The 51,000 forest owners who make up the membership of Södra mostly own relatively small areas of forest, but together they manage over half of the privately owned forest in southern Sweden. Södra provides support and services for forest management, processing and marketing, permitting small forest owners to sell their timber profitably.
As well as being an economic association for its members, Södra is also a large employer. Some 4,000 people work for the Group, in areas that range from forest management and environmental conservation to accounting, sales and product development.
With strongly growing demand for FSC certified products, in February 2009 Södra’s board took the decision to work towards FSC certification. The group certification system within Södra achieved FSC forest management certification in July 2009, opening markets to its members for both timber and pulp products.
Members with certification receive a premium per cubic meter on delivering logs to the processing plants. For small forest owners, association and certification together bring important economic benefits. But equally important for some is the confirmation of their responsible forest management.
“The criteria for certification are very consistent with how I want to manage my forests,” says forest owner, Bodil Gunnarsson. “To get paid extra to do as one wants is a big advantage. Certification also helps ensure that contractors take responsibility in all respects…. As a co-owner of Södra's industries, I believe my decision to choose FSC certification strengthens our common global competitiveness."
The FSC group certification scheme has been popular among members, and the number of certified holdings has risen rapidly.
“We have had a tremendous response from our members since we started offering FSC certification in 2009,” says Klara Helstad, Environmental and Quality Manager for Södra Skog. “We now have more than 15,000 certified forest holdings and 1.3 million hectares. It's great that it has worked out so well.”
FSC certification also offers Södra the opportunity to play an active role in the FSC, and the Group is now represented on the board and committees of FSC Sweden. Ensuring the needs of small forest owners are well represented in forest certification schemes, Södra brings ample strength for its members through association.
Photos used in publication:
_S8T3929_Lev.jpg: Caption: For many forest owners, forestry is a lifestyle (photo: Jesper Andersson)
naturvärd-eko-bokskog-Växjö2007 (22).jpg: Caption: Deciduous forest, managed for conservation (Credit: Andreas Lindholm)
Other photos available:
Vinterskog.jpg: Caption: Spruce and pine production forest in winter (photo: Stig-Göran Arthursson)
026.jpg: Caption: Södra provides forest management services for owners as needed (photo: Per Karlsson)
Environmental and Quality Manager,