ICF Members’ Hour – Forest Academy: Facilitating Dialogue Around the Importance of Forests, Modern Forestry & the Sector

Join us for our next #MembersHour with Elina Antila, Senior Specialist (Forest Academy for Decision Makers) & Philip Chambers, Project Manager (Forest Academy for Decision Makers) at the Finnish Forest Association.

About the Speakers
Elina Antila

Elina is the Director of the Forest Academy for Decision Makers which has been operating in Finland for almost 25 years and more recently at the EU level. She manages a far-reaching communications network of over 1500 decision makers and influencers and coordinates events in Finland and beyond. Elina has a background in the financial sector which enables her to bring a broad perspective to the forest sector while maintaining a laser-sharp attention to detail. As a forest owner, she has a deep connection with forests and is passionate about communicating the benefits the sector brings to society.


Philip Chambers

Philip is a forester and researcher who has been living and working in Finland for 11 years. When in the UK, he worked in forest planning for Forest Enterprise Scotland and was a Woodland Officer for Forestry Commission Scotland. In Finland, he has carried out research on participative processes in forest planning at Helsinki University and worked with FSC International on their Living Wages policy among other projects as a consultant. Most recently, Philip has been a project manager with the Finnish Forest Association for the Forest Academy for EU Decision Makers.

Session Overview

During the hour, Elina and Philip will discuss the Forest Academy programme and why the concept was created in Finland, how it’s different and how it has developed over the years. They’ll also present a short case study on how the concept has been utilised internationally and whether there could be a Forest Academy in the UK.

The Forest Academy is a communication programme that aims to bridge the gap between the forest sector and the rest of society while increasing social capital. It achieves this by showcasing the latest developments in forestry while highlighting the opportunities that forests and their sustainable management present to policymakers, business leaders and other influencers – both inside and outside the sector.  The concept seeks to support networking and can be adapted to aid the creation of input for decision making on strategic issues in the policy preparation process.

In Finland, the Finnish Forest Association has responsibility for the Forest Academy and has organised its forums since 1996. Some 1.500 decision-makers have joined the network. After attending a forum, participants are invited to follow-up events and the network is maintained through a variety of communication channels. The communication concept is available for purchase and it can be tailored to meet the different needs and conditions of each country. It has already been implemented in Latvia, Tanzania, Costa Rica and Mozambique. The concept is also being piloted at the EU level in cooperation with partners in Sweden.

Who Should Attend
  • Forestry professionals who are interested in the public perception of the sector – planning foresters, certification professionals, policymakers, government agency staff, etc.
  • Researchers and academics interested in the social and policy dimensions of forestry as well as innovation and communication.
  • Anyone interested in public engagement, communication and stakeholder management.
  • Innovators and leaders throughout the forest based industries.

Useful Reading

About the Forest Academy for Decision Makers

Taking place on Zoom, this presentation will be followed by an interactive Q&A session.

This #MembersHour will take place on Thursday 15 October between 11am and 12pm. You can also join in the chat on Twitter #MembersHour.

If there’s a subject you’d like to discuss, or potentially host, in a future #MembersHour session then please let us know via icf@charteredforesters.org.

Bookings are now open.