Forests area: 304 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): 19,800
PEFC is an umbrella organisation that endorses national forest certification systems.
National certification systems that have developed standards in line with PEFC requirements can apply for endorsement to gain access to global recognition and market access through PEFC International. To achieve endorsement, they need to meet PEFC’s rigorous Sustainability Benchmarks.
This 'bottom-up' approach provides a high degree of independence of national processes, and allows for the development of standards tailored to the political, economic, social, environmental and cultural realities of their respective countries, yet in compliance with rigorous international benchmarks.
This independence is also expressed by the mature relationship among national forest certification systems that come together in PEFC. The PEFC framework allows for 'sovereign' national systems to join forces to collaboratively promote sustainable forest management and the goods produced from sustainable forest management in the global market.
This pragmatic 'bottom-up' approach is the reason why PEFC has become the world's largest forest certification system, and the certification system of choice for small family and community- owned forests.
PEFC is the only international forest certification system that gives all its members a voice in the endorsement and acceptance of national certification standards.
The endorsement process ensures that national standards comply with PEFC’s Sustainability Benchmarks and that all requirements are rigorously and consistently applied across all national certification systems.
Mutual recognition among PEFC-endorsed national systems allows PEFC-certified wood to be identified and accepted globally under one, easily recognisable eco-label.
Any national certification system seeking to obtain PEFC endorsement or re-endorsement must submit to a comprehensive and thorough assessment process, including independent evaluation and public consultation. A full final report of this process is then made publicly available.
This process takes on average nine months to complete. It consists of the following steps: