Revised Group Certification standard approved
14 November 2018 Group Certification
We are delighted to announce that today the PEFC General Assembly voted to approve our revised Group Certification standard.
Approval by the PEFC General Assembly is the final step in the development and revision of our standards. The revision of this benchmark standard began in 2016, and it has taken the input of numerous experts and hundreds of stakeholders to reach this point. But the work doesn’t stop there – now comes the implementation process!
The revised PEFC Sustainable Forest Management standard was also approved on the same day.
What has changed?
The Group Certification benchmark defines the general requirements for forest certification systems with group certification, enabling the certification of a number of forest owners under one certificate.
Group certification works through a combination of internal and external auditing. As smallholders can pool resources and jointly apply for certification, costs are substantially lower, helping make certification accessible. However, this means that internal auditing must work flawlessly.
The revised benchmark provides an innovative framework for internal monitoring and auditing in certified groups. This includes improved requirements for internal auditing, such as risk based sampling groups and minimum sample size, as well as strengthening the management system of the group itself.
This framework provides additional safeguards assuring compliance of everyone within a group with PEFC requirements, while enabling smallholders to benefit from affordable certification.
We developed group certification nearly two decades ago, and now around one million small-forest owners have achieved PEFC certification through group certification. This is a testimony to the fact that forest certification is possible for small landholders.
Are you a small-forest owner? Find out how you can achieve PEFC certification for your forest.