The Ghanaian timber sector has unveiled a marketing initiative to communicate legality and sustainability assurance advances made under its FLEGT VPA to EU customers, preparatory to Ghana starting FLEGT licensing. The ‘Message House’ has been developed by the Kumasi Wood Cluster (KWC) and Ghana Timber Millers Association (GTMA) with support from government, civil society and the UNFAO EU FLEGT Programme. Its aim, they say, is to highlight the measures and reforms the country has undertaken to meet EU requirements in order to help business capitalise on market opportunities and ensure FLEGT licensing delivers commercially.
At a recent communications strategy workshop in Accra, Domestic Lumber Traders Association Chief Executive Kofi Afreh Boakye said the move would help the private sector market itself. Delegates were informed about the messaging the private sector could use when FLEGT licensing begins. Mr Boakye stressed that Ghanaian forest and timber sustainability as well as legality would be a focus of the initiative, an area where to date there had been a lack of information and miscommunication.
“The Europeans are concerned about how sustainable Ghana’s legal wood system is and this is a platform where we can tell the whole world that we are not only interested in legality but also sustainability,” he said.
He announced that the KWC and GTMO is undertaking a six month project to develop ‘private sector-focused messages’ for Ghana’s FLEGT Licence communication strategy. Funded by the UNFAO, this will collate facts and figures to back up the marketing programme. The ‘Message House’ is also producing a ‘photo catalogue’, the Ghana Wood Digest, covering products, timber sector facilities and infrastructure.
Adjei Yeboah, former Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said it was key for the industry to develop strong messaging to articulate its achievements and sustainability and legality credentials to the international community.