PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, is a leading global alliance of national forest certification systems. An international non-profit, non-governmental organization, we are dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification.
As an umbrella organization, we endorse national forest certification systems that have been developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions. It is our fundamental belief that forest certification needs to be local; this is why we choose to work with national organizations to advance responsible forestry.
While national systems are developed locally, they need to be recognized internationally. To ensure consistency with international requirements, all national forest certification systems undergo rigorous third-party assessment against our unique Sustainability Benchmarks before they can achieve endorsement.
Setting international standards
The development of international standards is central to our work. These standards form the basis for nearly all our activities, from endorsing national systems to providing certification solutions. Though technical documentation may not sound exciting, it is vital for the running of the whole organization!
Every standard goes through a detailed and rigorous development process, which is consensus-driven, open and transparent and involves all relevant stakeholders. Multi-stakeholder working groups drive this process. They build consensus on the technical documentation, relying on the involvement of active and committed individuals from different interest groups.
We revise and review all our technical documentation regularly to ensure it continues to meet ever-changing knowledge, best practices and expectations.
300 million hectares of certified forests and over 20,000 certified companies
At the core of our work is forest certification. With around 300 million hectares of PEFC-certified forest, we are the largest forest certification system in the world.
Forest certification is crucial in providing evidence of sustainable forest management. Forest management is a long-term process, and the results of good practice can often only become apparent after decades.
Certification enables forest owners and managers to demonstrate that the practices they apply in the forest today are sustainable. It also acts as an enabler of sustainability, empowering consumers and companies to choose sustainably sourced products, rewarding responsible forest owners and creating an incentive for uncertified forest owners to obtain certification.
Smallholders at our heart
We are also the certification system of choice for smallholders. We were founded by small- and family forest owners, so ensuring their access to forest certification has always been at the heart of our work.
This led us to develop group certification, a mechanism enabling groups of small forest landholders to organize themselves, pool their resources, and work together to achieve certification. Thanks to this, several hundred-thousand family- and community-owned forests have successfully acquired PEFC certification.
But developing the group certification mechanism was just the starting point. Through our Collaboration Fund and other PEFC initiatives, we continue to invest in projects and activities that support smallholder certification through engagement, innovation and capacity building.