Slovenia lost €10bn by neglecting wood industry for decades

Slovenia lost €10bn by neglecting wood industry for decades
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje January 24, 2021

Slovenia is one of the most densely forested countries in Europe, yet the country has lost almost €10bn as it neglected its wood industry in recent decades, data from a study that will serve as the basis for a wood industry strategy for 2021-2027 showed.

The study presented by the economy ministry on January 22 showed that even though 4 cubic metres of wood per resident grow in Slovenia per year, only half a cubic metre of wood per resident is used for wood products.

Translated into the price of CO2 coupons, this amounts to up to €170mn a year, according to the study, which proposes several measures to enhance the wood-processing industry.

The study further shows that if 3mn cubic metres of wood were processed in Slovenia, products would absorb some 7.5mn tonnes of CO2, or almost 50% of the country’s annual CO2 emissions.

The study finds that wood is a strategic raw material for the country, as it has the largest amount per capita in the EU. It is also a renewable source, with a negative carbon footprint, which requires little energy during processing, so it can effectively replace other materials. 

In line with the efforts of the EU and the European Green Agreement, there is a growing need to restructure the economy towards sustainable development, with an emphasis on local production from its own raw materials and lower energy consumption.

In 2018, the Slovenia's wood growth totaled 8.8mn cubic metres. 6.1mn cubic metres were logged, of which only 1.7mn cubic metres were processed at home and 3.6mn cubic metres were exported.

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

In order to fully exploit Slovenia’s wood potential, the experts who contributed to the study suggest several measures including setting up a business-friendly environment through stimulating demand for wood products and promotion of investments in the wood industry.