Foreword: Embrace our uniqueness!
I’m very excited to have joined Södra as the new Group Director of Communications. This is a unique company and I’m keen that we tell its story, not just for Södra’s own members and our customers, but for a broader audience too.
Communication is becoming both more challenging and more important. We are all short of time and overloaded with information. How to cut through and win the recipient’s trust? Fortunately, the story has already been written at Södra; my mission is only to help elevate and showcase it through a purpose-driven communication plan that will win trust and add value.
When researching the company, I was struck by how relevant Södra’s history is for modern times: In 1938 forester Gösta Edström could see that small family-run forest holdings in southern Sweden were getting a raw deal for their wood and he encouraged them to join forces so they would have a stronger voice in the market and thus a reason to manage their forests well, naturally balancing economics with sustainability.
The collaborative approach and Södra’s business model are still as important today, both within Södra, but for business in general. Climate change is too big an issue for any of us to tackle on our own; collaboration and communication will be vital for strengthening the industry’s role in the bioeconomy and the pursuit of sustainable solutions for the future. Our forests are the key and the story of their potential, when managed to the highest standards, needs telling to the wider world.
Södra’s unique structure of 52,000 members, each a custodian of their own forest estate, means we are naturally bio-diverse. Complementing the members’ assets with years of expertise and investment in forest products innovation, the natural consequence is an inherently sustainable business model which I hope to convey through purpose-driven communication, for us and for you.
We will continue to work with external partners, from competitors and NGOs to legislators, to win the hearts and minds of all stakeholders in the value chain and to convince them of the merit of carefully managed working forests. Our members are like the pieces in a mosaic, each one different but part of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. We intend to tell our own story, but also that of the wider industry, creating value for us, for you and your customers in the process.
Creating engagement and building a brand that is relevant and interesting for the future is not optional but a necessity for those companies which wish to be considered the supplier of choice. We need to build trust in forest products right up to the consumer, to communicate why and what we do, and our pride in doing it. It is essential that we challenge misconceptions of working forests and add value to all our businesses. I’m up for the challenge and look forward to working with you.
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