Norman Willemsen, chief executive officer of Kebony, a global leader in the production of sustainable wood, spoke out in support of European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen’s landmark call for Europe to face the global challenge of deforestation by providing sustainable alternatives, and help save up to 40% of global carbon emissions by building with timber instead of concrete.
“The international community is now recognizing the absolute need to build with sustainable and sustainably sourced materials,” added Willemsen. “We must halt our dependence on heavy pollutants and materials which are directly triggering mass deforestation of our vital rainforests and follow the pathway set out by the European Commission, and globally, to ensure sustainable wood is accepted as the new industry norm. We greatly welcome the urgency and clarity of Ursula Von der Leyen’s words.”
The statement comes just weeks after five more common hardwoods, including Ipe and Cumaru, were formally listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Appendix II — meaning they will now be better protected and safeguarded against deforestation, with closer controls over trading enforced, in a landmark effort to fight dangerous deforestation.
Easing this global dependence on the common hardwoods, and therefore on deforestation, is central to Kebony’s company mission. Using a unique patented wood modification technology, Kebony produces an enhanced, superior wood that is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. By permanently transforming sustainable softwood species such as pine into Kebony wood with features that are comparable, and in some cases superior, to those of tropical hardwoods, the company is successfully diverting the need for deforestation of precious and sanctioned hardwoods and helping to protect vital carbon sinks like the Amazon.
“Building with sustainable timber should become the new normal for architects, developers and end customers looking to make an effective and positive change to what has become a heavily polluting industry,” continued Willemsen. “Today, more than ever, the impact of climate change is becoming increasingly apparent. Droughts in Europe, wildfires in the United States, floods in Pakistan and vast changes to normal weather patterns are among several of the most detrimental environmental effects that the world has seen in recent months. Despite years of warnings, fears remain that significant damage to our world and environment may be inescapable.”
“A unified global effort will likely be required to turn the tides of climate change,” he added. “In large parts of the world, it is undeniable that the construction sector is heavily polluting and remains largely unsustainable, with the value chain from materials through to operations accounting for over one-third of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Soon, it will become imperative for all built environment professionals to meet sustainability targets. For them to succeed, it is vital that sustainable solutions and alternatives are effective, comparable (if not better) than their counterparts, attractive, durable and affordable.”