PEFC UK Ltd has adopted the definition of sustainable forest management (SFM) initially developed by Forest Europe in 1993 and subsequently adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations:
“The stewardship and use of forests and forest land in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions at local, national and global levels and does not cause damage to other ecosystems.”
The organisation is committed to the following guiding principles:
- Quality - through the stringency of criteria for technical and professional competencies with which to operate the Scheme.
- Continuous Improvement - through response to new knowledge and changes in demands.
- Consistency - with internationally recognised indicators and performance criteria of credible forest certification standards, schemes, and of the certification process itself.
- Use and promotion of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard - as the criteria and indicators for verification of sustainable forest management in the UK.
- Credibility - through third party, independent auditing carried out by certification bodies accredited by UKAS or other accreditation bodies operating to internationally accepted ISO standards and guidelines.
- Transparency - of all stages of both the certification standard and the certification scheme
- Accountability to, and participation with - the UK and wider forestry and timber using communities and stakeholders.
- Cost effectiveness - through minimising the administrative and financial burden to the scheme’s customers.
- Accessibility - via the UK Woodland Assurance Standard and the PEFC Council Chain of Custody Standard - to a range of certification options to all forest and wood using types, ownerships and structures.