Ensuring national standards meet global expectations
As an umbrella organization, we endorse national and regional forest certification systems. In other words, we give approval to these systems. To achieve endorsement, a system goes through a rigorous assessment to confirm it was developed in line with our requirements and meets our demanding international benchmark standards.
As all systems must go through the same independent assessment process, we can ensure they not only meet global expectations, but that our international requirements are applied consistently at national or regional level.
We also require that all PEFC endorsed national and regional systems are reviewed and revised regularly to ensure they continue to meet expectations and the latest best practices.
When endorsed, the system becomes part of the PEFC umbrella. Practically, this means that products from a forest certified to a PEFC endorsed system, can be sold as PEFC-certified anywhere in the world. You can easily identify these products through the PEFC label.
Assessing national and regional systems
The assessment process starts with the submission of system documentation by a national member for evaluation. A webinar is set up to introduce the system and highlight the main aspects or the standard setting process. The date of the webinar marks the start of the 60-day public consultation, enabling stakeholders globally to comment and provide feedback on any aspect of the system.
PEFC Registered Assessors are responsible for assessing whether a system meets our requirements - PEFC does not carry out the assessment. Registered assessors are independent consultants with suitable qualifications and experience in the fields of sustainable forest management and chain of custody. Their assessment forms an important professional and objective basis for the decision to approve and endorse a system.
A major part of the assessment is the verification that the national standard fully meets the requirements of our sustainable forest management benchmark (ST 1003) and that the standard development process followed our standard-setting requirements (ST 1001). In total, assessors verify the system against hundreds of checkpoints from our benchmarks.
The final report of the assessor on the system status and its consideration enables the PEFC Alliance to endorse (new system), maintain the endorsement, or conditionally endorse the system if non-conformities are to be resolved to complete the process.
The final result of the assessment is the assessor’s recommendation to the PEFC Board of Directors whether to endorse, or maintain the endorsement of, the system. The endorsement recommendation can include conditions for endorsement.
After a system has successfully passed the assessment process, the PEFC General Assembly votes on its endorsement. A two-thirds majority is required for endorsement. We then make the system documentation, including the national forest management standard, and the assessment report available on our website.