Group Certification Project
PEFC's Group Forest Certification is a mechanism through which groups of like-minded small forest owners and holders can pool their resources to achieve third-party verified sustainable forest management certification.
This system was developed in response to the unique tenure system that characterizes an important proportion of forest areas in developed and developing countries alike.
Globally, about 25% of forest area is managed locally by families, communities and indigenous peoples. Group Certification makes certification affordable for smallholders when individual certification may be too expensive, allowing them to spread the costs, share the administration and organizational procedures, and provide economies of scale. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, it allows smallholders to develop a better understanding of mutual interests and common needs, and share experiences and good practices.
Expanding Group Certification
PEFC's Expanding Group Certification Globally project seeks to promote certification in those areas where it is less widespread, but where the sustainable management of forests has taken on increasing urgency in light of efforts to combat climate change and alleviate poverty.
This is a multi-stakeholder project involving PEFC International and several partners. Many are members of the Three Rights Holders Group (G3 Alliance), a platform for collaboration among family forest owners, community forestry and tribal and indigenous peoples of the tropical forest, who cooperate to promote locally controlled forestry and sustainable forest management.
The initial phase of this project
- described the different Group Certification models established in various European countries;
- documented the experiences and lessons learned from sustainable forest management and certification;
- identified key elements necessary to enable and promote Group Certification among small forest owners; and
- developed an analytical framework based on these findings to move the project to the next level.
Now the project is moving to the next phase: sharing experiences and promoting cooperation among small forest holders internationally by
- transferring technology and knowledge, and
- helping to build capacity among small forest owners in other regions of the world.