The conference focused on many themes of importance to the industry in the region. These ranged from investment in forestry and transportation of wood and timber industry products to shredded wood and its derivatives. Sessions also covered exports to and from the European Union (EU) and Russian timber markets, and intra-EU trade in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe.
Felix Romero’s presentation on ‘Trends and drivers of certified timber products’ highlighted how the value of FSC is recognized not only by its certificate holders but also in the market. He illustrated the success of FSC certification with supporting facts from the FSC Global Market Survey. He pointed out the advantages of certification for businesses, with 98 percent of those currently holding an FSC certificate planning to keep or renew their FSC certification in the future. For 93 percent of these businesses, the biggest strength of FSC certification is that it shows consumers that their products come from well-managed forests. But maintaining biodiversity in managed forests is another important strength, noted by 89 percent of certified businesses.
Participants also discussed the broader context of the international timber trade in the light of statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. These show that whilst the European timber market has contracted, with further stagnation or slow recovery expected, there is an increasing demand for wood and paper from north Africa and Asia, leading to an increasing trend towards exporting from Europe to these emerging markets.
The forest sector faces the challenge of revitalizing the European market, especially by communicating the message that timber is a renewable and ecological product. Against this background, says Romero, “FSC certification is an essential marketing tool to communicate the social and environmental values of responsible forest management.”
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