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Swiss wood is gaining popularity

[April 5, 2023]

Swiss wood is becoming more popular – but its full potential is not yet being exploited.

The most important in a nutshell
- Switzerland is not exploiting its full potential in domestic timber production.
- Above all, the higher price limits the industries.
- In addition, not all demand can be met without imports.

Switzerland cannot yet make greater use of its potential in domestic timber production. Restrictions are mainly due to the price and availability.

Nearly half of the approximately 11 million cubic metres of wood consumed annually in Switzerland comes from Switzerland. However, according to federal forest policy, sustainable harvesting could be achieved up to 8 million cubic meters. For the rest, however, imports are definitely needed.

Wood requirements cannot be met from Switzerland
Many industries primarily source their wood from Switzerland. The paper manufacturer CPH also reported this on request. However, the entire timber demand could not be met solely from Switzerland, which is why the company also relies on imports from nearby countries.

Meanwhile, the Swiss sawmills process more than 95 percent round wood from the Swiss forest, as the Swiss Timber Industry Association wrote.

According to the Swiss Energy Wood Association, the domestic share of wood pellets used for heating is three quarters. Wood chips even come from Switzerland for 85 to 90 percent and for piece timber, the industry almost exclusively relies on domestic products.

If the wood is imported, it is mostly from Germany, France and Austria, as the import statistics of the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security show.

Image of wood is increasing
Although the image of wood as a building material has increased in society, mainly due to sustainability and environmental considerations, this has not yet been significantly reflected in the construction industry. Although the Baumeisterverband observed a slight increase in the use of wood, this is still low compared to concrete and brick.

According to the building materials study of the construction industry, wood has been able to expand its share over the last ten years to 5.3 percent of previously 4.4 percent. Since 2012, demand in the construction industry has fluctuated by about one million cubic meters of wood, the association announced. While the volume of single-family houses is declining, it is increasing in multi-family houses.

Wood continues to be a popular material in living spaces – also for floors

In the construction industry, price often plays the decisive role. Building with wood is often more complex in the planning phase. However, the price of the finished construction is about the same high to at most slightly higher.

However, what bothers the industry in particular is that wood is often not immediately available. Long delivery times can delay construction. For these reasons, wood is still used comparatively cautiously.

Source: Nau.ch