21 Sept  2017 – Conference: Sustainably sourced tropical timber –  selling a positive story

source: Mark van Benthem (left) and 24H architecture (right)


For too long the European tropical timber trade has been on the defensive. An automatic link has been forged in consumers’ and specifiers’ minds between tropical timber, illegal logging and deforestation in many countries. This has combined with lack of awareness of the availability of sustainably sourced timber from well-managed tropical forests and the overall result is that the reputation and market success of all tropical timber has suffered.

The 2017 European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC) Conference will be the opportunity to discuss and learn how to sell the truly positive story that sustainably sourced tropical timber has to tell;  to review the challenge and, share knowledge and best practice with colleagues from across Europe on marketing this valuable and versatile material.  It will also be an excellent occasion to network with buyers, suppliers and specifiers.

The arguments for using sustainably sourced tropical timber and particularly lesser-known timber species (LKTS) are strong.  It is key to increasing the economic viability of sustainable forest management (SFM) and, by connection, to sustaining biodiversity and forest community livelihoods. So the onus is on the trade as a whole to boost awareness, specification and use of this high performance, versatile raw material. But it is a story, that can sometimes be complex to communicate and pitch correctly for different audiences.

The STTC Conference 2017 will explore how to improve the image of sustainably sourced tropical timber and market it as a rich and varied resource that can contribute to forest conservation – and do so in a way that appeals to users and consumers.

Learn about

  • The importance of using sustainably sourced tropical timber – it’s ‘Use it or lose it’;­
  • communicating the benefits of tropical timber use and best practices looking at
    • Life Cycle Analyses,
    • contributions to Sustainable Development Goals
    • and Climate Change Mitigation;
  • marketing LKTS;
  • opportunities for a European timber and pulp and paper covenant;
  • sustainable sourcing promotion by Timber Trade Federations.

Open discussion

The Conference will include many opportunities for delegate input, including interactive plenaries and breakout sessions.

Programme sept 20

Excursion and Networking dinner, September 20, 2017, 14:00

Interested in seeing the city you are visiting from a sustainable tropical timber perspective? Aarhus is amongst the cities with the highest and most diverse use of tropical timber in both everyday and iconic uses.

On September 20th delegates have the option of joining an FSC Denmark-organised tour to the most interesting constructions and uses of tropical timber in the city. Meet the construction companies and designers behind the different projects and learn, why they choose as they did.

The tour will end in spectacular settings on the harbor of Aarhus, where The European STTC and FSC Denmark invite you to join a networking dinner.

  • 14:00 Walk to see showcase projects (3.5-5 km walk)
  • 18:00 Networking dinner (costs will be announced soon)
Programme sept 21

The Conference Programme, September 21, 2017, 9:00-18:30

The Conference will open with the plenaries, followed by afternoon breakout sessions, a panel discussion, and concluding with refreshments (9:00-18:30)

Participants and speakers

The Conference will gather STTC partners and participants, Timber Trade Federations, timber traders, construction sector representatives, NGOs and other stakeholders.

Moderator, for the fourth consecutive time, is Peter Woodward of Quest Associates.

time slottopic
8.30Welcome and registration
Welcome by host
Agenda, process and introductions
Peter Woodward
9.20Session 1 - Activity Review and Plans - a year of action
STTC impact so far and flag ship projects
An update on STTC initiatives and follow-up since Rotterdam will be given by Nienke Stam (IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative/STTC). Pitches of 5 flagship projects, participant discussion & speaker panel.
Introduction to TableTalks
Peter Woodward
10.30Coffee Break
11.00Session 2 - Focus on Action - TableTalks
An opportunity to explore a selection of case studies and activities exemplifying effective delivery of STTC practise. Participants to choose 3 from app. 12 TableTalks held 3 times in parallel. Examples of topics are: tropical wood and life cycle analysis, using Sustainable Development Goals and climate change mitigation to promote timber, the market position of FLEGT licensed timber and wood products, marketing lesser known tropical species, scientific evidence and sustainability claims, and timber market sales trends.
13.20Session 3 - Selling our story - and sustainably sourced tropical timber!
Key note: Identifying sustainably sourced tropical timber's meaningful difference
A highly participative session considering afresh how we brand ‘sustainably sourced tropical timber’ to boost sales in a highly competitive market.
The session led by global expert on brands and marketing Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst, Kantar Millward Brown. Coffee break included.
16.20Session 4 - Towards an European Timber pulp and paper covenant
Introduction to the concept and draft text (if available)
The concept of an European Timber pulp and paper covenant will be introduced Nienke Stam (IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative/STTC), followed by table group discussions, and feedback to the plenary.
17.00Ceremonial moment in which new participants join the STTC & Closing remarks
Peter Woodward
17.15Invitation for drinks and bites


The venue is Centralværkstedet: Værkmestergade 9, 8000 Aarhus C.
Getting to Aarhus

You can book a room with 15% discount in the hotels Comwell and WakeUp:


The conference on September 21 is free of charge (including lunch, drinks and refreshments). For the Networking dinner on September 20, a fee will be charged.


For more information please contact Joyce Penninkhof joyce.penninkhof@probos.nl, +31 (0) 317-466557 or Kristian Jørgensen kristian@fsc.dk, +45 2887 7808


Subscribe to the conference ‘Sustainably sourced tropical timber – selling a positive story’ and discuss challenges, share knowledge and best practices with colleagues from all over Europe on the image and marketing of sustainably sourced tropical timber. Capacity is limited, so register now!