The aim of this explorative study is to find out how the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) has affected the forest and chain of custody (CoC) certification strategies and practices among the Finnish wood industry companies. We are especially interested to find out whether more integrated strategies and collaborative networks have emerged for enhanced communications throughout the industry value chains. This qualitative interview study included both EUTR ex ante
and ex post
analysis, based on three rounds of managerial and expert interviews during 2011–2015. The results indicate that the EUTR appears to have enforced the supplier–client relations in the Finnish wood industry value chain. The sector still lacks integrated communication strategies with better understanding of customer and stakeholder values, which could contribute to more cohesive communication and marketing efforts reflecting the values of the whole industry. The certification practices are fairly spontaneously implemented following the traditional industry culture, which is not supportive of innovations and gaining competitive advantages in the broader material markets. Furthermore, the existence of two parallel forest certificates (Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)) seems to hamper the effective communication and building of an image of sustainable wood products among customers and end consumers, groups that are also exposed to more general environmental communication, e.g., in the building material markets.
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