Sustainable Development in Forest Owner Associations – Stakeholder Roles

Abstract: Forest owner associations are co-operative organisations with democratic foundations based on one member -one vote. The members are forest owners who are organised in the associations as owners and also have the roles of suppliers of forest raw materials and customers of forest services. Generally, forest owners are changing from a homogenous to a more heterogeneous group based on socioeconomic and demographic transitions. Therefore, forest owners can be said to have increasingly diverse interests and values. This leads to different ways of viewing their forest ownership in relationship to sustainable development. These changes are also affecting their willingness and motives for participating in the governance of the co-operative organisation. An important aspect of sustainability management in forest co-operatives, is including the forest owners in the process. This thesis aims to increase understanding of how forest owners view sustainability management by analysing their various stakeholder roles in forest co-operatives. The studies compilated in this thesis consist of different perspectives of forest owners in their relation to the association. Study I focus on forest management certification as a sustainability management activity in forest owner associations. Forest owners are here seen as suppliers of sustainability-certified raw materials and customers of a sustainable service offering. Study II takes on the perspective of forest owners as members and owners of the association and how they are viewed to participate in sustainable development in the association. The findings suggest that the stakeholder roles that forest owners have need to be taken into consideration by forest co-operatives in sustainability transitions.