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Credence attributes and ESG investment - opportunities for New Zealand forestry marketing

Authors: Karen Bayne, Sebastian Klinger, Richard Yao, Tim Payn
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2022, Issue N.Z.J.For. 67(2) 2022, pp 23–29, Aug 2022
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: This paper explores the emerging requirements of New Zealand’s international markets for forest products. These requirements include green and ethical consumerism, and factors arising from Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment within the natural resource sector. Product labelling through certification provides claims that support ethical purchase and investment, and this has become very important when forestry-related businesses adapt to this changing market environment. Some timber products that are positioned for ethical purchase have certification labelling. More generic claims such as ‘renewable’, ‘sustainable forest management’ (SFM) and ‘natural’ cannot be easily evidenced and need to be taken on trust (i.e. credence attributes). While SFM and certification labelling is useful, we propose that marketing on individual credence attributes has the potential to obtain greater premiums in international markets. This paper describes the growing role of ESG in market access, and the potential for producers to gain price premiums in new markets and market segments through highlighting broader individual environmental and ethical credence attributes.
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