A major study report released by the Wood Council highlights the need for by-products from established industries like sawmilling if New Zealand is to develop profitable businesses based on emerging technologies, like bio-fuels and bio-chemicals.
The WoodScape study is the result of collaboration between the forest and wood products industry, the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries and NZ Trade and Enterprise, which together funded the project.
Crown Research Institute Scion, in partnership with FP Innovations and the Wood Council, evaluated wood processing investment opportunities in a New Zealand setting.
The study developed a NZ-specific model that can be used to evaluate potential opportunities for investment in traditional and emerging wood processing technologies that have the potential to generate more jobs and increase export earnings from New Zealand’s timber harvest.
Council chairman Doug Ducker says the study has highlighted a single key imperative – viable primary wood processing industries like sawmilling are vital to investment in further downstream secondary processing.
“If sawmillers on-sell wood residues to supplement their income this will in turn enable many new and emerging technologies like bio-fuels and bio-chemicals to generate acceptable positive returns on investment. Without the primary wood processing sector, these new opportunities will be less viable.”
The work is an important next step in the Wood Council’s Strategic Action Plan, which aims to increase the sector’s exports from the current $4.5 billion dollars to $12 billion dollars by 2022 . The role of the WoodScape study was to analyse future investment options to grow wood processing and manufacturing in New Zealand.
“We are on an exciting journey,” Mr Ducker says. “But it is important to understand that the WoodScape study has been conducted at a very high level and further analysis will need to be undertaken at a regional and individual company level to identify specific investment opportunities.”
A summary of findings of the WoodScape report as well as the detailed study reports can be found on the Wood Council’s website: www.woodco.org.nz