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COVID-19: Guidance for certification bodies and certified companies

Published on 25 March 2020

Due to the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, travel and medical restrictions are affecting auditing activities. In order to give some flexibility to certification bodies and certified companies affected by the disease, we have issued the following guidance:

COVID-19 Guidance for certification bodies and certified companies:

 This updated guidance - Version 4.1- was released 24 March.

The main methods to ease the consequences of travel restrictions are the implementation of remote audits, and where this is not sufficient, the extension of time periods affecting the certificate. This guidance is based on IAF documents and the recently revised PEFC requirements for certification bodies operating chain of custody audits: PEFC ST 2003:2020.

This guidance enters into force and can be applied by certification bodies from the day of its publication (10/03/2020) and is applicable until PEFC Council revokes the guidance.

The document provides general procedures for the application of this guidance, as well as specific rules for initial and re-certification audits, surveillance audits and verification of corrective actions. The latest version (Version 4) provides an update on the extension of the validity of the certificates.