Facilitating resolution of forest conflicts through understanding the complexity of the relationship between forest industry and ENGOs

There has been considerable focus by environmental groups (ENGOs), such as WWF and Greenpeace, and media, on the activities of forest industry both in Finland and abroad. The most recent examples of this include Stora Enso’s operations in China and Brazil as well as Metsä Botnia in Uruguay. The ENGOs often launch campaigns to get the companies to improve various aspects of their operations. The campaigns are often part of conflicts between local communities, indigenous peoples and the forestry company.
This PhD focuses on the relationship between the ENGOs and forest industry in Indonesia, including the role of UPM-Kymmene, as well as investigating areas of the Upper Lapland conflict. Both of these have received extensive coverage in Finnish and international media.
The work has covered different dimensions of the often hostile relationship including:
1. The impact of ENGO campaigns (including by Friends of the Earth Finland) on APRIL, the Indonesian pulp and paper company, as well as on its associates (including UPM-Kymmene).
2. The legitimacy of the actions of both APRIL as well as the ENGOs campaigning against the company.
3. What ENGOs are trying to achieve in their campaigns against forest industry companies such as APRIL and Metsähallitus in Upper Lapland.
These issues lead to the general finding that conflicts, regarding management of forest resources, are often deeply complex. This complexity includes the roles and strategies of the ENGOs and the different interpretations of reality that are a reflection of the interests and values of the parties concerned. This complexity often makes resolution of the conflict increasingly difficult. These findings led to the creation of a tool, Ethical Analysis, that would create an environment making solving the conflict more possible. The tool could be applied in such seemingly complex and intractable conflicts as the Upper Lapland conflict.
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