Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 230
Communicating the Environmental Performance of Wood Products
The objective of this study is to provide a basis for improving the market communication of the environmental performance of wood products in Nordic countries. The focus is on business-to-business relations. The research questions concern the current state of the art of environmental performance measures, their efficient use, influential hot spots of environmental concerns and gaps between producer and stakeholder perceptions.
The study combines an extensive assessment of the relevant literature with an assessment of the views and opinions in the industry today. The sample of 37 interviewed companies was purposively constructed to involve different actors and business strategies. The results of this study are drawn as a synthesis of the literature review and the interviews.
The use of EPMs is efficient if grounded on, or resulting in, sustained competitive advantages at the firm or product level. For wood products, this usually necessitates the substitution of wood for materials with inferior environmental credentials. While forest certification is unique to forest products, generic eco-labels, such as green building certificates and EPDs, make it possible to compare the environmental performance of wood with that of other materials.
Generic eco-labels such as the Nordic Ecolabel and EU Ecolabel make a claim for relatively better-than-average environmental performance. However, neither is a genuine international or pan-European consumer label. In particular the EU Ecolabel lacks specifications for wood products. Green building certification offers the best opportunities for wood, but these plans could be further developed to take better account of the imputed environmental impacts. EPDs communicate environmental information efficiently, but they are not yet widely used. The introduction of the CE mark for construction products and green building certification will probably increase the motivation to adopt these systems.
The responsible and sustainable sourcing of wood constitutes important product information that should be attached to wooden products throughout the whole value chain. Therefore, the industry should promote chain-of-custody certification. Companies that put their stakes on PEFC/FSC and ISO 14001 certificates alone should be aware that these measures may become the minimum requirement in the market in the future. A company that wants to stand out in terms of environmental friendliness will have to accomplish even more.
Environmental performance, Green labelling, Certification, Standards, Communication, Interview study, Literature review
Communicating the Environmental Performance of Wood Products (pdf, size 1842 kb)
Räty, Tarmo, Lindqvist, Daniel, Nuutinen, Tuula, Nyrud, Anders Q., Perttula, Sini, Riala, Maria, Roos, Anders, Tellnes, Lars G. F., Toppinen, Anne & Wang, Lei . 2012. Communicating the Environmental Performance of Wood Products. Metlan työraportteja / Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 230. 71 p. ISBN 978-951-40-2363-7 (PDF). Available at: http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut/workingpapers/2012/mwp230.htm.
Metla Eastern Finland Regional Unit, PO BOX 68, FIN-80101 Joensuu.
Unit: Eastern Unit
Metla, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), University of Helsinki, Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology (Treteknisk Layout: Anna-Kaisu Korhonen
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