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Forest certification

Forest certification is an independent verification procedure to check that forests are managed in a sustainable way. The objective is to establish credibility through verification of conformity to agreed standards or performance indicators.

Growing customer and stakeholder demands forwood, paper and building products that are sourced from forests that are responsibly managed, led to the development of a new instrument referred to as a "chain of custody" certification standard.

The concept was developed among stakeholders, and some recognised accreditation bodies were entrusted with the task to develop criteria ensuring that business actors have the systems and controls in place to meet their stated environmental objectives.

These schemes can accommodate the combination of recycled waste paper and certified wood fibre, to help meet the overall objective of producing environmentally responsible paper products.

This certification involves inspection and auditing of the land from which the timber and pulpwood originate and tracking it through all the steps of the production process until it reaches the end user.

>Half of EU's forests are already certified and that with more than 60% of European forests being family owned.

The paper industry's commitment to responsible sourcing is clear: 86% of forests owned by paper companies are already certified.

Of the various international forest certification initiatives the FSC and the PEFC are amongst the best known:

  • The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Based in Oaxaca in Mexico, this was the first to become established and it operates on a global basis. FSC's main role is to accredit and monitor the certifying companies that carry out the forest audits. Products emanating from an FSC certified forest are allowed to carry the FSC label.
  • The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). PEFC™ is a worldwide non-profit, non-governmental organization promoting Sustainable Forest Management. PEFC’s aim is to create a world in which people manage forests sustainably. By means of certification forest owners can show that they manage their forest sustainable according to the PEFC standard. From PEFC certified forest, certified wood can be harvested. Chain of Custody certification for processing companies is in place to trace PEFC certified products from the certified forests through the supply chain to the final product.
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