RERAM – Bridging Gaps between R2I in Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials Forschung und Innovation für Ressourceneffizienz in der Holzindustrie (www.reram.eu)
Project Summary – Key facts
RERAM is an international cooperation project funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission in the field of climate protection, resource efficiency and raw materials. It is one of the few FP7-INCO projects addressing the forestry and woodworking sector. The main objective is to reinforce cooperation and coordination of research and technological innovation between the EU and countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy programme, and here especially in Eastern Europe.
Consortium: 11 partners in 9 countries
EU: Germany, Belgium, Austria, Poland; ENP countries: Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan
Project duration: 01/06/2014 – 31/05/2016 (2 years)
Total budget: 1.3 million EUR, EC contribution 990,250 EUR
RERAM is coordinated by the International Institute of Forestry and Wood Industries NRW e.V. (IIWH) at the University of Münster, an established German competence centre in the fields of forest ecology, forestry and wood industries as well as international cooperation.
Background & Objectives
The growing demand for raw wood material in the EU increases pressure on forest resources in Eastern Europe. Non-sustainable forestry and RERAM— Bridging Gaps Between R2I in Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials in the Carpathian region of Ukraine and Moldova) and the Caucausus region (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbadjan) leads to significant losses of forest area and far-reaching impacts e.g. disastrous floods.
RERAM targets the woodworking industries, which generate the local demand for wood and are part of the problem due to their large, inefficient raw material use. Applicable knowhow and technologies of an improved, sustainable material use and resource supply are largely unknown or not accessible so far.
General Objectives (GOs)
The overall objective is to improve resource efficiency and raw material consumption of the forest and woodworking sector in ENP eastern countries by bridging the gaps between research and innovation via effective knowledge support measures for regional SMEs, research and authorities. The four general objectives are:
1. Raise awareness on resource efficiency potentials along the value chain
forestry ® primary wood processing ® secondary wood manufacturing
2. Optimize conversion pathways of wood raw material in SMEs
by introducing innovative technologies, processes and planning methods
3. Promote the competitive research potential of innovation clusters
through new business models, cleaner production and collaborative processes
4. Enhance regional to international collaboration in knowledge value chains
by joint action, knowledge transfer and outreach among R2I actors
The project puts a focus on effective communication measures to sensitize the actors in the forestry and woodworking sector for the topic of resource efficiency and demonstrate technical and organizational solutions, and establish a network with comparable on-going initiatives and actions to activate positive synergies and a broad outreach in the ENP region.
State of play
Why a focus on the woodworking sector in ENP eastern countries?
The ‘forestry and woodworking sector’ (forest-based sector) represents a major pillar of the economy: it creates sustainable growth and vital employment in rural SMEs, based on the valorisation of abundant forest resources.
The astonishingly versatile raw material wood and wood-based products reveal special opportunities to improve sustainable production and climate change mitigation: it is the only simultaneously renewable, recyclable, reusable and refineable resource, offering a simple way to reduce CO2 emissions via the carbon sink effect of forests, and carbon storage and substitution of carbon-intensive materials by wood-based products.
Main characteristics of the forest-based sector in ENP eastern countries
→ ENP eastern countries hold considerable, yet less developed forest resources with a lower land use pressure than in Western Europe. A constantly growing demand for wood raw materials in the EU leads to higher raw material imports and growing pressure on forests holding substantial, unexploited wood resources.
→ The ENP region is currently gaining in importance as a strategic new market for raw material supply with many downsides, e.g. illegal logging and timber trade, offshoring of production, cut-throat competition, corruption, etc.
→ Wood-based industries are dominated by SMEs consuming huge amounts of raw material per employee, and in total. They are emerging anew in post-socialist countries, and could have a stronger impact on regional production, employment and value adding.
→ However, the SMEs mostly lack proper organisational structures and staff to implement urgently needed resource efficiency measures. Adapted, useable technological guidance is required for the shift, but so far unavailable, because existing guidelines and toolkits are too complicated, especially for the outdated equipment still in use in ENP countries.
→ Strengthening domestic growth potentials of woodworking SMEs in ENP countries will increase the attractiveness for more domestic and international investments, with positive internal and external effects, e.g. employment, higher value adding, reduction of raw material/timber exports.
The forestry and woodworking sector in ENP eastern countries
faces a major societal challenge in the current unsustainable depletion of its forest resources and wood materials,
but it shows decisive opportunities for improvement of the current state in the increase of raw material efficiency and technological upgrading.
By reconfiguring businesses and R2I infrastructure, the sector will deliver better returns on natural, human and economic capital investments, and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions, extract and export less natural resources, create less waste and mitigate social disparities.
Main activities & outcomes
The project puts a focus on effective communication measures to sensitize the actors in the forestry and woodworking sector for the topic of resource efficiency and demonstrate technical and organizational solutions. With instructive enterprise checks, training and coaching measures in line with a broad dissemination the project will target local entrepreneurs and propose pathbreaking new pilot projects. RERAM will also establish a network with comparable on-going initiatives and actions to activate positive synergies and a broad outreach in the ENP region.
Main expected outcomes
– Regional baselines in resources and raw material use : Global sectoral analysis of the forest-wood-chain and self-assessment surveys of wood-working enterprises
– ‘Train the trainers’ programme for efficiency managers : Capacity building of regional intermediaries in raw material efficiency and cluster management
– Reality check and benchmarking of raw material performance : Hands-on survey and coaching of wood-working industries to raise entrepreneurs´ awareness
– Handbook ‘Resource efficiency in woodworking SMEs’ : Technological guidance in 5 national languages how to improve raw material use in the wood-working sector
– Regional R2I Dialogues : Moderated public events and roundtables engaging stakeholders and policymakers to establish dialogue and consensus for sustainable resource efficiency
– Wood innovation toolkit : Portfolio of cluster management services and tools for implementing raw material efficiency measures in ENP countries
– Cross-regional twinning of clusters : New cross-regional B2B and B2Science partnerships among organisations and intermediaries
– Outreach and R2I clustering activities : coordination of joint activities of mutual interest with on-going R2I projects and multiple associated partners in ENP eastern countries
– Regional R2I Strategies and Exploitation Plan : initiation of new joint pilot projects for a Resource Efficient Forest Sector in ENP eastern countries
RERAM is structured into six related work packages which are aimed at different target groups.
- WP1 Coordination. Project management and steering / Coordinator IIWH
- WP2 Regional Baselines. Surveys, questionnaires, regional analysis / WP Leader UNFU
- WP3 Entrepreneurs´ Awareness . SME training, coaching, enterprise checks / WP Leader HSC
- WP4 Cluster Support. R2I Dialogues, wood innovation tookit / WP Leader HCS
- WP5 R2I Strategies. Regional R2I plans, pilot projects / WP Leader IIWH
- WP6 Dissemination. Joint public relations and communication / WP Leader RECC (Georgia) & FORZA (Ukraine)