As the world’s largest forest certification system, PEFC remains the certification system of choice for small, non-industrial private forests, with hundreds of thousands of family forest owners certified to comply with our internationally recognised Sustainability Benchmark.
PEFC emphasises a ‘bottom-up’ approach, whereby national certification systems are developed independently and come together under the umbrella of PEFC. Over 51 national schemes are endorsed by PEFC. To date, more than 20,000 companies have obtained PEFC Chain of Custody certification, offering tens of thousands of PEFC-certified products globally.
The forest ecosystem is highly complex, and influenced by numerous external factors. Similarly, different forest types in different regions of the world require different sustainable management strategies. This means that criteria for sustainable forest management must be constantly adapted to new circumstances. They must reflect the national context and the specific ecological and environmental conditions, as well as social, economic, political, cultural and spiritual dimensions.
- sets robust standards and realistic criteria for sustainable forest management at a global level that enjoy acceptance by stakeholders around the world, and that are continuously updated to incorporate new knowledge, best practices and changing expectations
- is flexible enough to reflect the specific national circumstances as elaborated with input from all interested parties at local level, yet is also in compliance with international requirements
- is accessible, viable and affordable not only to multinational corporations managing large areas of natural forests and plantations, but also to the millions of small family and community-forest owners for which forests represent an important part of their livelihoods.
National schemes need to prove compliance with PEFC’s Sustainability Benchmarks, globally recognised principles, guidelines and criteria developed by international and inter-governmental bodies with broad consensus from interested stakeholders. These processes are ongoing and are supplemented by additional requirements developed through multi-stakeholder processes facilitated by PEFC.
By requiring that local stakeholders be involved in both standard-setting and decision-making on a scheme before it can be endorsed, PEFC ensures that standards are adapted to meet local cultural, socio-economic, physical, biological, climatic, and geopolitical realities while at the same time meeting internationally-recognised benchmarks for sustainable forest management.
This diversity over and above the international benchmark is to be celebrated. It is one of the strengths of PEFC reflecting reality and avoiding homogeneity and straight-jacketing into an inflexible, rigid and dictatorial ‘one standard fits’ all. This is a unique approach and one pioneered by PEFC.