Coillte takes a layered approach to engagement with its stakeholders.  Given the nature of our business and the scale of our land holding across the country Coillte has an impact across a wide range of businesses and communities.

Our National Approach 

Much of our local work comes about as a result of policies set at national level such as the amount of wood we produce each year, our policies on the environment, and how and where we provide social benefits for example, through recreation. In addition, national forestry policy is set by the Government via the Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. National forestry policy and legislation set the context for many of the decisions made at a region, district or forest level. Such policies are consulted on at national level.  In addition, in 2009, Coillte drafted Terms of Reference for the establishment of a National Panel of Stakeholders with the aim of creating and facilitating a space for dialogue on issues surrounding Coillte operations.

District Planning

Our forest estate is divided into 13 Districts, each of which has a District Strategic Plan (DSP) which sets out the medium to long term direction for the District. These plans are consulted on every 5 years at review time.   In addition, Coillte operates Social and Environmental panels within each District which are made up of community representatives and meet on a regular basis to exchange information.

Forest Management Planning

There are 317 individual forests across the country, each of which has a five year forest management plan.  These Forest Management Plans are in turn informed by National and District policies.  We also wish to ensure local participation in the planning process and one of the ways we do this is through our public consultation process on our draft Forest Management Plans (FMPs). This enhances our understanding of how our decisions impact on all forest users and on our neighbours and also helps create a positive working environment for our staff and contractors.

In 2009, each draft Forest Management Plan was presented to the public for input both through the Coillte website and at various presentations around the country.

Over 690 stakeholders attended 116 meetings held for the 317 draft FMPs.  Where possible, amendments have been made to the plans to reflect the suggestions of local people.

Day to day operations

Consultation on routine forest operations takes place on an ongoing basis with forest neighbours, stakeholders, and interested groups.  This is part of our partnership approach to doing business.

Other uses for our land

In the event of Coillte selling, leasing or developing land for  purposes other than forestry, specific consultation is carried out, in line with our Consultation Policy.

Principles for stakeholder identification and selection

Coilltes uses the following criteria for identifying stakeholders.  This was agreed with staff as part of a Consultation Training Programme which was implemented in the company.

Stakeholders are people and organisations who:

  • Buy or use our outputs
  • Are involved in the process
  • Are affected by our activities
  • Enjoy the forests and land holdings
  • Have landscape and nature conservation interests and/or responsibilities
  • Own rights on our landholdings
  • Are economically linked to our activities
  • Determine our policies
  • Provide funding/investment/equity
  • Have an academic and research interest
  • Manage water catchments
  • Have responsibilities for fulfilling EU/IRL water, nutrient, carbon targets and directives
  • Operate quality assurance schemes which we use
  • Are partners in Coillte projects.

Source:  Training in Facilitation of Consultations for Coillte: by Judith Annett

Customer Satisfaction
Customer Satisfaction has been identified as a key objective for the Coillte Group.  In this regard, a third party was commissioned to carry out a customer satisfaction survey across all of the business areas.  This survey forms a baseline to measure future performance against and identify areas for improvement in service delivery as well as products and service offerings. This work builds on the existing customer service initiatives including:  A specialised Issue Register for Customers;  Key Account Managers in place for larger customers and a Customer Charter for sawmill customers which was developed in consultation with our customers.

Coillte Supports Wood Marketing In Ireland At Plan Expo Event

During 2009, Coillte participated at PlanExpo, Ireland’s showcase event for the built environment.  In a structured approach, Coillte Forest and Coillte Panel Products marketing teams combined promotional activities within a shared area on the Wood Marketing Federation (WMF) Woodspace stand. 

The WMF Woodspace stand structure was primarily built from Murray Timbers “Easy Edged” Spruce construction timber, with SmartPly Oriented Strand Board (OSB), tongue and groove (T&G)  flooring and decking from Glennons also used.

The stand was opened by Tony Killeen, T.D. then Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with special responsibility for Forestry,  who described it as "a tribute to Irish craftsmanship which illustrated the vibrancy of the Irish forestry and forest products sector".

The visitor attendance at the show was noticeably down on previous years, reflecting the inherent difficulties and lack of momentum within the construction industry here in Ireland at present.  On a brighter note for the WMF participants, the environmental credentials of wood based construction products continued to attract positive attention, the move towards green building materials from local, sustainable and renewable resources clearly evident from the enquires received by Coillte staff and our sawmill customers also on the stand.