The PEFC system consists of two parts: forest certification and chain of custody certification. A combination of both systems allows timber from sustainably managed forests to be used widely.
PEFC forest certification
The starting point for certification within the PEFC system is formed by the national standards for sustainable forest management. These national standards must satisfy the PEFC Sustainability Benchmark before approval from the PEFC is attained. This benchmark describes various social, economic and ecological criteria which forest management has to meet.
Forest owners who manage their forests in a sustainable manner can have themselves certified by an independent certification agency on the basis of a PEFC-approved national standard. This agency will carry out inspections as to whether all principles and criteria of sustainable forest management are in fact being adhered to. In this event, the forestry company will receive a certificate from the certification agency. This certificate is valid for a period of five years with an evaluation taking place each year by the certification agency.
Popup PEFC Sustainability Benchmark
Criteria for PEFC Sustainability Benchmark
- The biodiversity of forest ecosystems is maintained or enhanced;
- The range of ecosystem services that forests provide is sustained:
- they provide food, fibre, biomass and wood;
- they are a key part of the water cycle, act as sinks capturing and storing carbon, and prevent soil erosion;
- they provide habitats and shelter for people and wildlife; and
- they offer spiritual and recreational benefits;
- Chemicals are substituted by natural alternatives or their use is minimised;
- Workers' rights and welfare are protected;
- Local employment is encouraged;
- Indigenous peoples' rights are respected;
- Operations are undertaken within the legal framework and following best practices.
The above text is a summary of the PEFC Sustainability Benchmark (PEFC Council Minimum Requirements Checklist). No rights can be derived from its contents. For the original document, we refer you to the PEFC website at www.pefc.org
PEFC chain of custody certification (COC)
A PEFC chain of custody certificate makes it possible to trace PEFC-certified products back through the supply chain. It provides a guarantee that timber from a PEFC-certified forest has been kept separate from timber from other, undesirable sources. Likewise, a chain of custody certificate is issued by an independent certification agency which then inspects the certificate holder on an annual basis.