The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) has demonstrated the power of harnessing brand affinity and the growing awareness of ethical choice. Three recent and inspiring examples in Spain, Italy and Germany illustrate their success in fostering both individual and collective action in each of these markets.
FSC used Biocultura, one of Spain’s most important fairs within the sustainability sector, to promote ecological products and responsible consumption. It was the first time that the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) participated, in collaboration with FSC, resulting in a very successful campaign branded “the future is written with YOU.” The “tu” in “future” was highlighted to emphasise personal activism, as “tú” means “you” in Spanish.
Gonzalo Anguita, executive director of FSC in Spain, said the campaign emphasised consumers’ individual and collective ability to protect ocean and forest environments, and to raise awareness of MSC and FSC’s brands and their work.
2015 saw the 31st year of the fair, and FSC and MSC designed an 18m2 co-branded booth, where exhibition guests were urged to envisage and portray the oceans and forests of the future. They were invited to do so with a variety of stickers of the many species that live there, placing them randomly on a large-sized backdrop, emphasising the biodiversity and importance of these habitats.
“Visitors placed more than 800 of these stickers, a clear indication that consumers have a keen grasp of their role in driving sustainable and ethical choices,” Anguita said. “This is precisely the kind of activation needed to ignite consumers’ personal activism in ensuring the world they want for themselves and future generations.”
FSC recently conducted a very successful collaboration with Leroy Merlin, a major home-improvement chain with nearly 400 branches in 12 countries. The collaboration also involved the European Sustainable Timber Coalition (EU STTC) and aimed to scale up the supply and use of FSC-certified, responsibly sourced wood products from managed forests.
Leroy Merlin had set a target of 80 percent of its patio furniture to be from FSC-certified wood by the end of 2015 – a target that was successfully met. It highlighted the opportunity for customers to facilitate this objective through the highly visible and evocative imagery of FSC’s Forests for All, Forever branding.
This helped to underscore the role of consumers in preserving the world’s forests for future generations. It was displayed on cards, pull-up banners, and promotional leaflets showing the many species and communities supported by forests. The text and visuals emphasized how sustainable ecology, biodiversity and livelihoods can be achieved through responsible forest management and buying forest-friendly goods.
This approach had the added benefit of showcasing the importance and diversity of wood products far beyond simply paper products. QR codes on the visual material gave smartphone users access to FSC’s Feel the Forest video. The video included material commissioned by FSC to raise awareness of illegal logging and deforestation in Indonesian Borneo, and to show how conscientious consumer choices ensure forests for future generations.
FSC's Forests for All, Forever brand recently won second place in the coveted Brand of the Year competition for 2016, and was seen 6.1bn times in advertising. 90 percent of the books on the Spiegel bestseller list are printed on FSC-certified paper, and most of Tetra Pak and other liquid beverage packs created with elements of pulp use FSC-certified forest materials.
Dr Uwe Sayer, Managing Director of FSC in Germany, says this accolade is testament to the growing awareness among consumers and businesses of the need to use our natural resources sustainably and, to the ceaseless efforts of FSC in promoting this message, ensuring forests are taken care of for future generations.
Over 200 million IKEA catalogues around the world are printed on FSC-certified paper, including 30 million in Germany, and 53 percent of the German population recognise the FSC logo unprompted. Consumers trust that the FSC logo is synonymous with forest products that are environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable.
German consumers have acknowledged the importance of FSC and driven the demand for sustainable forest products by looking for the FSC logo in their purchasing habits. They thereby ensure workers and indigenous people’s rights, promote workplace safety, training and healthcare, and the protection of forests and wildlife for our future generations.
For more information on all aforementioned cases, please visit ic.fsc.org/.