Green labelling : investigation into the marketing of FSC certified timber along the domestic timber value chain in South Africa

Ham, Cornelis (2007-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Green consumerism is on the increase, especially in developed countries. Green labels plays a key role in informing and assuring consumers about the environmental credibility of the products that they purchase. Within the global forestry industry green label certification schemes have also had a large impact. More than 80% of the 1.3 million hectares of plantations in South Africa are certified under the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) green label standard. A research survey was undertaken amongst growers, processors and retailers of timber products in South Africa to assess the current FSC domestic market situation. The survey indicated that although growers and processors support FSC certification, as a way of improving the quality of forestry in South Africa, they receive very limited market benefits for FSC certified products and do not market FSC products actively. Hardware retailers were found to be unaware of FSC certification. Reports from other developing countries indicate similar trends. This raises the question if it is worth marketing FSC products to domestic consumers? The marketing of FSC certified products might not yield direct financial gains but it can help to improve the image of forestry companies and the forestry industry in general. FSC certification can be used as a way of showing corporate social responsibility towards consumers and in raising the profile of the South African forestry industry. Based on the results from the research survey a number of recommendations can be made regarding the marketing of FSC as a green label certification system in South Africa. A marketing campaign for FSC certified timber products should ideally focus on the social benefits of buying high quality timber products. This marketing message should be targeted at individual and corporate consumers. Individual consumers could be educated about the benefits of buying green label products while corporate consumers could be encouraged to use and sell FSC certified products as part of their corporate social responsibility. The promotion of FSC certification could also be boosted if it can be included in activities related to the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The different role players in the domestic timber value chain can each playa role in marketing FSC certified products. These roles differ from creating a promotional push in the timber value chain by growers, processors and retailers to a promotional pull amongst consumers by the FSC, NGO's, certification bodies, industry representatives and government. A marketing campaign for FSC products should ideally be coordinated and driven by the South African FSC National Initiative

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Groen verbruikersdruk is aan die toeneem, veral in ontwikkelde lande. Groen etikette speel 'n sleutelrol in die verskaffing van inligting en 'n versekering aan verbruikers oor die omgewingsgeloofwaardigheid van die produkte wat hulle koop. Groen sertifiseringskemas het ook 'n groot impak op die globale bosbou-industrie gehad. Meer as 80% van die 1.3 miljoen hektaar plantasies in Suid Afrika is gesertifiseer volgens die "Forestry Stewardship Council" (FSC) groen etiket standaard. 'n Navorsingsopname is onderneem onder kwekers, verwerkers en kleinhandelaars van houtprodukte in Suid Afrika. Die doel was om die huidige binnelandse marksituasie van FSC gesertifiseerde houtprodukte te ontleed. Die opname het getoon dat, alhoewel kwekers en verwerkers FSC sertifisering ondersteun as 'n manier om bosbou se kwaliteit in Suid Afrika te verbeter, hulle baie min markvoordeel uit FSC gesertifiseerde produkte kry en dat hulle nie FSC produkte aktief bemark nie. Daar is bevind dat hardeware kleinhandelaars onbewus is van FSC sertifisering. Verslae vanaf ander ontwikkelende lande dui op soortgelyke tendense. Dit laat ontstaan die vraag of dit die moeite werd is om FSC produkte aan binnelandse verbruikers te bemark? Die bemarking van FSC gesertifiseerde produkte mag dalk nie direkte finansieHe voordele inhou nie, maar kan help om die beeld van bosboumaatskappye en die bosboubedryf in die algemeen te verbeter. FSC sertifisering kan gebruik word om korporatiewe sosiale verantwoordelikheid aan verbuikers te demonstreer en om die profiel van die Suid-Afrikaanse bosbou industrie te verbeter. 'n Aantal aanbevelings, gebaseer op die resultate van die navorsingsopname, kan gemaak word oor die bemarking van FSC as 'n groen etiket sertifiseringstelsel in Suid Afrika. 'n Bemarkingsveldtog vir FSC gesertifiseerde houtprodukte behoort te fokus op die sosiale voordele van die koop van hoe kwaliteit houtprodukte. Individuele en korporatiewe verbruikers behoort geteiken te word met die bemarkingsboodskap. Individuele verbruikers kan opgelei word in die voordele van die koop van groen etiket produkte, terwyl korporatiewe verbruikers aangemoedig kan word om FSC produkte te gebruik en te verkoop as deel van hulle korporatiewe sosiale verantwoordelikheid. Die promosie van FSC sertifisering kan ook aangehelp word deur dit in te sluit by aktiwiteite wat betrekking het op die 2010 Sokker Wereldbeker. Die verskillende rolspelers in die binnelandse hout waardeketting kan elk 'n rol speel in die bemarking van FSC gesertifiseerde produkte. Hierdie rolle kan wissel vanaf die skepping van 'n promosie stootkrag in die hout waardeketting deur kwekers, verwerkers en kleinhandelaars tot die skepping van 'n promosie trekkrag onder verbruikers deur die FSC, nie-regeringsorganisasies, industriele verteenwoordigers en die regering. 'n Bemarkinsgveldtog behoort deur die Suid-Afrikaanse FSC Nasionale Inisiatief gedryf en geko6rdineer te word

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