Revising THE process: endorsement and mutual recognition
17 June 2016 Endorsement
Endorsing national forest certification systems is what we do: it’s even in our name - the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). So it is fair to say that the PEFC process for the endorsement and mutual recognition of forest certification system is THE process of our organization.
This process is now under scrutiny, as part of our comprehensive Standards Revision process that is currently underway. The responsibility of its revision falls to Working Group 6, which met for the first meeting on 1 - 2 June, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WG members began with focusing on how the effectiveness and efficiency of the endorsement and mutual recognition process can be increased, as well as how we can improve the comprehensibility and readability of the complex assessment reports.
The Working Group will now meet in October this year to discuss a first Working Draft document of the revised process.
The endorsement process
The endorsement and mutual recognition process defines the requirements under which a national system is assessed by an external assessor to determine whether the documentation complies with the rigorous PEFC International Sustainability Benchmarks.
If the assessment is positive, the system is recommended for (re-) endorsement to the PEFC General Assembly. As sign for mutual recognition, each PEFC member can vote and decide on this recognition.
The process ensures a transparent evaluation of the national system documentation. Each interested stakeholder can participate in an international consultation during the assessment period and raise concerns or bring forward questions of understanding.
The assessment reports are publicly available and describe in detail the assessment process and potential non-conformities in the system documentation. This provides a degree of transparency and engagement going beyond common practice in the certification community.
The revision process
WG 6 is one of six Working Groups currently embarked on the revision of several of our PEFC International Standards. WG 1: Sustainable Forest Management Standard, WG 2: Forest Management Certification Procedures and Group Certification and WG 3: Standard Setting Procedures have already completed their first meetings.
The call for nominations for the remaining two Working Groups - WG 4: Chain of Custody and Labelling and WG 5: Chain of Custody Certification Procedures – closed recently.
These WGs will all meet 2-5 times to build consensus on the creation of an enquiry draft standard. This draft will then go through public consultation before approval and publication.