Both the FSC and PEFC certifications identify those products containing wood that are from forests managed in a correct and responsible manner, thereby assuring the end consumer that the raw materials used in making the product meet the high standards required to safeguard the environmental, social and economic characteristics of the forests.
Specifically, the lumber used in the production of certified products may not be from:
forest areas in which traditional or civil rights are breached by forest management activities;
forests that are officially declared by governmental or environmental authorities as approaching the status of being strictly protected by law without an appropriate tree-felling permit issued by the same governmental or environmental authorities;
forest management areas with a high conservation value that are seriously threatened by management activities;
genetically modified plants;
natural forests where illegal felling takes place;
natural forests that have been converted into plantations or other non-forest forms.
The “forest management certification” means a recognised and tested verification procedure that will lead to the issue by an independent body of a certificate attesting that the woodland management methods used meet certain “sustainability” requirements.
FSC and PEFC certification both offer the possibility of making a real contribution to safeguarding world forests by providing a concrete guarantee that they will be safeguarded. Encouraged by consumers and companies with Chain of Custody certification, more and more forests are being certified, so we can be sure that more and more forests will not be subject to destruction but will in fact be managed correctly.
The FSC is an international, independent non-profit making NGO that includes members from environmental and social groups, aboriginal communities, forest owners, industries that work and market wood, scientists and technicians who are all working together to improve the management of forests all over the world.
The PEFC is a programme for the endorsement of national forest certification schemes. It is based on a wide-ranging agreement by the parties interested in the implementation of sustainable forest management at national and regional level: forest owners, end consumers, users and independent professionals.
The criteria and indicators proposed under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) are driven by the difficulties that have emerged in identifying a suitable tool for offering a satisfactory solution to the peculiar situations arising in Europe, as well as by the demand of private owners for a flexible tool that can respond to the need to apply ecologically appropriate management while also being aimed at the attainment of social benefits that are also economically worthwhile. The PEFC is, therefore, to be considered as an alternative to the existing certification systems, primarily that of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is regarded as not being fully suited to small-scale forest holdings.