In the UK the outdoor use of wood in decking and garden products is a big and evolving business. In Sweden and other Nordic countries it’s a way of life; an integral part of the built and landscaping environment.

The Swedish Wood Preserving Association (SWPA) has been one of the most proactive and innovative organisations in promoting treated softwood in this market – predominantly pine. And in recent years it has stepped up its marketing efforts to trade and consumer further; focusing on its own industry’s capabilities and its involvement in the wider Nordic Wood Preservation Council (NTR) timber preservation quality assurance and warranty programme.

At the same time, faced with the demands of the EU Biocidal Regulation (528/2012) and increased market and legislative environmental sensitivities, the SWPA is also developing its political lobbying.

A key focus for SWPA marketing is online promotion and timber use tools. Four years ago it launched its Lätt Mätt (Easily Measured) app. This advised on how to build a deck and other timber landscape products, providing tools for designing structures and materials calculations.

"This was a success and featured in Vi Villa, Sweden’s biggest home improvement magazine," said SWPA managing director and NTR CEO Mikael Westin. "It was one of their ‘ten most usable apps’ and we had 22,000 downloads as a result."

From here, SWPA developed its consumer website ‘Building Outdoors’, Such was its success that the app was rebranded under the same name. The SWPA works closely with the UK Timber Decking and Cladding and Wood Protection Associations and the TDCA was inspired to develop its own decking calculator app by the Bygga Ute tool.

More recently, the Bygga Ute site has been developed further to increase its exposure. "With our advertising agency, Effect Reklambyrå, we’ve developed a Facebook hub, and are using Instagram, Pinterest, Adwords, Addthis, Tynt and SEO to increase traffic," said Mr Westin. "We’ve also added three films, produced with Stockholm archipelago jetty installer Sjöliv, giving tips for jetty building using treated timber."

The SWPA decided to step up its political lobbying efforts alongside marketing late 2014.

"We’ve used lobbying company, Agaton Communications ( and met politicians from the governing Social Democrats and Environmentalists, plus Liberals, Conservatives and Christian Democrats," said Mr Westin.

The message to MPs is that wood generally is a ‘climate smart material’, highlighting its carbon sink credentials and renewability (with Sweden’s forests growing enough new wood for two five-storey buildings every minute, according to the Swedish Wood Building Office).

The role of preservation in enhancing wood’s life cycle performance is also strongly underlined.

"We highlight the rigour of the product approvals process and the demands the sector faces in terms of documentation and research," said Mr Westin. "We focus too on the substantial resources the industry devotes to life cycle analysis."

Politicians are informed about the NTR’s role in helping make wood preservative use as resource-efficient, high performance and safe as possible, with its fundamental rule that the right wood is used in the right place.

"We want to create a dialogue with policy makers confirming that use of Swedish impregnated wood brings a wealth of environmental benefits, including avoiding use of alternative materials based on finite resources," said Mr Westin