Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification

PEFC is the world's largest forest certification organisation

PEFC International

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification.

PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Thanks to its eco-label, customers and consumers are able to identify products from sustainably managed forests.

PEFC is an umbrella organisation. It works by endorsing national forest certification systems developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions.

We are committed to conserving forests and their invaluable biodiversity and the communities and families that own, work, and live in and around forests.Our vision is of “a world in which people manage forests sustainably”.

With 45 endorsed national certification systems and more than 300 million hectares of certified forests, PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system. Each national forest certification system undergoes rigorous third-party assessment against PEFC’s unique Sustainability Benchmarks to ensure consistency with international requirements.

These Benchmarks have been developed based on internationally-recognized, ongoing and long term, intergovernmental processes and guidelines for the promotion of SFM to ensure compliance with globally agreed requirements.

The Benchmark criteria are regularly revised through multi-stakeholder processes involving participants drawn globally from civil society, business, governments, labour and research institutions to take account of new scientific knowledge, societal change, evolving expectations and to incorporate latest best practice.

PEFC is also open to international stakeholders such as civil society organizations, businesses, government entities and intergovernmental bodies. PEFC certification is also favoured by numerous public and private timber procurement policies worldwide.

PEFC Certification & Small Forest Owners

PEFC is the certification system of choice for small forest owners including family and community-owned forests.

Some 25% of the world’s forests are managed by 2 billion families and community members, with 40% of forests in the North owned by 30 million families and 25% of forests in the South owned or managed by communities.

Through innovative mechanisms for group and regional certification, PEFC supports small land owners to gain recognition in the market place thereby making a lasting contribution to livelihoods and rural development. To date, several hundred-thousand family- and community-owned forests have acquired PEFC certification.

PEFC Sustainable Forestry and Chain of Custody certification are ideally suited to the needs of small family and community-owned and managed forests. With about one quarter of the world’s forests managed by families and communities, resources and cost related to certification are a major obstacle to expanding forest certification to the more than 90% of forest area currently uncertified.

PEFC has developed robust mechanisms to ensure the participation and inclusion of family and community owned forests in forest certification. PEFC has paid special attention to their needs and their specific cost and operating structures to make forest certification accessible to all. In order to best respond to cost challenges, PEFC has implemented a series of certification mechanisms, such as Regional Certification and Group Certification.

Visit PEFC International for more information on our work protecting and promoting global forestry. 

You can download the latest review of PEFC International’s activity here: PEFC Annual Review