The call was made at the Club du Bois meeting in Brussels in advance of the UN COP21 climate talks in Paris on November 30-December 11.

The Club du Bois event was a cross-party discussion forum with MEPs organised by the European Sawmills Organisation, the European Panel Federation and CEI-Bois (the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries).

David Hopkins, lead speaker at the event, said he welcomed the EU’s commitment to the 40% emissions reduction target and the recognition they give to forestry as a carbon sink.

“However, forests are only the first stage of a value chain which actively reduces emissions and boosts economic growth.

“The woodworking industry has set itself a goal of increasing annual industrial output by 4% across the EU. This modest increase would contribute an additional €2.35bn to the economy, creating 80,000 new jobs while reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions by an additional 150 million tonnes.

“It is the industrial stages of production which provide the added value to drive investment back into our forests and maintain a managed cycle of emissions reduction and economic production.”

He called on political leaders meeting at the Paris talks to recognise this and act upon it. Academic, peer reviewed studies have estimated that emissions amounting to 14-31% of global carbon, could be avoided by using more timber products in construction.