The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification ( PEFC™ ) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification. PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. PEFC works by endorsing national forest certification systems developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions.

Forest management requirements for PEFC certification

To meet PEFC certification requirements forest management must satisfy certain standards with regard to biodiversity, forest health and maintenance as well as recreational use. In addition, there are requirements for following the passage of raw materials and wood-based products throughout the whole supply chain. These guarantee that raw materials are from certified forests.

Approval for certification requires audit by an independent and qualified certifier to ensure that forest management, wood raw material sources and follow-up meet PEFC standards. Independent in this case means that the auditing body is independent of the production process, of the certification system and its supporters.

PEFC is the leading forest certification system in Finland

Approximately 95% of Finnish production forests are certified under the Finnish PEFC system. Of all the forest certification systems, PEFC is the best adapted to the Finnish forestry environment, based on family ownership; in addition to individual forest owner certification PEFC also offers group certification, keeping costs reasonable even when the participating forests are small scale. Larger areas of forest owned by more than The owner mean that the group certification actions for environmental protection, for example, can be concentrated where they are most efficient.

The Finnish PEFC system is maintained and developed by PEFC Finland – Finnish Forest Certification Council

PEFC indicates good forest management

The concept ”well-managed forest” means that the forest is managed conforming to the principles of sustainable development. According to the established understanding, this means that forest management is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable and does not permanently diminish the opportunities for life of future generations. This meets the definition of sustainable development agreed at the 1992 UN environment conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Regarding forest management

  • ecological sustainability means the preservation of typical forest habitats and nature types and ensuring species survival
  • social sustainability means ensuring that terms of contract and health care for people working in forestry are ensured; that cultural values, opportunities for recreational use of forests, brief camping, as well as berry picking and mushrooming are all preserved
  • economic sustainability means that the processes involved are economically viable for all the participants in the production chain.
  • The international forest management requirements of PEFC indicate those factors which demand consideration in certified forests. The criteria for forest certification dealing with concrete details of forest management are established at the national level.The Finnish criteria cover for example forest management planning and implementation, employee rights, forest owner education and advice, and improving forest knowledge among the young. Some of the demands affect owner activities in the forests; others affect the activities of forestry companies and other organisations working in the area.Special stress in the requirements for certification is laid on the protection of biotopes important in the preservation of forest and water biodiversity, the management of young forests, and promoting co-operation between the nature-based economy and the forestry sector. Observation of the laws concerning forests is the basis for meeting the criteria for forest certification.

Whether for an individual or group certificate – is approved for certification when the certifying body has been satisfied that the forest management fulfils the criteria set for certification. For the forest owner, application for forest certification and participation in group certification is voluntary.

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