UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Competitiveness and sustainability : perspectives from the secondary wood industry of British Columbia, the forest industries of New Zealand, Chile, and Brazil, and the sugarcane-based ethanol industry of Brazil Spetic, Wellington Chaves


This investigation assesses British Columbia’s secondary wood products industry, the forest products industries of New Zealand, Chile, and Brazil, and Brazil’s sugarcane-based ethanol and industrial plantation forest industries. More specifically, the dynamic and interrelated concepts of competitiveness and sustainability within the contexts of the BC secondary wood products sector and other competing regions are examined. Manufacturing and business competencies were used to inform the competitiveness construct, while the role that various sustainability issues (i.e. social and environmental) may play on firms’ future strategies was also assessed. key research questions considered were: What are key factors for the future competitiveness of the BC secondary wood products industry? How have southern hemisphere industries been able to successfully enter major export markets and what factors will impact their competitiveness in the future? Is there a potential relationship between sustainability and competitiveness in the forest sectors of the world? Qualitative methodologies of grounded theory and case studies were used to address these research questions. Findings indicate that business-related strategies, as opposed to manufacturing strategies, are the most critical factors that firms must consider for their long-term competitiveness. In the BC secondary wood products sector, improvements in the quality of managerial and entrepreneurial capacity will be particularly important. In New Zealand, forest ownership fragmentation will likely play a role on the business-related strategies of firms, as raw material security may become an issue. Despite Chile’s well-known business orientation, external factors, such as rising input and shipping costs, will have to be taken into account to ensure future success. In Brazil, the need for improvements to the country’s environmental legal framework is considered a critical concern at this time. However, in the long run, business-oriented strategies will become more important to Brazilian firms. In all of the regions studied, participants agreed that the constructs of sustainability and competitiveness will become increasingly intertwined in the global forest sectors of the near future. Finally, a foundation is laid for the theoretical development of a framework for the competitive environment for post-industrial firms, which includes sustainability.

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