Lobbying continues to protect forest owner rights

There are many elements of our society that either directly or indirectly govern how a forest owner is able to manage their business. In order to strengthen, inform and protect property rights, Norra Skog’s lobbying of authorities and decision-makers is needed both at national and international levels. This work also includes responding to pressure from non-profit nature conservation organizations.

Published: 2023-02-27

Behind Norra Timber’s industrial and marketing operations is Norra Skog, a forest owners’ association owned by 27,000 entrepreneurs with forests in northern Sweden. The association has existed for almost 100 years, and its primary objective is to help make its members’ businesses profitable. That’s why both members and employees of Norra Skog are committed to ensuring that the political landscape is one in which there is respect for forest owners’ rights, so that in the long term they will have opportunities to invest, actively farm, harvest and once again invest in their forests.

“Norra Skog works to ensure that the whole of society understands that managed forests, respected property rights and viable countryside communities are prerequisites for a sustainable society with a developed welfare system. We monitor business policy issues and carry out solution-oriented advocacy work for an independent, profitable and responsible forestry industry”, explains Jonas Eriksson, Membership Manager and business policy expert at Norra Skog.

Erik Jonsson and Satu Aguilar at Norra Skog, Jessica Polfjärd, MEP for Moderaterna (EPP), and Ida Nyström and Jonas Eriksson at Norra Skog.

Working with others

A team of four people spend every day at Norra Skog responding to referrals from the Swedish government and parliament, conducting various cases in the district courts and following legal debates. They also participate in political meetings at both national and EU levels, and engage in forums where topics relating to forest owners’ rights are discussed. In addition, an environmental analysis of issues affecting a forest owner’s ability to manage their business and supply markets with renewable and sustainable timber is underway. Norra Skog’s advocacy work often takes place in collaboration with other forest owners’ associations, such as Mellanskog, Södra och lantbrukarnas riktsförbund, LRF, and organizations that address issues important to privately-owned forestry businesses.

“Norra Skog believes in an industry based on freedom with responsibility, and one that demonstrates to legislators the benefits of having many small family-owned forestry businesses. We represent, after all, 27,000 members and so we have a great opportunity to influence matters”, explains Jonas Eriksson.

A crucial presidency

Some of the issues currently being addressed within the framework of the EU’s major climate package ‘Fit for 55’ are the EU’s proposal on the restoration of nature, absorption of greenhouse gases, land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), certification of carbon credits, the Deforestation Regulation, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III) and sustainable financing (Taxonomy Regulation). In January 2023, Sweden takes over the presidency of the EU’s Council of Ministers from the Czech Republic, and politicians have already stated that Sweden should adopt a neutral position in the approximately 2,000 meetings that are planned throughout its presidency.

“Instead we should show the importance of active forestry in transitioning to a sustainable society. We should take advantage of the opportunity to showcase our sustainable family-owned forestry industry and raise Swedish priorities”, says Erik Jonsson, Economic Policy Strategist for Norra Skog.