina.warsta@fao.org

Tel:+41 (0)22 91 72872

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05