Barriers to FSC certification for small forest owners in Sweden
Sammanfattning: The awareness of sustainable development challenges is growing. Companies are important players in society's development and in order to follow that development, action towards more sustainable business practises is required. Forests are important to the environment, and the forestry industry is largely influenced by society's demands for social, environmental and economic sustainability. In order to strengthen the reliability of sustainability efforts, many forest owners join environmental certification organizations to get their forests certified. The purpose of forest certification is to create a reliable link between consumer and forest product, that proves the product is produced responsibly in terms of social and environmental aspects. The most commonly used certifications in Sweden are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for Endorcement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) are the most common forest certification in Sweden. Three of the four major forest owners' associations, Norra skogsägarna, Norrskog and Mellanskog do not promote FSC. Many of the small forest owners are instead attracted to the other certification scheme of PEFC. This study aims at investigating the actual and perceived barriers for private small forest owners to join FSC. This is a case study which is a suitable method used to gain a greater understanding of this specific phenomenon. In order to identify potential barriers, umbrella organizations that offer PEFC were selected as the unit of analyzis, the certification organizations were also interviewed. The result shows that there is great awareness of social, environmental and economic sustainability. On the other hand, there is a certain difference between the views held by forest owners and representatives of certification organizations, which suggests that the perspectives differ depending on which organization one represents. The FSC and PEFC standards differ slightly, which may be a reason why small forest owners are looking for PEFC to a greater extent. The differences however are actually not that great any more, the standards of FSC and PEFC have become very similar. The differences are rather how the organizations are built up where the FSC is a top-down organization while the PEFC has more of a bottom-up structure. Regardless of certification schemes, forest owners find it costly and time consuming to be certified. The most prevalent obstacle to joining FSC is the fear that the standard develops too far away from the small forest owners' interests. The discussion focuses on what this means for the purpose of certification.
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