An Insurance Policy has been
developed for Wood's Future
Insurance provides protection
against many different kinds of business risks. Companies regularly invest in
all forms of insurance to protect products, assets and employees. Think fire,
industrial accidents, shipping blockages. Now think marketplace insurance. If
companies are willing to invest to ensure that their product arrives safely to
the customer, it makes sense to insure that the product has access to the
marketplace in the first place. Consider wood's market risk.
The last five years have witnessed
mounting efforts by environmental groups and competing building material
industries to reduce the market for wood. Left unchallenged, these efforts will
have a considerable impact on costs, sales and profits for anyone working
directly or indirectly in the wood business. In fact, a one percent drop in
lumber demand would result in a 1.7 per cent decline in price, which translates
to a US $390 million impact on revenues for producers alone! Product promotion
by well-organized groups like the Steel Alliance and campaigns by environmental
advocates working arm-in-arm already threatened significant harm to the forest
publicly embarrass our customers, demanding they sign contracts that limit their
procurement choices and reject wood that comes from forests the groups deem to
be "endangered". Praise is quick to follow for those that capitulate.
Steel and concrete are gaining public favor by highlighting the weaknesses of
wood in areas of strength, durability and-surprisingly-environmental impacts.
Insurers like manageable risks and wood's market challenge is a manageable risk.
In fact, there is very positive news on both the product side and with the
forest resource. In addition, research indicates a willing and accepting
audience in the form of builders, retailers and consumers that very much want to
hear the news.
Wood still has an emotional and
economic hold on consumers, and there is a growing desire to believe that
environmental progress is occurring. But the territory is large and there are a
lot of people that we have to reach with our message. Group insurance-where a
number of companies or individuals pool their resources-is one of the most
efficient forms of insurance. It provides the greatest coverage, for the least
cost. The Wood Promotion Network (WPN) is group insurance for the wood products
sector-as necessary a business investment as fleet insurance. Over 220 wood
producers, suppliers and allied organizations to date have viewed the WPN as a
preventive measure to limit the impact of environmental campaigns on the cost of
access to the resource and to strengthen a preference for wood in
Our coverage is this-a $45 million
war chest for a three-year
business-to-business marketing, public relations and advertising initiative that
aims to show three things: One, that forests are abundant and growing. Two, that
wood is a better building material. Three, that industry will not be silent in
the face of aggressive competition -we will fight for market share. Our offense
is already in motion. Under the mantra of "Be Constructive-Wood", the
WPN is giving the trades, media and do-it-yourselfers great reasons to approach
life constructively with wood. TV ads focus on the ease and versatility of using
wood. The WPN's Wood Information Bureau is a resource for in-depth information
on timely topics.
Even more information- for both
the professional and the amateur-can be found on www.beconstructive.com.
Running parallel is a strong offense for the forest. Armed with encouraging
statistics from the United Nations and other third parties, the WPN is sharing
news that forests in the U.S. and Canada have grown in the past decades and much
of the continent's original forest cover remains intact. Television and print
ads highlight satellite technology used to map forest growth while encouraging
viewers to obtain more information on www.forestinformation.com.
Using satellite technology to bring renowned ecologist Patrick Moore from the
forest floor to the fingertips of Internet viewers, the site combines
information on U.S. and Canadian forests together under one umbrella.
What we've accomplished to date is
unprecedented. A large North American-wide coalition of partners that span the
range of stakeholders from landowners and equipment suppliers through to
wholesalers and retailers. They know our challenge requires an aggressive,
collective response. They are putting both money and time on the table. They are
all telling the same story and we're giving them the tools to do it so that we
leverage every penny of our war chest. There are no lack of ideas on ways to get
the wood message out. The most common refrain I hear when making presentations
to potential partners is, "It's about time, what can I do?". And this
is what I tell them. Recognize that the WPN is insurance worth having.
Recognize that insuring market
retention and growth for wood is a good investment. Keep in mind that the cost
to regain lost market share is always many times more expensive than the
insurance premium paid in advance. And, finally, united we stand and … (well,
you know the rest.) Prior to his role as overseer of WPN, Kelly McCloskey was
President and CEO of the Canadian Wood Council. For further information on the
WPN, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
or contact Dale Simpson, VP Coalition Development at email@example.com.
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