Content analysis of the state of forest sector communication in Austria, Finland, Germany and Slovenia

Elina Korhonen, Anne Maarit Kristiina Toppinen, Katja Päivikki Lähtinen, Lea Ranacher, Andrea Werner, Tobias Stern, Andreja Kutnar

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportProfessional


Despite rapidly increasing global awareness of environmental issues and growing demand for corporate environmental disclosure, little is known regarding how different segments of the European forest industry communicate their sustainability efforts to the general public. This study applies a qualitative content analysis in four forestry-rich European countries (Austria, Finland, Germany, Slovenia). The existing online communication of 80 companies and industry associations were content analysed using Atlas.ti/MaxQDA softwares during summer-fall 2014 with a focus on eight “core topics of interest” formulated at an international stakeholder meeting. Overall, our results based on about 7000 observations in the content of forest sector online communication show with some exceptions a high conformity in communication both across countries and industry segments. The most commonly communicate topic was Forests and economy (FEC), particularly within large companies and especially in Finland and Austria. Instead, Added Value (AVA) was emphasized especially within family businesses and SMEs operating in Slovenia. In comparison, the least emphasized topics were in our total sample Wood based innovations (WBI) and Forest ecosystem services (FES). This can potentially be a cause of some concern due to the timeliness and strong future orientation of both issues. Furthermore, stakeholder expectations about tailored communication were rarely expressed in explicit terms, making the evaluation of the communication efficacy and effectiveness difficult. Future development needs are arising from a lack of awareness of some topics and the very specialized information requirements of some stakeholder groups. The and increased requirements for social media activity in the future are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFreiburg
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2015
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Fields of Science

  • 4112 Forestry

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