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Published - 23 May, 2024

Forest Industry

Forest Insights 2 2024

It’s been a busy quarter here, not least because we are seeing increased demand for our services when it comes to sustainability issues. Clearly, all things green, and listening to what consumers as well as direct customers are saying and thinking about sustainability, is key - now more than ever.

Forest Insights 2 2024

Among our recent work was a comprehensive study of 10,000 European consumers across 10 countries for Skogsindustrierna, the Swedish forest association. You can read our top take-aways in more detail here, but very briefly: Consumers care deeply about climate change, they support the transition to a green economy, and they want to see renewable products replace fossil-based. That’s the good news.

Rather more challenging is the news that they don’t want to pay for more sustainable alternatives, especially during times of economic hardship. And despite improved efforts from forest product companies to communicate the potential and green credentials of the sector, consumer understanding of working forests is still very low. 

Consumers strongly support replacing fossil-based products with more sustainable alternatives, but there’s a paradox here. While they would like to see everything from textiles and plastics to cement and fuels replaced with renewable sources, a staggering 65% of the people we spoke to believe that Europe’s forests have shrunk significantly or somewhat in the last 10 years (the opposite is true). Where will the raw material for their green wish-list come from if not the forest? This paradox needs to be addressed, and sooner rather later.

Consumers need to realise that the forest products sector is growing not shrinking the forest. They also need to understand carbon capture and storage – most believe a tree stops storing carbon the minute it is felled, unaware that carbon continues to be locked into a wood product. 

This knowledge gap is not just an industry issue: the sector’s branding problem affects the entire value chain, from printers and fashion houses to construction companies and retailers. Everyone in this substantial value chain shares both challenge and opportunity here, and all need to start working together to communicate the unique potential of the forest products industry when it comes to green credentials. Consumers have spoken. Now it’s time to work together and listen to what they’re saying, the sooner the better.

Also in this issue, two testimonials on the importance of understanding the bigger picture. Read why Södra Bioproducts and SCA both chose Opticom recently to help them make better business decisions. 

Read the full newsletter here!

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