November 13th 2013

How can you manage nature?

Sustainability in a conflict of interests
Georg Schöppl, CEO, Österreichische Bundesforste AG

On November 12, in the framework of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series, the MCI again offered an opportunity to hear a leading expert in the role of visiting speaker.

Georg Schöppl, CEO of Österreichische Bundesforste AG (Austrian Federal Forests), provided exciting insights into working in and with the nature.

It quickly became clear to the audience that the old romanticized image of the forester has nothing to do with modern reality. His work today has more to do with climate change and dealing with storms and natural disasters.

In the last few years, pronounced price fluctuations have made it necessary for the Austrian Federal Forests to develop additional sources of revenue so as to consolidate the undertaking’s position in the long term, with real estate and renewable energy generation as just two of the new fields of business.

The main challenge, however, remains the sustainability of the timber harvest. In view of the long life cycles of the trees, generation-spanning work remains the organization’s core activity. What is planted today will only be harvested in 140 years’ time. A sustainability balanced scorecard is used to achieve sustainable targets based on a compromise between the calls of economics, society and nature.

The focus placed by the company on human resource recruitment and training is reflected in the fact that its forestry expertise is also in demand as an international service offering.

The presentation was followed by a lively discussion, thus rounding off a very successful evening.

The event was chaired by Professor Andreas Altmann as Rector of the MCI.