AHEC European Conference 2016 Programme: The future for American hardwoods

This year’s American Hardwood European Conference (20th – 21st October at the Marriott Hotel, Copenhagen) will provide a platform for American hardwood exporters and the European trade to discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities both industries face, by addressing current issues and future developments.

On Thursday 20th October, the conference will open with an overview of how AHEC Europe is working to create a bright and promising future for U.S. hardwoods by inspiring decision makers and creating new products for the built environment. This will include a session on the globalisation of the hardwood trade focussing on the U.S. domestic market, Europe, and of course China.

The AHEC Europe team led by David Venables, AHEC European Director, will look to the future markets for American hardwoods and showcase AHEC Europe’s creation of promotional tools and messages aimed at accessing these markets. This includes the promotion of underutilised species, targeting of specific markets and increasing species options and new applications as well as the redeveloped website, new publications and a refreshed format of the American Hardwood Environmental Profile (AHEP).

AHEC Europe and Andrew Lawrence, Arup Engineers, will discuss new markets for American hardwoods in construction. This will include the story behind “The Smile” project, the impressive timber installation created for the London Design Festival using for the first time, industrial sized panels of American tulipwood cross-laminated timber (CLT), a project that will represent a huge step forward for the use of hardwood in structural applications.  The installation is due to be unveiled to the public outside Chelsea College of Arts, London on Saturday 17th September and will be open until 10th October. 

The issue of sustainability will be raised in the afternoon with presentations and a panel discussion: It’s all about the trees: new approaches for demonstrating sustainability. This will be chaired by Rupert Oliver, AHEC Europe’s environmental consultant who will be joined by Jakob Rygg Klaumann, Danish Timber Trade Federation and David Hopkins, UK Timber Trade Federation, amongst others. Their discussion will include preliminary results from the updated Seneca Creek study and data from satellite forest monitoring by NASA.

The last session of the day will be a U.S. industry panel discussion and open Q&A led by AHEC’s Chairman, Dave Bramlage, offering delegates a chance to instigate discussion with a panel of U.S. exporters around topics that matter to them most. There will be further opportunities to mix with industry representatives at the industry showcase and networking reception following this panel discussion.

Thursday rounds off with an informal and relaxing Gala Dinner at the historic Moltkes Palace with plenty of networking opportunities.  This is a great chance for European delegates to cement relationships with U.S. hardwood exporters and also meet fellow hardwood players from other countries.

The focus on Friday 21st October will be an educational seminar for buyers and users of American hardwood. Rupert Oliver will start by presenting an overview of the American hardwood resource: where it grows, how it’s managed and why it is both a legal and sustainable resource. He will also tackle the challenge buyers face in satisfying EUTR due diligence requirements.

The focus will then switch to market developments driving new demand. Neil Summers, Timber Dimension, will share the latest information on the growing markets for thermally modified hardwoods and the opportunities they present for U.S. hardwoods.  

Friday will come to a close with a technical workshop on grading lumber to the NHLA standard led by Chief Inspector, Dana Spessert. This session will include practical demonstrations on how to determine grades within various American hardwood species.

The full programme and registration details can be found at: http://americanhardwood.org/news-events/european-conference-2016/programme/. There is no registration fee but places are limited.  The conference is specifically aimed at the major players in the market. AHEC welcomes American hardwood exporters, hardwood agents, European importers and larger manufacturers. AHEC are promoting Friday morning’s technical seminar to the wider Danish trade through local associations.

The special AHEC conference room rate expires on 23rd September 2016; we encourage you to book soon.