A recent study by NEPCon has shown that the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) system cannot guarantee that “controversial wood” is excluded from PEFC-certified products, as per requirement of the Forestry Stewardship Council’s (FSC) Controlled Wood (CW) standard (FSC-STD-40-005).
PEFC, the world's largest forest certification system, is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification. The FSC, established in 1993, is another body dedicated to the promotion of sustainable forest management via independent certification and labeling of forest products.
Both global forestry certification schemes allow mixing of non-certified wood or fibre into certified products carrying a ‘mixed sources’ claim. However, in order to maintain credibility of the eco-labels, it is vital that the schemes provide basic assurance that the certified products exclude wood from unacceptable or controversial sources.
FSC commissioned NEPCon to carry out this study which “analysed and assessed the PEFC Forest Management standards, the PEFC Chain of Custody requirements and the PEFC assurance system against the FSC Controlled Wood requirements and FSC assurance system.”
The overall conclusion is that despite many similarities between the two systems, PEFC certified products do not currently present sufficient assurance for fulfilment of the FSC Controlled Wood requirements.
According to an FSC news release, “in particular, only three out of 18 national PEFC forest management standards fulfill the requirements of FSC’s CW standard, with most of them having weaker provisions concerning traditional and/or civil rights and forest conversion. Further, PEFC’s chain of custody and overall system assurance make it impossible for FSC to recognise even wood certified under those 3 standards that do offer sufficient assurance with regards to FSC CW.”
For detailed information, go to http://www.fsc.org/technical-updates.325.59.htm