Small-forest owners at the heart of PEFC

Small-forest owners are important. They are the reason we were created. But how do we ensure that they can access certification?

Small-forest owners at the heart of PEFC

23 July 2019 20th anniversary

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we have spoken a lot about the importance of small-forest owners. They are the reason we were created. But how do we ensure that they can access certification?

The answer is group certification. Group certification enables small-forest landowners to group together and organize themselves, pool their resources and work as a team to achieve certification. This makes PEFC certification affordable and practical for smallholders.

Around one million small-forest owners have achieved PEFC certification through group certification, and the number continues to grow. This is a testimony to the fact that forest certification is possible for small landholders, and that it is a powerful and cost-effective way of promoting forest conservation and sustainable management.

See how group certification works….

But developing the group certification mechanism is just the starting point

Through our Collaboration Fund and other PEFC initiatives, we continue to invest in projects and activities that support smallholder certification through engagement, innovation and capacity building. From South Africa and Portugal, to New Zealand and Nepal, our projects cross the globe. See all our smallholder projects…

We are also developing tools, such as certification for Trees outside Forests. This enables smallholders growing trees outside of forests, such as on agricultural land or within settlements, to achieve certification and take advantage of the benefits it brings.

It is vital that smallholders are able to gain PEFC certification for their sustainable practices. However, with 25% of forests owned by families and communities, it is important for the world too. In fact, in many of the countries striving to establish or expand certified forest area, small landholdings represent a significant share of the forest resource.

Smallholders at our heart, forever

In the 20 years since we were created, we have continually strengthened our approach. An approach that has been adopted by increasing numbers of stakeholders, making PEFC today the world's largest forest certification system. 

But while we continue to grow, we have never forgotten our roots. We are, and will always be, the certification system of choice for small forest owners.

20 years of caring

From July to June, there will be many opportunities to get involved in our celebrations. 

Later this year, we will launch our #myPEFCmoment campaign, and everybody can take part. Just take a picture of the PEFC label on a product, share it online with the hashtag #myPEFCmoment and win fantastic prizes!

The hashtag #20yearsofcaring provides a collection of activities of PEFC members and stakeholders around the world.


Discover how we're working to align with the EUDR and bring our PEFC EUDR solution to the market.

Conflict Timber

See PEFC's guidance following the announcement that all timber originating from Russia and Belarus is ‘conflict timber’.

PEFC contact

Thorsten Arndt

Head of Advocacy

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