The future of wood

Phoresta / Circular Economy  / The future of wood

Phoresta News doesn’t often talk about wood, the main product of trees. An interesting conference called “The future, today. The circular system of the wood supply chain between sustainability and the new economy”, that took place in Milan at the Palazzo Mezzanotte on February 6, 2019, give us the opportunity to fill this gap.


The conference was promoted by Rilegno and FederLegno. Rilegno is the National Consortium that deals with recovery and recycling of wood and cork packaging and indeed, the 2 letters “ri”, at the beginning of Rilegno name, refer to recycle and/or reuse.  For this event, the large hall of the Palazzo Mezzanotte (where the Milan stock exchange used to be located) was furnished with pallets, fruit crates, packaging crates, electric cable reels … and other wooden objects. Rilegno was born in 1997 following the entry into force of the Ronchi Decree (from the name of Edo Ronchi, then Minister of the Environment) that established the Waste Identification Form (FIR in Italian) and the Single Environmental Declaration Form (MUD in Italian). Rilegno is part of the CONAI system (the National Consortium of Packaging), with the specific task of promoting initiatives for the recovery, reuse and recycling of wooden packaging. The leaflet that Rilegno distributed to the participants states that almost 2 million tons of wood are recovered and recycled every year. The conference was moderated by Oscar Giannino, the combative columnist and anchorman of Radio 24. The first speakers were Emanuele Orsini, President of FederLegnoArredo, and Nicola Semeraro, President of Rilegno. Dario Galli, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, intervened as well. All the speeches, albeit from different angles, underlined the economic importance of the Italian wood sector. Then started the presentations of high caliber experts. We were impressed by the speech of Enrico Letta (former Italian Prime Minister and now Professor and Dean at the Paris School of International Affairs – Science-Po -Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris) who made a parallel between the global village of 1966 and the current one. In practice, who is the strongest world economic player today? Europe lost several positions in these decades and today the epicenter of those who really count (and grow economically and socially) is moving towards Asia and Africa. But Europe is still an important technological and cultural leader. Also Valerio Rossi Albertini (Nuclear Physicist and CNR Researcher) presented an interesting and suggestive report that explained very clearly (with visual examples) the impact of nature and the environment on our entrepreneurial choices. Before the final round table, the engineer Giovanni Azzone of the Milan Polytechnic presented the research “The circular system of the wood supply chain for a new economy”. Francesco Pugliese (CEO and General Director of CONAD  – National Consortium of Retailers) attended the round table that closed the meeting. Finally scholarships were awarded to students of the Milan Polytechnic and the Wooden Furniture Training Center, thus emphasizing the key role of the new generations in wood recycling and reuse, that is also the mission of the sponsors.