Industry News

Ghana: New study by GTF describes existing gender balance and makes recommendations

The Global Timber Forum (GTF) has published a commissioned analysis of gender in the wood processing sector in Ghana.

The new study reveals that in the wood processing sector women workers are much less visible than their male counterparts yet are involved in multiple areas of the value chain. This involvement ranges from the administration and provision of labour through to acting as financiers of business.

At a country-level, other studies on gender balance have previously shown that Ghana outperforms many regional neighbours in sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, the country ranks 72 out of 144 countries across all criteria in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2017 and has a particularly high score for the criteria of “economic participation and opportunity”.

The study identifies the following key findings:

  • Participation of women exists across all points of the wood processing sector.
  • Roles assigned to men and women in the sector are however defined by the historical and socio-cultural context.
  • Women’s involvement in leadership and governance of wood processing associations is relatively lower than that of men.
  • There is limited understanding and appreciation of the impact of gender imbalances in the sector, even amongst those men and women working in the sector.
  • Actors in the sector lack knowledge of existing laws on women’s rights to engage in, and have a voice in, the sector.

In terms of business opportunity for the wood processing sector, the United Nations Development Programme cited a figure of 95 billion USD as lost to productivity every year through the failure to integrate women into national economies across sub-Saharan Africa.

The study therefore makes a series of recommendations for policy makers as well as for the associations that represent the wood processing sector.

Selected recommendations made in the study:

  • Cultural limitations to women’s agency should be acknowledged and, where necessary, purposive strategies should be followed for example where the aim is to increase women’s engagement in leadership and governance.
  • State agencies should invest in awareness raising about gender and in building capacity of their staff, and of wood processing sector associations’ leadership, in gender and gender analysis.
  • Association leadership should sensitise membership about what gender is about and raise awareness of its relevance to the contributions both female and male members make to the sector.
  • Associations should carry out simple participatory gender analysis of their organisation and members. This will increase understanding of the needs, interests and fears of both men and women engaged in the sector.

 

Learning from success

As part of the study one company was highlighted as having made a number of policy changes to improve the gender balance as well as the types of jobs available to each gender. The Bibiani Logs and Lumber Company Limited, is a family-owned business that has been in operation since the late 1960s. It employs 371 people of which women constitute 100. The Chairperson of the company is a woman.

Both men and women are given equal opportunities for self-development on the job without any discrimination. The company’s policies make it a requirement for both men and women to be trained on all areas of production. As a result, the company has women operating the veneer milling machines.

Recent interviews demonstrate that the steps taken on gender by the leadership of the company has increased awareness and acceptance of opportunities of equal value for men and women in the company.

Study author, Nana Ama Yirrah, said “The study clearly shows an opportunity for the Ghanaian wood processing industry to attain the business benefits of a more diverse workforce. The SME wood processing industry has a wide range of pressing business challenges, but I believe this study shows that some small steps can be taken now to create a more favourable gender environment. For example, this can start with putting in place gender sensitive policies and appropriate sensitisation and training.”

As part of the study one company was highlighted as having made a number of policy changes to improve the gender balance as well as the types of jobs available to each gender. The Bibiani Logs and Lumber Company Limited, is a family-owned business that has been in operation since the late 1960s. It employs 371 people of which women constitute 100. The Chairperson of the company is a woman.

Both men and women are given equal opportunities for self-development on the job without any discrimination. The company’s policies make it a requirement for both men and women to be trained on all areas of production. As a result, the company has women operating the veneer milling machines.

Recent interviews demonstrate that the steps taken on gender by the leadership of the company has increased awareness and acceptance of opportunities of equal value for men and women in the company.

Study author, Nana Ama Yirrah, said “The study clearly shows an opportunity for the Ghanaian wood processing industry to attain the business benefits of a more diverse workforce. The SME wood processing industry has a wide range of pressing business challenges, but I believe this study shows that some small steps can be taken now to create a more favourable gender environment. For example, this can start with putting in place gender sensitive policies and appropriate sensitisation and training.”

 

Notes

  1. The full study can be found here
  2. During 2017 the GTF commissioned Nana Ama Yirrah to undertake an analysis of gender in the forest industries sector in Ghana.
  3. Nana Ama Yirrah is a Land Economist, Development Policy Analyst and Gender Specialist by profession with over 21 years of experience in land and natural resource governance, land policy, women’s land rights and development practice.
  4. Methodology involved interviews with forestry association members and public sector agencies, with fifty-one interviews being held in total, representing fourteen associations and institutions, with ten of the interviewees being women. Research tools were participatory and included application of a simple gender analytical framework combined with story-telling and case studies.
  5. The study has been funded by UK Aid from the UK government, however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/ghana-new-study-gtf-describes-existing-gender-balance-and-makes-recommendations]

Timber Market undergoes biggest period of change in decades

Property Consultants Bidwells have released their Summer 2018 Timber Price Database which looks at the standing conifer timber prices achieved in the six months to September 2017, indicating the timber market has undergone perhaps the biggest period of change seen in decades.

Returns from 79 transactions totalling over 742,000 cubic metres of coniferous timber, with a value to the grower in excess of £28 Million have been received and indicate on average significant price rises over the period.

With Bidwell’s last commentary back in December 2017 stated that there were “current reports of supply shortages and increasing upwards pressure on standing sales values” – this has proved to be something of an understatement as the latest set of results for October 2017 – March 2018 had clearly demonstrated.

All signals are pointing towards prices of coniferous timber throughout Scotland & Northern England having continued to increase since the end of March and there are still considerable supply pressures on timber processors. 

Raymond Henderson, Forestry Partner at Bidwells commented: “It is always difficult to predict the future, given the influence which global demand and exchange rates have on domestic timber values, but the overall macro-economic situation of increasing demand and tightening supplies suggests no reason to suspect a weakening of prices over the short term."

“Good news for timber growers then, but possibly less so for many processors, and given the closely linked health dependence of each sector on the other, it can be in no-one’s best interests to see unsustainably high prices. The hope is therefore that what we have been seeing is a re-basing of timber values at levels which can be maintained in the long term.”

To view the full insights and research, please click on the report here

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/timber-market-undergoes-biggest-period-change-decades]

NEPCon launches online survey on Due Diligence best practices and EUTR

NEPCon is encouraging EU-based companies working in the timber sector to share their experience with Due Diligence and the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).

The five-minute survey is part of the 'Supporting Legal Timber Trade' project, aimed to show timber-related businesses how to align with the EU Timber Regulation and discover possibilities of gaining a competitive edge.

The survey targets a wide range of timber-related companies from pulp and paper manufacturer, sawmill, wood processor to timber trader.

The online consultation is available in 10 languages, namely English, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, German, Romanian, Hungarian, Spanish and Portuguese.

This survey will provide further understanding on how confident the companies are with the EUTR and the Due Diligence and difficulties they are experiencing, as well as their trusted resources to help them comply with the regulations.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/nepcon-launches-online-survey-due-diligence-best-practices-and-eutr]

Timber Trade mission to Belarus scheduled for June 2018

Following a number of Belarusian-UK events in timber sector in 2017, the Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange (hereafter – BUCE) in partnership with the UK Department for International Trade, the Embassy of The Republic of Belarus in The United Kingdom and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in the Republic of Belarus, have organised a timber trade mission to Belarus.

The visit - to take place from 17 to 20 June 2018 - is open for registration until 19th May 2018 and can host up to 7 delegates.

British companies will be introduced to the export sales of sawnwood from Belarus with the opporunity to meet Belarusian timber industry decision makers, including members of the Government, leadership of the Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange (the only organization authorized for direct sales of sawnwood from sawmills), CEOs of Belarusian sawmills, traders and market experts.

Delegates will get in-depth information on :

  • Timber industry within Belarus, sawn softwood export conditions; FYI: 2017 Belarusian timber trade/average prices in 2017.
  • brokers services; pre-delivery independent inspection services; UK shipment services; discussing payment methods, long term sawnwood supplies etc.
  • side focus for refunded places: information on panel production (chipboards, particle boards, plywood, fiberboards MDF, floor covering: laminated floor panels, solid wood flooring, parquet, etc.), glued laminated timber, prefabricated wooden houses, gardening and fencing etc.
    Free transportation within Belarus will be arranged for you to the factories and mills, meetings with the top-management of the companies will be organized.

Highlights of the visit includes:

  • Visit to the “Belarusian universal commodity exchange”, presentation, timber products online auction master class, meeting with traders, accredited at BUCE;
  • Meeting with the Belarusian Production and Trade Concern of timber, woodworking, pulp and paper industry "Bellesbumprom"
  • Reception for UK delegation on behalf of H.E. Ambassador of the United Kingdom Ms Fionna Gibb
  • Individual visits to sawmills and woodworking factories, according to the interests of the each delegate.

Click to see the draft program of the visit for details.

For more info about the mission, click here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/timber-trade-mission-belarus-scheduled-june-2018]

Market dynamics and material shortages set to affect Oak wood availability in Europe

Markets for European Oak are facing increased pressure on price and availability. This is the key message delivered at the European Oak Conference held in London on Wednesday 18th April 2018.

The event – organised by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) in conjunction with the European Organization of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) – featured an extensive agenda of high-profile speakers and expert panellists from top supplying countries such as Croatia, France, Poland and Ukraine. Over 100 attendees joined the Conference raising questions and actively engaging in the debate.

The speakers agreed that a combination of increased demand and market restrictions have been affecting Oak wood prices over the past few years. Significantly, as highlighted by the EOS Secretary General Silvia Melegari, exports of logs from the EU to China have soared by 181% in the last 10 years (2016 compared to 2007, source Eurostat). This growing demand is having major impacts on European Oak producers, particularly France.

The availability of European Oak is also affected by log bans in place in supplying countries such as Croatia and Ukraine due to the impact of pests (Croatia) or governmental measures to improve domestic Industry (Ukraine). This shortage of raw materials is causing several sawmills to keep production low, preventing the sector from achieving its full potential.

Silvia Melegari reminded the audience that “the concerns of the hardwood sawmill sectors have been voiced in several occasions” and that “both the EU Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee have invited Member States to ensure that wood supply from the region's forests is sufficient to satisfy, on a sustainable basis, local industries' needs and society's needs”.

The Conference also featured a panel discussion where attendees had the opportunity to address some key issues and debate them with the speakers. Main topics included: Trade post-Brexit; Oak wood price and availability; Transport bans; Pests control; International co-operation in the sector.

“For its aesthetic and technical qualities, Oak remains a prime product for UK timber importers and traders,” says TTF Managing Director David Hopkins. “However, material shortage and international trade dynamics are likely to drive prices higher in the near future. This may open the market for alternative hardwood species.”

“The TTF - in collaboration with European partner organisations - will be monitoring market trends as well as providing assistance and guidance to members and stakeholders.”

A photo gallery of the conference is available here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/market-dynamics-and-material-shortages-set-affect-oak-wood-availability-europe]

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