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Double certification on the rise, joint PEFC/FSC data shows

Published on 13 June 2017

PEFC and FSC have agreed to jointly collect and publish data on double certification, starting from 2016 onwards.

More than 69 million hectares (or 16%) of all certified forests globally are double certified to both PEFC and FSC. This is an increase of 30 million hectares compared to data collected by PEFC in 2012.

Double certification exists because foresters in different parts of the world have chosen to use both PEFC and FSC certification for their forest management units to prove their sustainable forest management practices.

As their respective certified forest area appears in both the PEFC and the FSC statistics, this has led to inflated numbers of the total global certified area.

A more accurate estimate

PEFC and FSC therefore decided to work together to provide a more accurate and mutually agreed estimate for the total global certified area.

"From a global point of view, resources invested in certifying already certified forest area are resources that are not invested in certifying new forest area as sustainably managed," said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.

"Our common goal should be to expand sustainable forest management and to increase the availability of certified forest products. Adding one label on top of another label doesn't help us in achieving this objective," added Mr. Gunneberg.

Companies have a role to play

"One cause of double certification is market access, and here companies have a role to play: by accepting both PEFC and FSC, they remove the pressure on forest owners to double certify.”

“In turn, this will help precious financial resources to be focused on expanding certification to forests that are not yet certified to either system," Mr. Gunneberg concluded.

429 million hectares of forest certified

The mutually agreed data on double certification provides reliable information on the extent of the total global certified forest area to intergovernmental processes and global initiatives such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other interested parties.

The data collected for 2016 shows that double certification exists in 28 countries. Removing double certification from the statistics shows that a total of 429 million hectares of forests are certified globally. 70% of these forests have a PEFC certificate.

With this agreement, FSC and PEFC also wish to avoid misunderstandings about the current statistics on forest certification when the data from FSC and PEFC are added up.

Estimated total global double certified area FSC/PEFC (end 2016) by PEFC International on Scribd