The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification. PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Thanks to its eco-label, customers and consumers are able to identify products from sustainably managed forests. PEFC certification is also favoured by numerous public and private timber procurement policies worldwide.
PEFC is the world's largest forest certification system. Our credible standards seek to transform the way forests are managed globally – and locally - to ensure that all of us can enjoy the environmental, social and economic benefits that forests offer.
PEFC is an umbrella organization. It works by endorsing national forest certification systems developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions.
With 38 endorsed national certification systems and more than 300 million hectares of certified forests, PEFC is the world's largest forest certification system.
Each national forest certification system undergoes rigorous third-party assessment against PEFC's unique Sustainability Benchmarks to ensure consistency with international requirements.
These Benchmarks have been developed based on internationally-recognized, ongoing and long term, intergovernmental processes and guidelines for the promotion of SFM to ensure compliance with globally agreed requirements.
The Benchmark criteria are regularly revised through multi-stakeholder processes involving participants drawn globally from civil society, business, governments, labour and research institutions to take account of new scientific knowledge, societal change, evolving expectations and to incorporate latest best practice.
Today, PEFC includes 43 national members among its membership, which is also open to international stakeholders such as civil society organizations, businesses, government entities and intergovernmental bodies.
PEFC is the certification system of choice for small forest owners including family- and community-owned forests.
Some 25% of the world's forests are managed by 2 billion families and community members, with 40% of forests in the North owned by 30 million families and 25% of forests in the South owned or managed by communities.
Through innovative mechanisms for group and regional certification, PEFC supports small land owners to gain recognition in the market place thereby making a lasting contribution to livelihoods and rural development.
To date, several hundred-thousand family- and community-owned forests have acquired PEFC certification.
Forest certification arose in response to concerns about the preservation of the world's forests. It developed as a result of the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio, which defined 'sustainable development' as a common goal of human development.
PEFC was founded in 1999 in response to the specific requirements of small- and family forest owners as an international umbrella organization providing independent assessment, endorsement and recognition of national forest certification systems.
PEFC responded to the need for a mechanism enabling the independent development of national standards tailored to the political, economic, social, environmental and cultural realities of the respective countries, while at the same time ensuring compliance with internationally-accepted requirements and global recognition.
After the successful endorsement of certification systems in Europe, Australia and Chile became the first non-European national standards to be endorsed by PEFC in 2004. PEFC’s certification criteria are based on globally recognized principles, guidelines and criteria developed by international and intergovernmental bodies with broad consensus from interested stakeholders.
Today, PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system and the certification system of choice for small forest owners.