Caring for our forests globally
National Sites

What Makes PEFC Unique?

uniqueAs the world's largest forest certification system, PEFC remains the certification system of choice for small, non-industrial private forests, with hundreds of thousands of family forest owners certified to comply with our internationally recognized Sustainability Benchmark.

To date, more than 19,800 companies have obtained PEFC Chain of Custody certification, offering tens of thousands of PEFC-certified products globally.

With alternative forest certification systems available, there are good reasons why so many people are opting for PEFC, which remains the only entirely not-for-profit global certification system.

PEFC is the only global certification system that:

Upholds Highest Standards without Exception

  • Requires compliance with all fundamental ILO Conventions in forest management since 2001, setting new benchmarks for social issues
  • Is tailored to the specific needs of family– and community-owned forests, with lasting contributions to livelihoods and rural development
  • Offers well-established processes for group certification, providing access to certification and the marketplace for certified products from locally controlled forestry
  • Sets the highest standards for forest certification aligned with the majority of the world’s governments, including
    • Maintaining or enhancing biodiversity
    • Protecting ecologically important forest area
    • Prohibition of forest conversions; exclusion of certification of plantations established by conversions
    • Prohibition of the most hazardous chemicals and GMOs
    • Protecting workers’ rights and welfare, and encouraging local employment
    • Recognizing the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples
    • Respect for property and land tenure rights as well as customary and traditional rights
    • Provisions for consultation with local people and stakeholders
    • Abiding by applicable laws
    • Safeguarding the basic rights of workers
  • Requires companies to demonstrate compliance with social, health and safety requirements in Chain of Custody certification.

Level of Stakeholder  Engagement Equally High for All Standards

  • Strictly separates standard-setting, certification and accreditation to ensure complete independence and impartiality
  • Requires all national standards to be independently developed with the open participation of all interested parties
  • Recognizes the importance of the nine major groups as defined by Agenda 21 (CSD Major Groups)
  • Requires that all standards undergo public consultation at national and international level and third-party assessment
  • Demands and implements regular revisions of national certification systems.

Builds on Intergovernmental Agreements & Globally Recognized  Processes

  • Builds its understanding of sustainable forest management on broad societal consensus expressed in international and intergovernmental processes
  • Supports the implementation of governmental agreements through a voluntary, market-based mechanism
  • Follows globally accepted ISO Guidelines for certification and accreditation.