Published on 8 June 2017
We are delighted to welcome South Africa as our latest PEFC national member, becoming our fourth member in Africa, alongside Cameroon, Gabon and Ghana.
“Becoming a PEFC national member is an important step towards the endorsement of our country’s national forest certification system,” said Craig Norris, Forest Technology Manager at NCT Forestry. “We expect to finalize the system documentation by June and will submit the system to PEFC shortly after.”
Why South Africa is choosing PEFC
There are approximately 1.2 million hectares of exotic tree plantations in South Africa. While much of this is already certified to alternative forest certification systems, most of this area is owned or managed by large organizations. This has led to a growing concern that small- and family forest owners are being left behind.
“As the demand for certified products increases, both abroad and locally, certification could become a trade barrier to smaller management units. In addition, South Africa’s land reform programme is likely to result in a greater proportion of the plantation estate being managed by smaller scale timber growers,” said Mr. Norris.
“The complexity and cost of the certification options that currently exist prevents many smaller operations from achieving certification. There is an urgent need to develop a standard that is more relevant to our plantation forestry, particularly for smaller scale operations. This is where PEFC comes in,” Mr. Norris concluded.
Nationally developing, internationally recognized
“The PEFC system enables stakeholders to develop their national standards independently, tailoring them to the political, economic, social, environmental and cultural realities of their own country,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.
“While at the same time, our endorsement process ensures these national systems are compliance with internationally-accepted requirements and provides them with global recognition.”
The PEFC alliance grows!
The South African Forestry Assurance Scheme (SAFAS) is also joined by the Council for Sustainable Forest Management and Certification in Bulgaria and PAFC-Congo as the latest members of the PEFC alliance. This means there are now 49 PEFC national members around the world!