News  |  12.03.2020

Wood, a guarantee of a better life together, here and elsewhere

Author : Dr. Emmanuel GROUTEL
E-mail :
Research lab NIMEC (UPRES-EA 969) IAE de CAEN
Caen, March 8, 2020

I was recently asked why a decision-maker might choose to focus on the use of wood. The aim was to give a brief and sincere answer, without polemics about other materials and without stirring up any infighting within the wood world.

Wood is the material of the 21st century because it is sustainable and renewable. In addition to its aesthetic and technical qualities, it tells a story. That of the men and women who work throughout its value chain. It is indeed a creator of shared value, here and elsewhere. On the other hand, woods do not compete with each other, they complement each other usefully. There is no doubt that forests managed by responsible foresters and certified by independent third parties have integrated everything that contributes to the provision of global ecosystem services. Indeed, only the managers of these forests know how to orchestrate this beautiful complexity by combining wood harvesting, carbon storage, water, air and soil conservation, biodiversity and public reception. Researchers and scientists have demonstrated the benefits of reasoned extraction of this common usufruct. Wood is a must for anyone who wants to be part of the third carbon-free industrial revolution.

Protected areas, local employment, a soothing noble material, we are well into the time of wood (Glesinger). Sleepers, floors, shelters, furniture, structures and decorative panels, doors, windows, the list would be long. As a modern material, it can be judiciously combined with other materials such as metals, glass and concrete. Its touch of warmth, humanity and even sensuality give that extra something to both large and small structures intended to welcome the public. For example, Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, this site that lived in its greyness, welcomed this natural material very favourably, which brought, without a doubt, another dimension, perhaps less brutal? The same is true regarding cities such as Aarhus or Rotterdam for their port and museum facilities, Copenhagen and its airport, the Nantes metropolis and the work of Tadashi Kawamata, or to take the example of the Saint-Lazare railway or the Gare du Nord station. Where there is wood, there is a better living environment and better living together.

Yes, wood brings peace, where crowds are considerable, it attenuates the noise of footsteps and makes promiscuity less unbearable. For more modest developments, those located in peripheral France, the one considered neglected by the Yellow Vests, it is a guarantee of respect. Indeed, by using wood, we send a message of consideration to the people: “It’s not fake…”.

Clearly, the choice of wood is not only an unavoidable choice and it would be unforgivable not to understand what is happening with the Greta Thunberg generation. So yes, we confirm it, wood, or should we say wood, is the choice of reason, provided that we respect the moral, economic and social commitments to those who produce it in a sustainable and responsible way, all over the planet.


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