The Basics of Forest Certification

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Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is among the most renowned forest certification systems in the world. Other forest certification includes the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and in Malaysia, the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS)

Forest certification contributes to three United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals: Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8); Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12); and Life on Land (Goal 15).

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its Forest Certification Module, forest certification is a “third-party voluntary, market-based mechanism (that aims) to promote the sustainable use of forest resources.”

Notes the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), forest certification is also “a mechanism for forest monitoring, tracing and labelling timber, wood and pulp products and non-timber forest products.”

It involves a process in which an independent “certifier” evaluates the quality of forest management and production based on a set of “standards” agreed in advance by a public or private certification organisation.

FAO outlines two types of forest certification: forest management certification and chain-of-custody certification. In order to label an end-product as forest-certified, both types of certification are required.

Credible forest certification addresses beyond the technical aspects of forest management.

It must be transparent and inclusive in ensuring sustainable forest management by taking into account the economic, social and environmental impact, from the wellbeing of workers and local communities to the forest area subject to certification.

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