Sustainability Strategies in the Forestry–Wood Chain Driven by Market Demands on Books and Other Productsby Carl Olsmats, Dorotea Slimani

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Sustainability Strategies in the Forestry–Wood Chain

Driven by Market Demands on Books and Other


Carl Olsmats • Dorotea Slimani  Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Abstract This paper focuses on sustainability strategies for the Forestry–Wood chain (FWC) driven by market demands on books and other products. The main objective is to draft and suggest a process for market driven pro-active sustainability strategies for the FWC, based on a SWOT-analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Further to highlight the possible strategic implications and critical areas for actors upstream in the FWC, in the context of uncertain external future scenarios. Higher demands on product differentiation were found throughout the FWC, where also collaboration and stakeholder interaction was found important to improve sustainability. The work broadens the ‘‘traditional’’ perspectives on FWC sustainability to encompass also interacting value chains such as book production and publishing, to get a more holistic view.

Keywords Sustainability  Book production  Forestry–Wood chain 

SWOT-analysis  Strategy


Europe’s forest-based sector faces major challenges. Globalisation, changing trade relationships, as well as shifts in demography, lifestyles and consumption patterns have led to changing demands for forest products and services. Many of these developments may also challenge sustainable development. Through current debates about issues such as climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity,

C. Olsmats (&)

School of Technology and Business Studies, Dalarna University, 791 88 Falun, Sweden e-mail:

D. Slimani

Independent Sustainability Consultant, Nacka, Sweden 123

Pub Res Q

DOI 10.1007/s12109-014-9389-9 competitiveness and people’s wellbeing, European forest and forestry issues have moved up on the political agenda. Europe’s forest resource supplies a forest products industry which employs many technologies and provides employment to millions of Europeans (CEPI [6] and CEI-Bois [5]), whereof an estimated 130,000 employed in the book production and an estimated total of 330,000 employed in the book and journal production sector (FEP [11]). Forest biomass can contribute to meeting the European Union’s goals for more renewable energy (EC [8]). On the other hand, the supply of raw material to paper, woodworking and other industries also needs to be secured. Europe’s forests also provide a wide range of essential ecosystem services, such as biodiversity, helping to mitigate climate change and providing settings for recreation and tourism. Stakeholders in the European forestbased sector have one important thing in common, namely forests as a resource base. However, the character of being land based and at the same time encompassing a high-tech industry, makes it a very complex sector. It requires a careful balancing act between economic, social and environmental sustainability.

EFORWOOD—Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) of the Forestry–Wood

Chain (FWC)—was a four-years (November 2005–October 2009) integrated project, funded under the EU ‘‘Global change and ecosystems’’ research activity of the sixth framework programme. The project included 38 organisations in 21 countries, with a total budget of around €20 million. The idea was to bring together all parts of the forest-based sector, and integrating knowledge in a project focusing on contribution to a sustainable development in the European society [9].

The main objective of EFORWOOD was to develop a quantitative decision support tool for SIA of the European FWC and subsets thereof (e.g. regional), covering forestry, industrial manufacturing, consumption and recycling. A FWC consists of a number of interconnected processes, from forest regeneration to the end-of-life scenarios of wood-based products. The tool developed, ToSIA (tool for sustainability impact assessment) (see [25]), enables analysis of the effects of changes, such as implementation of new policies or business activities, or external forces e.g. climate change and/or changes in the global market conditions.

The multi-functionality of the FWC was taken into account by using indicators to assess the sustainability of different processes, products and services. At an early stage in the EFORWOOD project it became obvious that all aspects of sustainability could not be accounted for by the quantitative tool, ToSIA. Qualitative approaches were needed as a complement, not the least downstream in the chain close to the market. This paper focuses on the development of downstream market driven sustainability strategies dealt with in the EFORWOOD industry to consumer interactions module.

Industry to Consumer Interactions

Consumers, professional users and businesses buy and use products with full or partial origin in the forest. Commodity type FWC products (e.g. paper rolls, pellets, board and sawn wood) from the FWC-based processing and manufacturing industries are typically distributed to interacting value chains (e.g. food, media and book publishing, energy, buildings) for further processing and value adding. ForestPub Res Q 123 based materials are incorporated into more and less complex products consisting of various materials. A key aspect for the FWC sustainability is to understand the perception of and suggest improvements in forest-based materials and products, so that their impact on overall functional performance and sustainability in interacting final-product value chains is positive. This includes also material recycling and energy recovery considerations. A stakeholder-oriented approach is crucial when

FWC sustainability is assessed [12], and it was a very important aspect of SIA for the project as a whole [34]. For the industry to consumer interactions module it was found absolutely essential.

Objective and Scope

With the research question being ‘‘How to actively address sustainability issues for the FWC with a holistic view on interacting value chains and markets?’’, the main objective for the research presented here is to suggest a process and draft market driven pro-active sustainability strategies for the whole FWC and for significant