Friday Offcuts 9 June 2017
Last week, New Zealand and Australian Universities signed an agreement which will enable them to access over NZ$215 million of venture funding for the commercialisation of innovative research and another NZ$3.3 million in new funding for eight climate change research projects has been announced with four of the eight projects earmarked involving the forestry industry. Scion is involved in a number of the projects with over NZ $1.3 million set aside for this work. Further details are contained in the story below.
In Australia, a series of 15 second commercials showing different applications of wood and their benefits has just been launched on Australian National TV. The six 15 second spots are using award-winning architect and host of Grand Designs Australia, Peter Maddison. They feature wood being used in residential framing, interior décor, furniture, flooring, decking and packaging applications. Look out for them – and the stories that will be appearing in popular online blogs and news sites highlighting the benefits of wood to Australian consumers.
Also in Australia, as we’ve reported, Planet Ark together with Forest and Wood Products Australia have been very successful in raising the national awareness of Wood Encouragement Policies. As a result, two local government authorities and 12 councils across the country have already adopted WEPs since December 2014. Congratulations this week go out to the Tasmanian Government who have just announced that they’re becoming the first Australian state to also adopt a Wood Encouragement Policy.
Finally, to get you thinking late in the week we’ve included a story on a new book that’s suggesting there’s early evidence of a coming U-turn in the globalisation of manufacturing – and that the story we’re told about the direction of the global economy is in fact wrong. Technologies like robotics and 3-D printing are in fact bringing back manufacturing to the market.
A number of examples are provided like Foxconn, the company that makes the insides of the iphone. They raised eyebrows when they suggested that robots could replace one million Chinese workers – and that production could even move to the US as a result (that surely will put a smile on the face of the current administration). Ultimately, the journey from production to customer is now being measured in metres rather than by continents. A recent survey of over 500 companies found well over half were moving production away from China. Check out the story and link given below to learn more. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Tasmania first state to adopt wood-first building policyThe Minister for Resources, Building and Construction, the Honourable Guy Barnett, has announced that Tasmania will be the first state in Australia to introduce a state-wide Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP).
The WEP aims to ensure that sustainably sourced timber is fully considered as a key design component, where feasible, in the construction and refurbishment of all public building projects. The policy will apply to state government projects where the use of timber represents value for money; provides appropriate quality and functionality; complies with the Government’s Buy Local Policy; where there are no technical or performance reasons for not considering wood; and where the use of timber complies with relevant Australian Standards.
This week’s announcement brings Tasmania in line with two local government authorities and 12 councils across Australia that have adopted WEPs since December 2014, including Latrobe City and East Gippsland Shire in Victoria, and Fraser Coast Regional and Gympie Regional in Queensland, which announced their adoption of WEPs earlier this year.
Planet Ark has worked closely with Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) to raise national awareness of WEPs through its Make It Wood campaign. National Marketing and Communications Manager at FWPA, Eileen Newbury, has welcomed the announcement.
“This is a momentous day for the Australian forest and wood products industry. It recognises that sustainably sourced timber has the potential to play a significant role in helping Australia to achieve our carbon emission targets, while also contributing to the economies of local and Regional communities,” Ms Newbury said.
Source: Planet Ark
New AU$1 million TV and online wood campaignA series of 15 second commercials showing different applications of wood and their benefits has launched on Australian national TV, supported by a strong online video and marketing presence.
Award-winning architect and host of Grand Designs Australia, Peter Maddison, has teamed up with Planet Ark’s Make It Wood to highlight the performance, aesthetic and environmental benefits of using wood.
The six 15 second spots, also branded with the Wood. Naturally Better.™ logo, feature wood in residential framing, interior décor, furniture, flooring, decking and packaging applications. They are complemented by a content marketing program designed to present the benefits of wood in more depth and engage the consumer audience.
“The new advertising builds on the success of last year, and introduces a new application, timber flooring,” said Eileen Newbury, the National Marketing and Communications Manager of the industry services company, Forest and Wood Products Australia. “It’s set to be an exciting high-profile campaign,” Ms Newbury explained, “the commercials will be featured in many widely-watched programs, ranging from the news to home improvement and other relevant shows.”
For the first time, FWPA will complement the TV and online activity with content marketing. This new strategy involves placing newsworthy stories that highlight the benefits of wood in popular online blogs and news sites. The campaign is designed to drive traffic back to the Make It Wood website ( www.makeitwood.org), where people can find out more from Planet Ark – a trusted source of information about the environmental benefits of wood.
Ms Newbury said that the commercials are also available for FWPA members and members of the Wood. Naturally Better.™ Partner Program to use in their own communications or to place on their websites.
AFCA receives funding for delivering safety initiativeThe Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) has welcomed NHVR support for AFCA’s National Forestry Logistics Safety Program (NFLSP) to deliver safer roads as part of the next round of Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative program.
The Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative called for implementable, value-for-money initiatives that deliver significant heavy vehicle safety benefits. Stacey Gardiner, AFCA’s General Manager said “the initiative was one of 12 programs approved for a share of the AU$3.9 million funding by the NHVR, supported by the Federal Government”.
The forest industry has been working collaboratively on forestry specific haulage challenges such as load restraint and managing truck rollover using static rollover threshold. The findings of this research inform how our industry complies with the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
Stacey Gardiner added “the NFLSP will be delivered via a series of free regional forestry workshops across Australia specifically targeting Forestry Contracting Businesses and transport operators and loaders”. The workshops provide an opportunity to hear about the testing and evaluation of recent research and consider how it can apply to individual businesses and industry more broadly.
AFCA is pleased to be partnered with Engistics who have had led the evaluation of log load restraint methods and they will be assisting in developing the content and delivery of the workshops. Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said all 12 programs would provide road safety benefits.
For more information on funded programs visit www.nhvr.gov.au/hvsi
NZ$3.3 million for climate change projectsNew Zealand Minister Nathan Guy and Associate Minister Louise Upston have announced NZ$3.3 million in new funding for eight climate change research projects in the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors. The research projects were approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries under its Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme.
Four of the eight projects involve the forestry industry. “In one of these projects, Landcare Research New Zealand will be looking at the best options for land use following radiata pine harvesting in the Gisborne District, and looking at the potential of less common forest species for off- setting greenhouse gas emissions,” Ms Upston says.
“Forestry is one of New Zealand’s largest and cheapest forms of carbon storage and will play a major role in adapting to climate change. These projects have an important role in building our knowledge and preparing for the future.” Scion is involved in a number of the projects that received funding. Further details on this work can be found by clicking here.
A full list of successful projects receiving funding through SLMACC is available at http://mpi.govt.nz.
A milestone for HPMV in the BayThe significance of high productivity motor vehicles (HPMVs) in New Zealand freight efficiency was highlighted in the Hawke’s Bay recently, where a ceremony was held recently to celebrate truck trips saved by HPMV. Two of the country’s first HPMVs have between them moved 1 million tonnes of export pulp from the Pan Pac Mill at Whirinaki to the Napier Port since 2012.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Freight Strategy Manager Marinus La Rooij attended the celebration and reflected on how these HPMVs helped the Transport Agency learn how to manage the wider uptake of HPMVs across New Zealand.
“These two vehicles showed us how economic benefits of between 14 and 20 per cent could be achieved and how to work with industry and local government to make it happen.”
By moving more freight on fewer trucks these two HPMVs have cut the amount of diesel required to move the million tonnes by about 9 per cent, a saving of around 210,000 kgs of CO2 and reduced the total truck trips required by around 33 per cent.
Source: NZ Transport Agency
Carbon markets unfazed by Trump newsCarbon markets in Europe and in New Zealand took news that the US will put out of the Paris Agreement last Friday in their stride as countries around the world reaffirm their commitment to the accord.
In a widely expected outcome, US President Donald Trump said the U.S. will begin negotiations to either re-enter the accord or start a new deal on "terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers."
Nigel Brunel, director, financial markets for OMF said the withdrawal of the US will make it more challenging to reach the targets set out in the Paris Agreement. He said, however, there is quite a bit of resolve among other countries and the US pull-out is "a little bit like having that grumpy guest at the party that finally leaves, or the kid who picks up his ball and goes home." He noted that the US represents only 17 percent of global emissions.
Lizzie Chambers, at Carbon Match, a web-based emission unit trading facility, said spot prices in New Zealand had been steady around $16.70 at the end of last week and trading had been extremely light. The price during this week is still relatively unchanged. She said Trump's decision might have an impact on sentiment at the margin "but doesn't change our fundamentals." She underscored that under the terms of New Zealand's commitment it has to find roughly 230 million tonnes of emissions reductions over the decade from 2021 to 2030. "That's not nothing. It's going to take quite a bit of work and some luck and a carbon price that needs to be more than $16," she said.
Both Brunel and Chambers also noted that the US can't officially pull out of the deal until 2020, under the terms of the agreement by which time Trump will be up for re-election. The Paris Agreement came into force last November and 147 of 197 signatory nations have ratified the agreement, according to the United Nations.
The global response to Trump's move was immediate with European and Chinese leaders pledging to push forward with the agreement. According to CNN, those leaders will spell out their continued commitment to the deal in a joint statement slated to be published Friday at an EU-China summit. In a rare joint statement, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron urged their allies to speed up efforts to combat climate change and said they would do more to help developing countries adapt, according to Reuters.
New Zealand also reaffirmed its commitment. "It's really disappointing the US has chosen to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but New Zealand remains absolutely committed to it," Minister for Climate Change Issues Paula Bennett said in an emailed response to questions.
Robots and carbon targets - the end of globalisation?A new book out suggests there is early evidence of a coming U-turn in the globalisation of manufacturing – and that the story we are told about the direction of the global economy is wrong. For decades, we have been told that globalisation is an irresistible force. As Tony Blair said: “you might as well debate whether autumn follows summer.”
According to a new book by a Cambridge academic, however, factors ranging from automation and 3D printing to environmental regulations and customer expectations are now spelling the beginning of the end for globalised manufacturing.
Dr Finbarr Livesey, an expert in public policy, says that while digital globalisation continues apace, early signs can be seen of a sea change in the production and distribution of goods: with global supply chains shrinking as companies experiment with moving production closer to home.
In the book From Global to Local: the Making of Things and the End of Globalisation, just published by Profile Books, he argues that many of the big assumptions we have about globalisation and outsourcing are now wrong, and that the global economy is subtly changing in ways yet to be picked up by blunt macroeconomic measurements.
“Robots are becoming cheaper than overseas labour, climate concern and volatile fossil fuel markets are restricting carbon footprints, and consumers increasingly expect tailored products with express delivery. Bouncing production around the planet is already making less and less economic sense,” says Livesey. Read more >>
$870M in softwood aid for CanadaThe federal government announced last week that it would provide close to $870 million to support Canada’s softwood lumber producers in the face of taxes imposed by the United States. Preliminary countervailing duties were applied on 28 April. Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne made the announcement in Ottawa.
"This action plan delivers on our pledge to take swift and reasonable action to defend our softwood lumber industry and charts a stronger future for the workers, families and communities that depend on it,” Minister Carr said. “We are prepared to take further action, including additional loan guarantees, to address changing market conditions."
The government’s softwood aid package will provide additional federal loans and the mentioned loan guarantees up to $500 million to forestry companies. It will also increase employment insurance for forestry workers who will lose their jobs as a result of the duties.
The U.S. Lumber Coalition expressed its dissatisfaction with the decision. Spokesperson Zoltan van Heyningen said the U.S. Commerce Department made the right decision by implementing anti-subsidy duties. “Canada continues to push back and refuses to play by the same set of rules,” he said in a statement. “We need a level playing field and must limit the flow of unfairly subsidized softwood shipments flooding the U.S. market, driving American lumber manufacturers out of business."
The U.S. Lumber Coalition claims that more than 350,000 American jobs would be threatened if softwood duties were not imposed on Canadian producers. The Coalition first filed its petition to the Commerce Department in November 2016.
In a contrast to the Coalition’s response, reactions to the news from Canadian forestry groups have exuded gratitude and optimism. "The Federal Government's renewed support for innovation in the forest sector will deliver tangible benefits in the emerging bio-based economy and to Indigenous communities dependent on the sector,” said Pierre Lapointe, president and chief executive officer of FPInnovations.
"This announcement will further develop markets for wood construction and de-risk innovative research of the next generation of technologies, processes and products thereby assuring the economic future of hundreds of communities and an environmentally sustainable forest sector,” Lapointe said.
The forest industry accounted for $22 billion of Canada’s GDP in 2016. Most of Canada’s softwood lumber exports go to the U.S., with more than 50 per cent coming from B.C.
Dr Mike Powell joins seedEnergyDr Mike Powell is well known to many in the Australiasian Forest Industry, having an esteemed career in Radiata Pine breeding for the Southern Tree Breeding Association during the early 2000's covering the development and implementation period for TREEPLAN® , and previously with North Eucalypt Technologies and the Tree Breeding Section of the Queensland Forest Service.
Mike has been appointed as seedEnergy’s Production Manager at Mount Gambier and will be leading the companies Radiata and Globulus programs. General Manager for seedEnergy, Barry Vaughan explained “We’re thrilled to be able to deploy STBA’s high quality breeding program under the guidance of someone of Mike's skill and experience”.
Kiwi furniture company leads nano tech developmentTop Kiwi furniture company, the PLN Group, is setting the global industry alight with its world leading nano technology developments. The PLN Group, based in Auckland, is a finalist in the Air New Zealand Cargo ExportNZ Awards, with winners to be announced on June 29. The company is earning up to 40 percent of its revenue off shore from clients such as Citibank, HSBC, Google, Hewlett Packard, Disney and Apple, chief executive Blair McKolskey says.
“Our cutting-edge innovations such as the acoustic nano technology is world leading and we are seeking to gain entry into Europe and North America this year. We have product we manufactured on display in North America’s biggest commercial furniture show NeoCon in Chicago next week”.
“We are one of, if not the most, innovative furniture firms in New Zealand. We have special nano technology in acoustic applications, leading developments in air filtration and Internet of Things in furniture. We are turning the furniture world on its head.
“We are one of the leading research firms in the New Zealand furniture market. We have qualified for a Callaghan grant to carry out research and development. We are one of the biggest exporters of furniture in New Zealand and one of the fastest growing with global product sales climbing more than 500 percent in the last five years.”
“Our nano tech has been a collaborative effort with one of only approximately five facilities in the world that can commercially spin nano fibre. We are also innovators in the application of the dense fibre to absorb sound waves in furniture. Haworth people say we have created an entirely new category of product in the furniture industry and we have created a path for others to follow” McKolskey says.
Weyerhaeuser selling southern timberlandsWeyerhauser have just announced an agreement to sell its timberlands and manufacturing business in Uruguay to a consortium led by BTG Pactual's Timberland Investment Group (TIG), including other long-term institutional investors, for $402.5 million.
The transaction includes over 120,000 hectares of timberlands in northeastern and north central Uruguay, as well as a plywood and veneer manufacturing facility, a cogeneration facility, and a seedling nursery.
"Our Uruguay business is a unique combination of high-quality timberlands, value-added manufacturing operations and skilled and dedicated people, and this transaction will best position the business to reach its full potential," said Doyle R. Simons, president and chief executive officer. "I am proud of the contributions our Uruguay employees have made to the success of Weyerhaeuser and the contributions they will make to the future success of these operations."
The transaction is subject to customary purchase price adjustments and closing conditions, including regulatory review, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017. Weyerhaeuser Uruguay and the buyer consortium will continue to operate separately until the transaction closes.
Canadian regulation on formaldehyde emissionsCanadian members of Parliament recently voted to pass Motion M-102, which seeks to adopt regulations on formaldehyde emissions in composite wood products that are aligned with existing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. This follows months of work by Parliamentarians on both sides of the aisle.
"Following several months of meetings with Health Canada and political stakeholders, a consensus has been finalized on the need for a Canadian regulation on formaldehyde emissions that emulates the new U.S. standard. This sets in motion a process that, once completed, will establish in Canada the world's most stringent standard for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products" said Donald Bisson, senior advisor at the Composite Panel Association (CPA).
Canadian composite panel manufacturers have made major investments over the last several years to voluntarily comply with the low emission levels called for under the EPA regulation. Offshore imports have not made a similar commitment, and thus there is a risk that high emitting products will get into Canada without a national regulation in place. CPA and its members stand ready to help Health Canada in their announced action plan to draft such a regulation, which will provide important health and environmental benefits to the public while at the same time ensuring a level regulatory playing field and fair competition. Read more.
Source: Composite Panel Association
Further research commercialisation welcomedA new partnership agreement providing the University of Auckland access to a share of more than NZ$215 million in funding will support further commercialisation of innovative Kiwi research, says Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith.
The University of Auckland and the IP Group, alongside eight Australian universities, signed the commercialisation agreement last week in Canberra. The partnership will provide the universities with access to over NZ$215 million of venture funding and in return, the IP Group will have right of first refusal for all arising commercialisation opportunities.
“This partnership will give New Zealand scientists and researchers access to vital capital that will help develop young, technology-intensive ventures arising from university-led research to take their products and ideas to the world,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“The capital available through this partnership is a significant boost for the early-stage investment ecosystem in New Zealand, and the University of Auckland will be able to leverage IP Group’s global network to access resources, knowledge, and technology - which is just as valuable for young start-up companies.
“I look forward to seeing the exciting work this collaboration delivers. This type of partnership should be seen as a shining example for other Kiwi research organisations that are looking to finance their commercialisation opportunities.
More information can be found here
Wood for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadiumAccording to the Architect behind the revolutionary design for the stadium to be used for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Kengo Kuma, the form of the building should be as subtle as possible, because then the material's character can reveal itself.
This approach is best illustrated by the stadium that Kuma has designed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: a wooden arena, with plants and trees filling the terraces that make up its exterior walls. It is a far cry from the more sculptural design created by Zaha Hadid, which won the original design competition but was controversially scrapped by the Japanese government after two years of development.
"I believe concrete and steel were the materials of the previous century, and the key material for the twenty-first century will be wood again,” said Kuma. “Wood used to construct the stadium will be sourced from parts of Japan affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011, and help create a building with a human scale.”
“I'm very interested in the technique and technology of making a building. Most of the history of architecture is about the changing styles of architecture. But behind the change of style, there was often a change of construction method and changes in the way material was used. Especially in Japan, before the concrete technology that came from Europe and the USA, we had a very long tradition of wooden buildings”.
"Wooden buildings and concrete buildings are totally different from each other. For wooden buildings, ageing is very important. With wooden buildings, we are able to design the process of its ageing. But with concrete buildings, people seem to forget the ageing of the material.”
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... the shoebox
A couple has been married for 60 years. And to stay together for that long you have to be completely honest with your partner. So the husband and wife were very open, shared everything and didn’t have any secrets from each other.
And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.
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