UK Government confirms PEFC as a source of legal and sustainable timber
The results of the 2010 CPET (Central Point of Expertise on Timber) Review, published on 21st January, concluded that both PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) continue to deliver evidence of sustainability in compliance with the UK Government’s timber policy.
Compliance with the UK government's timber procurement policy is mainly demonstrated by certification under either the PEFC or FSC schemes. CPET assesses timber certification schemes every two years. The Review found that both schemes have made improvements since the last assessment in 2008, passing the new social criteria and ensuring that ‘conversion’ and ‘national implementation’ criteria were met.
PEFC UK’s Chairman Peter Latham commented: “We are delighted to learn that once again the Government has judged PEFC to meet its sustainable timber procurement criteria. We believe that CPET provides UK companies with a strong incentive to commit to responsible sourcing of wood-based products by undergoing Chain of Custody certification.”
PEFC continues to work hard to make its standards more rigorous. At its General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro last November, a revision process which had lasted two years was concluded when PEFC Members approved a new forest management standard. Representatives from forest owners, environmental groups, trade unions, indigenous people, industry and the scientific community had participated in the lengthy revision process.
The revised Standard remains firmly rooted in globally recognised, intergovernmental, multi-stakeholder processes and guidelines, with additional and modified requirements developed in response to changing stakeholder expectations.
In addition to improvements to its forest management standards, changes to PEFC’s international Chain of Custody Standard means that PEFC is the first global certification system to require compliance with social criteria. These social requirements aim to provide an additional layer of confidence to consumers and buyers – that workers’ rights in companies along the supply chain have been respected. PEFC’s Secretary General commented: “We at PEFC recognise that the largest source of wealth for most rural timber-dependent communities and families come in the form of wages and that the rights of workers to safe and decent working conditions are critical if rural communities are to thrive”.
Since PEFC’s initial rating as legal and sustainable by the UK Government in August 2005, the certified forest area continues to expand and currently stands at 230 million hectares. Global demand for PEFC certified products is also on the rise. To date, more than 8,000 companies in 50 countries have achieved Chain of Custody certification and are supplying tens of thousands of certified products around the world.