The Working Groups

Working groups are multi-stakeholder groups responsible for the development and/or revision of a technical document through a consensus-driven decision making process.

The Working Groups

The standards development process is driven by multi-stakeholder working groups. These groups build consensus on the respective technical documentation, relying on the involvement of active and committed individuals from different interest groups.

Working groups can range in size from eight to over 30 people. To ensure that no single interest can dominate the process, we ensure that all working groups have balanced representation of stakeholder categories.

Establishing the working groups

Following the development of a terms of reference document that sets out the requirements for the working group, such as scope, composition and working style, a call for nominations is launched. Stakeholders from around the world are invited to nominate the people/organizations they want to represent them within the working group. 

The PEFC Board of Directors is responsible for accepting the nominations and selecting the members of the working group.

To ensure that no single concerned interest can dominate the process, all working groups have balanced representation of interested stakeholders, including geographical representation, and a consensus-driven decision making process.

Stakeholder categories within the working groups are derived from the major groups outlined in the UN Agenda 21 (Business & Industry; NGOs; Scientific & Technological Communities; Farmers & Small Forest Landowners; Workers & Trade Unions; Local Authorities; Indigenous People; Women; and Children & Youth).

We have further refined the desired composition of a working group and require at least the following stakeholder categories to participate:

  • Certified PEFC scheme users: forest owners and managers; forest based industry (processing and trade)
  • Uncertified PEFC scheme users: PEFC scheme assessors; certification bodies; accreditation bodies; consultants
  • Customers and consumers: retailer organizations; consumer organizations; institutional consumers of forest based products, including governments
  • Civil society: science, environmental, social and other interest groups
  • PEFC National Governing Body members

The role of the PEFC Board of Directors and the PEFC General Assembly is limited to the formal approval (or rejection) of the standards; these bodies do not develop the final draft standards agreed by the working group.

The 2016-2020 revision process

There were six working groups responsible for developing our standards during the 2016-2020 revision process:

The work of the working groups is coordinated by Michael Berger, PEFC's Head of Technical Unit, with PEFC International providing organizational and administrative support.

Permanent working groups

Following the completion of the revision process for the Sustainable Forest Management and Group Certification benchmark standards, a new permanent working group was created. This group will provide guidance on the implementation and interpretation of these two revised benchmarks, including the continued development of our newly adopted approach of certification for Trees outside Forests.

In early 2020, a permanent PEFC Chain of Custody Working Group was also formed. This working group is responsible for the development of the PEFC chain of custody, including the maintenance of the following standards: PEFC Chain of Custody (ST 2002), PEFC Trademarks (ST 2001) and Certification Body Requirements – Chain of Custody (ST 2003).

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