Endorsement and Mutual Recognition of National Systems and their Revision

Endorsement and Mutual Recognition of National Systems and their Revision

This guide sets out the endorsement and mutual recognition process which each national forest certification system must go through. It describes all the procedures for the endorsement and mutual recognition of new, reviewed, revised and/or amended systems.

Rules for endorsement of forest certification and chain of custody standards and systems guide the assessment and decision-making in the process. The rules harmonize the documentation of the system and applications, as well as the assessment processes, carried out by independent assessors and experts.

They also set the framework for the endorsement decision-making process, providing fairness and equity for all applicants.

The PEFC International Board approved the revised guide on 6 October 2017. The guide entered into force on 1 November 2017.

What changed in the last revision?

The PEFC endorsement of a national system no longer has an expiry date. Instead, it is linked to the national periodic review, which must be started within five years of the approval date of the national sustainable forest management standard.

Replacing the expiry date is a system that monitors the national systems’ five-year periodic review cycle and their continuous compliance with our requirements.

Through ‘endorsement milestones’ we set specific deadlines that national members have to meet in order to maintain the endorsement of their system. If a system does not meet a milestone, it risks an automatic suspension of the endorsement.

The first and most important milestone is the review date, five years after the national approval of the sustainable forest management standard. To maintain its PEFC endorsement, the periodic review of the national system must be started before this review date.

The second milestone is the timely submission of the revised standard to PEFC for assessment, at the latest two years after the review date. The assessment will confirm whether the national system continues to comply with the PEFC Sustainability Benchmarks.

Find out more about the PEFC endorsement process…

Revision timeline (completed)

  • 6 October 2017: PEFC International Board approved the revised guide
  • July 2017: WG achieved consensus on the final draft
  • June 2017: Conference call (fifth meeting)
  • April - May 2017: Member consultation
  • March 2017: Conference call (fourth meeting)
  • February 2017: Third WG meeting
  • October 2016: Second WG meeting
  • June 2016: First WG meeting
  • January – February 2016: Establishment of the Working Group

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