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25 - 27 June 1997
Biri Norway

Report of the Team meeting


1.    The meeting of the Joint FAO/ECE Team of Public Relations Specialists in the Forest and Forest Industries Sector was held in Biri, Norway on 25-27 June 1997.

2.    The following countries were represented by the 27 participants: Austria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  The ECE, FAO and Malaysian Timber Council were also represented.  A list of participants and speakers is attached as Annex 1.

3.    Ms. Berit Sanness (Norway), Deputy Team Leader, welcomed the team to Biri.

4.    Mr. Ingwald Gschwandtl (Austria), Team Leader, chaired the meeting and Mr. Ed Pepke (FAO/ECE) was rapporteur.

5.    The provisional agenda was adopted.

Communication needs to promote wood as an environmentally friendly material (item 1)

6.    Mr. Pepke reviewed the 10 recommendations from the workshop in Jönköping, Sweden in April 1996 which had been passed on to the Team for consideration by the parent bodies.  The first recommendation calls for promotion of wood through coordinated international efforts.

7.    Mr. Jan Hagsted (Sweden), Director of the Nordic Timber Council, described the positive attributes of wood and cited these trends: a move to high technology, internationalization, media prominence, economy consciousness, globalization of trade, new role of women, improved quality of life, and environmental consciousness.  His visions of truly aware environmentally conscious consumers, high performance products, market oriented research and development, and a growing wood culture led to the following targets: to accept the finality of global resources; to use less energy; and to accept environmental life cycle analyses. He concluded that we should have confidence in wood, work on wood's strengths, improve the quality and quantity of our messages, focus on key groups and have a long-term perspective.  He recommended that: 1. environmental consciousness offers us unique PR opportunities; 2. we create a PR master plan; 3. we develop new PR methods; 4. the industry have a market orientation; 5. much more money be spent on PR; and 6. that competence is crucial at every level.

8.    The discussion indicated that the team agreed with these two sets of recommendations and they delayed action until the discussion of item 6.

Communication on forest certification (item 2)

9.    Mr. Sven Sjunnesson (Sweden), Forestry Director of the Swedish Forest owners' Federation presented the ISO and FSC approaches to certification.  The advantages of ISO are: it is international and well-organized; 14001 is an environmental tool covering all parts of the company; it is adaptable to local needs; and the company decides the necessary level of detail.  FSC advantage is that it is recognized by NGOs.  He said the shortcomings of the FSC approach are that it does not address chain of custody and certification of small forest holdings requiring group certification.

10.    In the discussion Mr. Ronnie Williams (UK) announced the new "Forestry information digest", a British initiative to coordinate information on certification developments by countries volunteering to join.  It also includes the UK move to establish a framework for forest certification systems in the EU.

11.    No agreement was reached on the possibility of a joint ISO and FSC system and there were strong opinions expressed on both sides of the issue.  The Team decided to focus on the communications aspects and Mr. Sjunnesson closed by saying that certification is a marketing tool, but it is an inefficient communication tool for sustainable forest management.

Communications aspects of the Pan-European Process for the Protection of Forests in Europe (item 3)

12.    Mr. Luis Costa Leal (Portugal) explained the history of the Pan-European Process (PEP), including the Strasbourg and Helsinki Ministerial Conferences, their resolutions and their follow-up.  The third ministerial conference will be held in Lisbon in June, 1998.  Currently the focus is to ensure income, employment and goods and services from forests as prerequisites for sustainablility.  Mr. Leal requested support from the Team on general public relations for the process and its outcomes, and especially for any forthcoming items relating to PR.

13.    As all programme of work items for the European Forestry Commission and the Timber Committee fall under the follow-up to both UNCED Rio and the PEP, Mr. Gschwandtl summarized the informal discussion saying that the work should be formalized when more developments evolve from the Pan-European Process.  Mr. Gschwandtl, whose country is co-host to the Lisbon conference, will be the focal point and will solicit ideas and then submit a proposal for from the Team to the Liaison Unit of the Pan-European Process..

Public opinion surveys concerning forest management and use of wood (item 4)

14.    Ms. Maria Hugosson (Sweden) presented the latest results from the Nordic Country survey of public opinion in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany.  The survey confirmed that consumers have low knowledge of the forest and forest industry (FFI) sector and that people like wood, but do not like cutting trees.

15.    A survey presented by Mr. Juhani Karvonen (Finland), showed that Finns believe the most credible source for information on the FFI sector is the forest industry.

16.    Mr. Yves St-Onge (Canada) presented results of a recent survey which shows that while environmental issues are declining, in favour of concern for employment, the forest industry was seen as more damaging than industries of: oil/gas, coal, mining and hydro-electric.  However the public recognized that the industry is trying to take corrective measures and that forests are important for both resources and employment.  The greatest threat to Canadian forests was seen to be overcutting.

17.    The Austrian wood promoting campaign by Pro Holz has succeeded in changing public opinion regarding the volume of forest resources increasing, rather than decreasing, according to Mr. Gschwandtl.

Canadian experience with Internet communications.  (item 5)

18.    Mr. St-Onge presented the "forestry gateway" which has a current campaign by the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association which invites the public into pulp and paper mills to see their environmental-related improvements.

Public relations campaigns of substitute materials. (item 6)

19.    Ms. Sanness presented a draft report titled, "The environmental promotion of wood substitute industries" which describes the PR campaigns of the steel, aluminium concrete and plastic (PVC) industries and gives an overview of these industries.  Wood is quickly losing its market share in a number of applications like windows, doors and framing sawnwood.

20.    A proposed schedule was presented for advancing the current draft through a second draft and then to finalize it for the 1998 TC and EFC sessions.  The first step will be to identify possible partners and to send initially an invitation to participate in the project and then next a request for funding.  The cost of the first draft was more than £10,000, while the work needed for the final draft is estimated at £100,000.

21.    The Team thanked Ms. Sanness for her work and encouraged that it be expanded to include wood promotional campaigns and price/cost information on substitutes.  A subgroup led by Norway was formed to direct the project consisting of members from Finland, Austria and the Netherlands.  Also the Nordic Timber Council, Canada and USA will be asked to join the subgroup.

22.    The results of this project will form the basic market intelligence for advancing the messages described in item 1 on wood as an environmentally friendly material.

Forestry communications activities in southern European countries (item 7)

23.    Mr. Alvaro Branco Vasco (Portugal) presented a paper and video on "Forests in Motion," a successful PR/educational campaign directed at children.

24.    "Public relations in forestry and the wildfire problem," a paper by Mr. Nicholas Efstathiatis, who was not able to participate due to an unforeseen trip to the UN General Assembly, was distributed.

Evaluation of FAO/ECE PR activities (item 8)

25.    Mr. Gschwandtl presented the overwhelmingly positive results of the November, 1996 PR workshop for countries in transition (CITs).  With 11 counties participating, the workshop assessed the CITs' PR needs and brought more CITs into the Team's network and activities.

26.    The Team thanked Mr. Gschwandtl for organizing the workshop and they thanked the Austrian Federal Ministry of Forests for their generous sponsorship, both of which contributed to the success of the workshop.

27.    Mr. Pepke showed the new publication of "Forest and forest industries country fact sheets which is also available through the new Timber Committee website.  Following the comments, it was decided to eliminate the statistics on apparent consumption, self-sufficiency ratio and net trade.  Additional modifications to the website edition were suggested, eg to put a "definition" button at the end of each page and to segregate the English and French versions.  Finally the Team requested that a reader survey be performed to more accurately determine readers reactions and needs.

28.    Mr. Pepke showed the Timber Committee website ( and the Team suggested that Adobe Acrobat be incorporated for graphics, especially for the "Country fact sheets."  The Team requested links to the Nordic Timber Council and the Malaysian Timber Council.  The Team requested their own homepage be established but that the Team mailing list have restricted availability initially for team access only.  FAO, ECE/FAO and Canada will develop the site.

29.    An example of PR for a product of the TC and EFC is the series of presentations and press conferences done in the Nordic Countries and Austria on the recently published "European timber trends study."  As a step toward increased activity by more countries, the Team requested that a copy of the publication be sent to each team member.  Mr. Pepke encouraged more team members to take advantage of this PR opportunity for their countries and simultaneously for the parent bodies.

30.    Mr. St-Onge presented the results of the Team's World Food Summit poster which sought to raise the visibility of the team, to contribute to a common cause and to experiment with an international cooperative product.  After assessing the positive and negative aspects of the project, he concluded that there would not be a poster for the World Forestry Congress.

31.    Mr. Steve Dembner (FAO) invited team members to capitalize on the PR value of the October, 1997 World Forestry Congress in Turkey.  As many of the Team members are planning to attend, Mr. Gschwandtl will investigate the possibility of a satellite meeting on FFI sector PR.

32.    Mr. Dembner reminded members to take advantage of the PR Internet list server (subscriptions available by sending a message to

33.    Mr. Dembner also announced the availability of the FAO "State of the world's forests" which has numerous possibilities for PR tie-ins.

Special PR activities in countries and regions  (item 9)

34.    Dr. H. S. Leng and Ms. Sheam Satkaru-Gonzoles (Malaysia) discussed an exciting variety of the Malaysian Timber Council's PR activities.  They urged continued cooperation with the Team to promote all wood products as it has a beneficial effect on tropical timber.

International forestry communicators forum (item 10)

35.    Mr. St-Onge proposed the objectives of a forum would be: 1. to present PR programmes; 2. to discuss partnership possibilities; 3. to broaden the communication network; and 4. to exchange common messages and priorities.  The rational for the forum is that the Team has established an international node for forestry communication which continually needs to be broadened and that the Team is an agent of change and communication of global FFI sector issues and initiatives.

36.    The Team responded favourably to the proposal and established a subgroup (Norway, Finland, Austria, Portugal and France) under the leadership of Mr. St-Onge to develop the forum.  The first step will be an inquiry of the interests of forestry communicators.  Then members will work on its organization with groups on logistics, programme and promotion.  The forum could take place in 1999.

Team operations (item 12)

37.    The next meeting will be held in southern Europe, possibly Greece or Portugal, in late April or early May, 1998.  It will focus on the special needs of FFI communications in the Mediterranean countries.  More information will be forthcoming.

38.    Mr. Gschwandtl will brief the Timber Committee at its October, 1997 session on the developments of the Team.  Mr. St-Onge urged team members to brief their country's heads of delegation to the TC and EFC on the Team's affairs so that they are aware of developments when they meet.

Living Forests project (item 13)

39.    Ms. Sanness explained the Norwegian Living Forests project which, in addition to focus on competence building and initiate R&D work, is leading to establishment of standards that can be used for certification of sustainable forest management.  This multi-party process encompassing forest owners, industry, government, trade union, enviroment, women and consumer organizations in Norway, has established four test areas, of which the Team visited a forest on the Brøttum test area.

40.    Mr. Gunnar Mæhlum, a forest farmer and Chairman of Brøttum Forest Owners' Association, displayed his forest management practices and described how they have changed according to the test standards to achieve sustainable management.  Following the forest visit, the Mæhlum family prepared a wonderful lunch at their farmhouse for the Team.

Other business (item 11)

40.    Mr. Pepke informed the group of a seminar being planned by the Joint FAO/ECE/ILO Committee on Forest Technology, Management and Training on "environmental training in forestry."  Its PR segment will need assistance from the Team.

41.    The Team learned about FFI PR in conjunction with the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.  Mr. Knut Dæhlen, Director of the Oppland County Forest Service, displayed some of the venues for the games and distributed examples of PR materials which were aimed at visitors and journalists during the Olympics.  He then represented the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Department at a hosted dinner.

42.    The Team warmly thanked Ms. Sanness and the staff of the Living Forests for their excellent arrangements and generous hospitality.

Annex 1

 List of participants

Mr. Ingwald Gschwandtl
Head of Division
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Forest Economics, Statistics and Public Relations
Ferdinandstrasse 4
A - 1020 VIENNA
Fax:  +43 1 21 323 7216  / 
Tel: +43 1 21 323 7307

Mr. Yves St-Onge
Chef des communications
Service Canadien des Forêts
Ministère des Ressources naturelles
580 rue Booth, 8ème étage
CDN - OTTAWA, Ontario K1A OE4
Fax:  +1 613 947 7345  /  Tel: +1 613 947 7397

Mr. Denis Jelacic
Faculty of Forestry
University of Zagreb
Svetosimunska 25
Fax:  +385 1 21 86 16  /  Tel:  +385 1 230 22 88

Mr. Martin Einfeldt
Public Relations Officer
Danish Forestry Association (Dansk Skovforening)
Amalievej 20
Fax: +45 33 24 0242  /  Tel: +45 33 24 4266

Mr Juhani Karvonen
Executive Director
Finnish Forestry Association
Salomonkatu 17B
Fax: +358 9  693 34 66  /  Tel: +358 9  694 00 40

Mr. Kari Vitie
Information Manager
Finnish Forest Industries Federation
Postbox 316
Fax:  +358 9 174 479  /  Tel:  +358 9 132 61

Ms. Annie Nief
Département de la Communication
Office National des Forêts
2, Av. Saint Mandé
F - 75570 PARIS CEDEX 12
Fax:  +33 1 44 73 46 45  /  Tel:  +33 1 40 19 58 43

Mr. Werner Ebert
Leiter des Forstamtes - FORSTABSATZFONDS
Flughafenstrasse 3
Fax:  +49 69 212 30 708  /  Tel:  +49 69 212 33 184

Ms. Marieke C. van Nieuwkuyk
Stichting Bos en Hout
Postbus 253
Fax: +31 317 41 02 47  /  Tel: +31 317 42 46 66

Mr. Tore Molteberg
The Norwegian Forestry Society
Wergelandsveien 23 B
N - 0167 OSLO
Fax:  +47 22 60 41 89  /  Tel:  +47 22 46 69 40

Ms. Berit Sanness
Executive Project Manager
Living Forests
Box 1438 Vika
N - 0115 OSLO
Fax: +47 22 23 83 39 89  /  fax at home 47 61 32 20 46
Tel: +47 22 01 05 80 /tel. at home 47 61 32 29 04

Mr. Alvaro Branco Vasco
General Director of forestry
Direcçao-Geral das Florestas
Av. Joao Crisostomo, 26-28
Fax: +351 1 312 49 88  /  Tel: +351 1 314 63 04

Mr. Joao de Sousa Teixeira
Director, Public Relations Department
Direcçao Geral das Florestas
Av. Joao Crisostomo - 28
P - 1050 LISBOA
Fax: +351 1 312 49 88  /  Tel:  +351 1 312 48 03

Mr. Alexandru Pavel
Manager of Logging & Forest Road Department
National Institute of Wood
Sos. Fabrica de Glucoza, N.7
Fax:  +40 1 240 70 85  /  Tel:  40 1 240 76 35

Mr. Lars-Erik Holmberg
Head of Department
National Board of Forestry
Vallgatan 8
S - 551 83 JONKOPING
Fax: +46 36 190 622
Tel: +46 36 155 662 / 46 36 155 600

Ms. Maria Hugosson
Executive Director
Svensk Skog
Box 5518
S - 114 85 STOCKHOLM
Fax: +46 8 661 7306
Tel: +46 8 783 8464 / 46 70 583 8464

Mrs. Agneta Lindstedt
Assistant to the Directors
International Public Relations
Swedish Forest Industries Association
Box 5518
Fax: +46 86 61 73 06   /  Tel: +46 87 83 84 00

Mr. Alan Eric Kocher
Information Officer
Swiss Forestry Association
Waldwirtschaft Verband Schweiz
Fax: +41 32 625 88 99  /  Tel: +41 32 625 88 00

Mr. Ronnie Williams
Executive Director
The Forestry Industry Council of Great Britain
Golden Cross House
3-8 Ducannon Street
Fax:  +44 1 71 930 94 26  /  Tel:  +44 1 71 930 94 22

Mr. Stephen Dembner
Editor, Unasylvia
FAO, Department of Forestry
Via delle Terme di Caracalla
I - 00100 ROMA
Fax: +39 6 5225 51 37  /  Tel: +39 6 5225 47 78

ECE/FAO Secretariat
Mr. Ed Pepke
Timber Section
UN-ECE Trade Division
Palais des Nations, Room 390
CH - 1211 GENEVA
Fax:  +41 22 917 00 41  /  Tel:  +41 22 917 2872


Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe
Mr. Luis Costa Leal
Chief Coordinator
Av. João Criostomo, 26-28
P - 1050 LISBOA
Fax: +351 1 312 48 07  /  Tel: +351 1 312 49 92

Malaysian Timber Council
Dr. H. S. Leng
Director of International Affairs
24 Old Queen Street
Fax:  +44 1 71 222 8884  /  Tel:  +44 1 71 222 8188

Ms. Shaeam Satkuru-Granzella
Project Officer
24 Old Queen Street
Fax:  +44 1 71 222 8884  /  Tel:  +44 1 71 222 8188

Nordic Timber Council
Jan Hagstedt
Managing Director
Drottning Kristinas väg 71
Fax: +46 8 411 26 76  /  Tel: +46 8 440 85 60

Swedish Forest Owners' Federation
Mr. Sven Sjunnesson
Forestry Director
Klarabergsgatan 35
Fax: +468 787 4908  /  Tel: +468 787 5400

Annex 2

List of materials distributed at the meeting

Austria "Timber from Austria", brochure about a label initiative by the Standing Committee of the Presidents of the Austrian Chambers of Agriculture.

"Stolz auf Holz" brochure about a wood promoting campaign by PRO Holz- Holzinformation Österreich.

Information Folders by "Kooperationsabkommen Forst-Platte-Papier":
"Wald und Holz in Europa"
"Osterreichs Wald un Holz in Bildern"
"Nutzung von Wald und Holz in Osterreich"
"Der Wald in Österreich - gesetzlich geschützt"
"Rohstoffe der Papierindustrie und Plattenindustrie"
"Wald, Luft und Wasser"

"Forests and forestry in Denmark", by Martin Einfeldt and Sören Fodgeard, Danish Forestry Association.

"Timber Committee Yearbook", Annual report of the UN/ECE Timber Committee.
"Forest and Forest Industries Country Fact Sheets" UN-ECE/FAO publication.

"State of the world's forests", publication.
XI World Forestry Congress brochure and update.

"Proposal for a certification scheme for the sustainable management of forests in Finland", paper by the Forest Certification Standards Working Group.

"Finland's unique system of managing, tending and utilization of forests further improved: a national certification application completed", paper by Plusforet.

"New forestry and nature conservation legislation for Finland", Factsheet by Finnish Forest Association.

"Public relations in forestry and the wildfire problem", paper by Nicholas Efstathiadis.

"MTC Update", Newsletter by Malaysian Timber Council.

"The Forest Sector in Norway", paper by Living Forests.
"Forest Certification in the Nordic Countries", paper by Living Forests.
"Resource Development", paper by Living Forests.
"Family Forestry", paper by Living Forests.
"Standards for sustainable forestry in Norway under way", paper by Living Forests.
"Status for the work with criteria and documentation systems", report by Living Forests.
The Living Forests Project", paper by Berit Sanness, Living Forests.
"Biological diversity in forests", book by Norske Skog and Norwegian Forest Owners Association.
"The environmental promotion of wood substitute industries", draft report by Berit Sanness and Eastern Norway Research Institute.
"Guidelines for forest management - Living Forests' test area at Bröttum", brochure by Living Forests.
Moehlum nordre pa Bröttum", Info sheet on Moehlum farm forest.

"Forests in motion", paper on PR campaign by Directorate General of Forests and University of Aveiro.

"L'industrie forestière un secteur d'avenir", brochure by Skogsindustrierna.
"Swedish forest industry on certification agreement", press release by Swedish Industry Assocation.
"The Swedish Forest 1996", brochure by National Board of Forestry.
"Some information hints on the Swedish certification development", paper by Maria Hugosson of Svensk Skog.

"Sustainable development of Switzerland's forests", publication of the Federal Office of Environment, Forests and Landscape.

United Kingdom
"Forestry Information Direct", a newsletter by Ronnie Williams of the Forestry Industry Council of Great Britain.

Packet presented by Oppland (County) Forest Society
Daehlen, Knut., "Forestry, a local and global renewable resource and a key to a better environment".
Daehlen, Knut., "Ewig singen die wälder".
"The torch man in "Oyer", brochure on clear-cut made for 1994 Olympics. Published by Oppland Forest Society 1994.
"Forest path at the Lillehammer Olympic Park", brochure by Oppland Forestry Society.
"Norwegian woods and wood", brochure by Oppland Forest Society.
"Moelven", brochure by Moelven Industries AS.