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Interview: Hélène Bolliot, founder of Wood’up

Ordinateur et lunettes posés sur une table fabriquée en bois

Wood’up is a consulting firm specialized in the wood industry. Today, it is an important player in the industry, accompanying companies on the issue of wood and forestry heritage. We asked a few questions to Hélène Bolliot, founder and director of Wood’up.

Can you introduce yourself? What is your background?

I founded Wood’Up almost 4 years ago, on the benches of the forestry school of Nancy (AgroParisTech ex-ENGREF). The objective of Wood’Up is to bring innovation to the forestry and wood industry, both in terms of the projects we carry out and the internal format. At the beginning, it was a design office whose objective was to create a link between young foresters and the professionals of the sector. For this, we have set up a systematic recruitment of young foresters (students or new graduates) that we hire and supervise on each of our missions. Today, we offer a 360° expertise, accompanying forest owners, communities and companies on all issues related to trees, forests and the wood industry.

What is an “office of studies and forestry expertise”? What role does it play in the wood industry?

We are both a consulting firm and a research firm, which means that we support companies on issues related to the industry, the product, the resource, and forest owners in the management of their forestry assets (inventories, management, planting, cutting…)

Wood’Up is both upstream and downstream of the sector. Our role in the wood industry is essential, as we are the link between the resource upstream and the wood product downstream. Between the two, we need to understand each link in the chain, in order to be able to manage a forestry project from A to Z. The knowledge of the resource is essential, because its temporality is quite different from that of the finished product. We need to look ahead 50, 100 or even 150 years to best advise our clients.

What difficulties do you encounter on a daily basis in the exercise of your mission?

The main challenge we face is the lack of forestry knowledge among the general public. Among them, many small forest owners, who have little or no knowledge of our profession and the forest resource. To make up for this lack, we have set up an educational program to raise awareness of the forest and the wood industry: Les Petits Forestiers, a registered trademark in 2019.

What successes can you look forward to?

My greatest success is to have succeeded in bringing Wood’Up to this day, with the arrival of Clément Lachaud, a young forester, as a partner. We are now two passionate people developing projects for the forest and the people.

How do you support your customers?

We like to say that we don’t work for our clients, but with our clients. We see our services as projects, which we set up with them. Our company has strong values, which we want to promote in our work. This is where I believe our added value lies.

Who can use Wood’Up’s services?

Anyone interested in forestry and wood! In fact, our offer is extensive. From the owner who wants to sell or buy a forest and know its value, the one who doesn’t know how to manage it, or the one who needs to sell his wood, to the company using wood that wants to carry out a strategic reflection and foresee the evolution of the resource and the market, we can accompany the actors of the sector at each step of the circuit.

Do you think that wood is a material of the future?

Wood is and must be at the heart of our concerns for the future!

Firstly, because it is a renewable resource, with a temporality that puts mineral resources out of competition (despite the supporters of concrete construction). Also, because its carbon footprint is better than all the substitutes we know today.

We are convinced that the ecological transition cannot be made without taking into account forest management, and with it the use of wood products. The countries that have massively deforested at one time have understood that the forest is of fundamental importance for the landscape and the environment, and by extension for the climate. However, it is necessary to change mentalities and preconceived ideas about the material wood and its use. Wood construction is not just about cottages, and forest management is not about deforestation.

A big thank you to Hélène Bolliot for this interview!

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