50.000 headquarters: Our members
We talk a lot about sustainable forestry but what does it actually mean on the ground? In this series, we’ll explain what sustainable forest management means in practice for Södra, from planting and Green Plans to harvesting and felling, certification and conservation.
We start this week with the members themselves, the 50,000 forest owners in southern Sweden who grow our raw materials. Many have inherited their forest estates from their parents or grandparents and will pass the estate on to their own children.
Some forests have been in the same family for many generations and many are also a home and a source of recreation as well as work. They are the very definition of sustainable because our members see themselves as custodians of an asset held in great affection, which they seek to nurture and protect for the future. And with a tree in Sweden taking an average of 70 years to mature, forestry is not a business for those who seek a quick profit.
Södra’s job is to balance that inherent sustainability with economics: We help the members manage their estates in the best way possible, both to grow a diverse forest for the future, but also to provide an income which makes looking after the forest worthwhile.
From its origins in 1938, the Södra cooperative has grown to encompass close to 2.5 million hectares of forest, or 10% of Sweden’s total forest area. An average member owns 50 hectares with annual cutting of300 solid cubic metres (scm), a third of which is usually thinnings. Together, the members provide Södra with some 9-10 million scm annually.
Working closely with each forest owner (more of that later in the series), Södra offers its members a wide range of services including digital mapping tools, planting advice, forest certification, conservation plans, harvesting and felling services, and more. Our forestry experts work closely with each member to achieve the best long-term approach for each estate. We offer premiums for dual certification to PEFC and FSC, for example, with advice on how to get certified, as well as the latest intelligence on everything from water conservation to soil protection.
This close relationship with our members is at the heart of the business and this security of supply is one of our greatest assets. For our customers, it means peace of mind. We will never run out of wood and we can always guarantee the origin of that wood, so you can rest easy knowing you are sourcing from the most sustainable of sources.
Next time: Planting
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