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PEFC Standards Revision

Group Forest Management Certification

What's the standard about?

This standard defines the general requirements for forest certification systems with group forest management certification that allows the certification of a number of forest owners/managers under one certificate.

Group Certification is a mechanism through which groups of small forest landholders can organize themselves, pool their resources, and work together to achieve certification. This makes certification accessible for small-forest owners.

The PEFC General Assembly approved the revised standard on 14 November 2018.

WG2 Sep 2017

What has changed?

Group certification works through a combination of internal and external auditing. As not every smallholder is audited, costs are substantially lower, helping make certification accessible. However, this means that internal auditing must work flawlessly.

The revised benchmark provides an innovative framework for internal monitoring and auditing in certified groups with a chapter on ‘performance evaluation’. This includes improved requirements for internal auditing, such as risk based sampling groups and minimum sample size, as well as strengthening the management system of the group itself.

By strengthening the internal auditing process, we can be even more assured that all forest owners within a group are managing their forests in line with the requirements and small-forest owners can continue to benefit from affordable certification.

Who revised the standard?

Working Group 2 was responsible for the revision of this standard. WG 2 built consensus on the revised standard, relying on the involvement of active and committed individuals from different interest groups.

wg2 june1

To ensure that no single concerned interest can dominate the process, the WG has balanced representation of interested stakeholders, including geographical representation, and a consensus-driven decision making process.

In addition to revising the Group Certification Standard, WG 2 is also responsible for revising the requirements for certification bodies conducting PEFC Forest Management certification audits.

Revision timeline (completed)

  • January – February 2016: Establishment of the Working Group
  • May 2016: First WG meeting
  • October 2016: Second WG meeting
  • March 2017: Third WG meeting
  • September 2017: Fourth WG meeting
  • December 2017 - February 2018: Public consultation
  • March 2018: Fifth WG meeting
  • September 2018: Conference call - WG achieved consensus on the final draft
  • October 2018: Approval by the PEFC Board
  • 14 November 2018: PEFC General Assembly approved the revised standard



There are several ways to get involved in the Standards Revision process:

Working Groups
The most powerful institution in the process: members are responsible for the core of the revision work.

Public Consultations
Provide input into the enquiry drafts through our public consultations.

Revision Newsletter
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PEFC Annual Review

annual review 2017

PEFC Annual Review 2017

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