Caring for our forests globally
National Sites

National Forest Certification Systems

A national forest certification system outlines the rules, procedures and management criteria for carrying out forest certification at national level, in line with our PEFC Sustainability Benchmarks. It also incorporates all operational aspects involved in managing a forest certification system.  

All PEFC endorsed national systems have been developed at national level, enabling them to be adapted to local conditions, consistent with national laws and regulations, and meet the expectations of stakeholders on the ground.

National systems include a range of national standards, such as the requirements for sustainable forest management, group certification, standard setting and many more.

For us, how these national standards are developed is as important as their final content. We therefore set out requirements for the national standard setting procedures and process, as well as performance and management requirements to be addressed within national forest management standards.

Discover how national systems are developed...

Why do we have national systems?

MTK imageAt PEFC we recognize that while the concept of sustainable forest management is global in nature, its implementation is local. This is why we work with local organizations to advance responsible forestry and endorse national forest certification systems.

Forests are highly diverse; as is their management, local traditions, cultural and spiritual expectations, average property sizes and support structures. It is this diversity that means one size does not fit all when it comes to forest certification.

Through the national systems, we can ensure that the sustainable forest management requirements of each country are tailored to the specific forest ecosystems, the legal and administrative framework, the socio-cultural context and other relevant factors.

This also ensures that all the relevant stakeholders are involved in the process; that they participate in determining what sustainable forest management means in the context of their country and how it can best be implemented locally.

This is key to the success of PEFC, as it empowers those managing forests – small- and private forest owners, communities and companies – to do so in compliance with the standards that they themselves helped develop.

Interested in developing a national system? See how we can help...

What does endorsement mean?

Once a country has developed their national forest certification system in line with our requirements, the system is submitted to us for endorsement. The system will then go through a rigorous assessment process before it can be endorsed.

Through this process, we can ensure that the country’s national standards meet our globally accepted PEFC Sustainability Benchmarks.

In practical terms, this means that wood- or forest-based products certified to a national forest certification system are considered PEFC-certified anywhere in the world, and are eligible to carry our PEFC label.

Find out more about the PEFC endorsement process...