The current market development of certified paper - Special emphasis on German publishers

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Bihlmaier, C.
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The purpose of this thesis was to analyse the paper market in order to identify possible trends towards a greater use of certified, paper and to determine which of the dominant forest certification schemes is playing a more important role within this market. A sub-goal of the thesis was to identify and describe stakeholders with similar behaviour patterns in their use of certified paper. The research thereby focuses on the European paper market, with emphasis on German publishers. To analyse the market, an empirical research with an interview and a questionnaire survey was conducted. 12 representatives of different parts of the paper value chain presented their points of view on the present and future market situation, as well as on their motivation and the drivers to use certified paper. In the questionnaire survey, 237 publishers and 17 paper producers have been asked about their view of the present market situation, for example which paper certification label is mainly demanded, about the advantages the existing labels offer, and how those publishers and producers are going to react on the development of the certified paper market. Information were also gained by an evaluation of literature on paper certification schemes. The future of the paper market will be dominated by two paper labels – PEFC (Pan European Forest Certification) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). The surveys conducted for this thesis confirmed a trend towards certified paper in general, and FSC mainly being the favoured label. The trend towards an increasing use of FSC is omnipresent, and some well known companies like BBC Worldwide, Random House or the mail-order firm Otto already use FSC paper for print media with high circulation figures. Most players involved in this study stated that PEFC is not seen as equivalent to FSC regarding its credibility and marketing opportunities. The analysis of the two certification systems revealed that FSC profits from its better control mechanisms and the support of NGOs, whereby PEFC profits from its lower costs and a higher acceptance and support by forest owners and managers. Most publications on certified paper, which actively use the label on the products, use FSC paper. Only two projects could be identified within the frame of this study, which publicly use the PEFC-label, but only one of them is using the PEFC-label in the imprint of the respective publication. It is likely that the number of certified print products with a label on them will increase. According to the results of the questionnaire and the interviews, both certification systems will grow in market presence. FSC evidently has currently a greater market presence and will gain faster in importance in the future than PEFC, and therefore will be the more important scheme for the paper market. The existing trend towards certified paper was regarded differently by the various groups of stakeholders involved in this study. It is to expect that for example most forest owners in Germany or Finland will continue to favour PEFC over the next years. The growing demand for FSC paper, however, could change this to some extend. The paper producers, dependent on the raw material, are stuck between two sides. They wish to increase their production of FSC paper to serve the growing market demand. But because of this high demand and the stronger preference of PEFC by forest owners and managers, they are confronted with a lack of suitable raw material and therefore can't meet the demand for FSC paper. Service providers like print offices experience an increasing demand for certified paper. They report that in most cases, clients ask for FSC, and only if FSC is not available, they are considering PEFC as an alternative, which was also confirmed in the interview with PEFC Germany. This mechanism could lead to a stronger appearance of the PEFC logo in future, caused rather by an insufficient availability of FSC paper than by a deliberate choice.

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Forests, Certification
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