Monitoring the Health and Financial Viability of Forest Industry Businesses
As part of its support for sustainable forest management, the Forestry Commission commissioned Firn Crichton Roberts Ltd and John Clegg & Co to undertake a survey of FIBs which could both generate benchmark information on these private businesses, and also identify potential innovations in business development support for the forest industries in Britain. The objectives of the research included establishing business health and viability indicators for FIBs; generating a representative survey sample for the constituent forest industry segments; identifying the main economic and policy factors that influence business performance and prospects in FIBs; assessing the business impact of the introduction of Certification and UKWAS; and making recommendations on future business support and survey requirements for the industry.
The five strategic research objectives agreed for this assignment were to:
- Identify and develop business health and performance indicators that will allow the Forestry Commission to effectively judge the state of health of private businesses in the forest industries in Britain, and to collect baseline information on a representative sample of Forest Industry Businesses (FIBs) using these indicators.
- Select a representative sample of private businesses in England, Scotland and Wales to enable a realistic assessment of the health and viability of FIBs in the forestry sector, especially SME, which can also act as a baseline to evaluate future changes in the selected indicators.
- Identify the policy, market and financial factors in England, Scotland and Wales which could lead to the successful development of forest industry businesses, and to determine the major constraints currently facing these businesses.
- Explore and report on the perceived initial effects of Certification of forests and woodlands and the United Kingdom Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS) on both current and future business potential of FIBs.
- Make recommendations on the benefits that could be generated through the establishment of the survey as a continuing longitudinal monitoring programme; and define the procedural, management and technical issues involved.