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Challenges and Solutions in Implementing and Maintaining Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody Certification : a case study in Finland

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Title: Challenges and Solutions in Implementing and Maintaining Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody Certification : a case study in Finland
Author(s): Tsui, Ka Man
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Sciences
Discipline: Urban EcologyMultidisciplinary studies on Urban Environmental Issues
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2015
Forest certification has been used as a tool to promote forestry responsibility towards sustainable forest management. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is one of the certification systems that is well recognised in Europe. Nevertheless, compared to other European countries, the number of FSC chain of custody (CoC) certifications in Finland is relatively low. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six FSC CoC certified companies to explore their experiences towards implementing and maintaining the system in their companies. The sample group was comprised of wood and paper product industries in manufacturing and trading sectors. Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed the challenges companies encountered. The results indicated that there were eight types of challenges, including three internal and five external ones, hindering the development of FSC CoC certification in Finland. Internal challenges included competence, financial resources, and a lack of motivation to change. External challenges included insufficient marketing and demand, uncertain cost benefit, keen competitor programmes, limited supply, and long trademark approval time. Meanwhile, the relevant solutions these companies adopted to deal with the challenges were discussed. Since external challenges out-numbered internal ones, it seemed that certified companies are not able to tackle the existing challenges alone. Joint-effort among other actors in the forestry sector, for instance, the national authority, FSC national office, certification bodies are essential to influence the rate of certification uptake. Furthermore, participants discussed about the future development of FSC CoC certification system in Finland. Interviewees believed that the enactment of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the introduction of forest certification into national public procurement policy could positively impact the development of the system. The results of this study could be used as a reference for potential certificate users to prepare themselves for implementing FSC CoC certification system. In addition, the study could shed a light on the development of FSC in Finland in the future.

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