A marketing toolkit, a YouTube video and a dedicated website are among the first results of STTC-backed sustainable tropical timber plans being undertaken by EU national timber trade federations. In total four federations are signed up to these STTC-backed projects to develop their national markets for sustainably sourced tropical timber and assist their members in procurement and promotional strategies; those of France, Germany, Spain and Denmark.
One of the first to report on its latest action plan activities was Le Commerce du Bois of France (LCB). It has organised regional meetings with NGO´s and leading importers to discuss key sustainable tropical timber sourcing and market development initiatives. LCB has also created a sustainable tropical timber digital toolkit which it features on its website, www.lecommercedubois.org and offers on a USB stick. It includes a directory of French tropical importers, technical and environmental guides, videos and information on the STTC.
The French association also approached 22 architectural schools to offer presentations on sourcing and construction potential of sustainable tropical wood. This, however, was the least successful of its activities. “We had difficulties mobilising architects and think this deserves strategic reflection within the STTC and European Timber Trade Federation on how to reach out to specifiers more efficiently,” said LCB Director Eric Boilley. He added that his organisation is also now proposing presentations to vocational schools providing timber-related degrees.
In Germany, the GD Holz federation has focused on the fact that commercialising tropical timber , albeit sustainable, is still “like a red rag to a bull for many people”. Consequently it has produced a consumer and specifier-targeted video for its YouTube channel. This highlights that “circumstances in many tropical timber producing countries have changed and the use of sustainable tropical timber has become a key factor in preserving global rainforests. It shows in a simple and entertaining way the benefits of using sustainably certified tropical wood,” stated GD Holz, which invites others to post it on their websites (the English version is at https://youtu.be/Atm_RUVmdHA). “It’s not possible to provide all the relevant information in a 100-second clip, but we will also be setting up a distinct information section at www.use-it-or-lose-it.org with additional facts about the positive effects of sustainable development in the use of tropical wood,” said GD Holz.
Meanwhile in Denmark, the Danish Timber Trade Federation (DTTF) has focused on “developing the base for communications about tropical timber” for its members to use in day-to-day business. “We’ve been working to elaborate and explain key messages – that sustainably sourced tropical timber is a safe and versatile material, which is readily available in the marketplace – so that members can use them consistently and repeatedly in their own communication to sell the positive story about sustainably sourced tropical timber products,” said Director Jakob Rygg Klaumann. This information toolkit is available at http://dktimber.dk/tropisk-trae. It includes facts about tropical timber, and details about legal and sustainable forest management, timber properties and applications, the link between a viable market for sustainable timber and maintaining the forest and between the latter and tackling climate change. The DTTF is particularly targeting this information to retailers as key market influencers “to help them overcome negative perceptions about tropical timber among their customers”.