Indications are that the STTC-backed initiative undertaken by the Danish Timber Trade Federation (DTTF) to develop the market in Denmark for verified sustainable sourced tropical timber is having positive effects. The German Timber Trade Federation, GD Holz, also continues to develop the tropical timber communications strategy initiated under its STTC project.
According to the DTTF, 2017 statistics showed an increase both in the volume of tropical timber imported by its members, albeit from a low base, to 21,500 m3, and in the amount verified sustainably sourced to 10,000 m3, or 46%. This followed years of decline. The STTC target is for total EU verified sustainably sourced tropical timber market share of 50% by 2020.
“In our project to stimulate the market for verified sustainable tropical timber products, our core activity has been communication. In essence, we’ve worked to support our members in communicating and selling their positive stories,” said DTTF Director Jakob Rygg Klaumann. “By building a strong base of arguments, our members can communicate consistently and repeatedly that verified sustainable tropical timber is a safe, versatile material and readily available in the marketplace.”
He added that the STTC project, besides setting market share targets, had been helpful in initiating the tropical timber awareness raising and information process, amongst others via its website (http://dktimber.dk/tropisk-trae/).
“It has made it possible for us to mobilize and unify members towards a joint effort and focus attention on the importance of communication,” he said.
The DTTF acknowledged that changing market perceptions about tropical timber is a long-term process and that to go from a defensive to a pro-active stance in communication requires time. There is also a little way to go to achieve its targets on verified sustainable market share.
“But we are committed to making further progress,” said Mr Klaumann. “Improving the image of verified sustainable tropical timber will remain a priority area for us into the future and we are currently working to secure funding for a continuation of the communication project for the next two years.”
GD Holz is also committed to build on the achievements of its STTC project.
“Thanks to highly effective NGO campaigns on deforestation, tropical timber in Germany had one of the most stubborn public image problems in Europe,” said GD Holz Head of Foreign Trade Nils Olaf Petersen. “But we continue to develop communications through our website’s tropical timber section (https://www.gdholz.de/themen/tropenholz-image/) and other channels to increase appreciation of the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainably sourced timber and wood products, and the material’s performance potential.”