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What Is the Difference Between FSC and PEFC?

What does it mean if a product is PEFC or FSC certified? These two key certification schemes are most widely used when explaining sustainable office paper: The programmes ensure that forest management and responsible harvesting take place and the paper that comes from the managed forests is fully traceable to its original place. Programme for […]

What does it mean if a product is PEFC or FSC certified?

These two key certification schemes are most widely used when explaining sustainable office paper:

The programmes ensure that forest management and responsible harvesting take place and the paper that comes from the managed forests is fully traceable to its original place.

  • Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™)
  • Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)

Why should we use certified products?

The purchasers of wood and paper products that prefer to select those that are sourced from sustainably managed forests are continuing to grow. There are opportunities for businesses to differentiate in the market, where the paper is seen as a commodity, certification can offer an important difference and a greater after selling point.

What is FSC?

The FSC is an international organization that combines people together to enable solutions of the world’s forests that promote responsible stewardship. This scheme is wider known and combines Forest Management with Chain of Custody certification.

Being FSC certified means that, the forest or the supply source of timber, is responsibly managed, that it complies with FSC environmental, economic, and social standards. This includes ensuring that the habitats of endangered animal and plant species are protected, the local communities are respected and ensures workers are paid properly.

When you see a product with the FSC logo on it means that the product supports the growth of responsible forest management. The logo is recognised worldwide and the FSC has information services, plus ongoing marketing programs that contribute to the mission of promoting worldwide responsible forestry.

The Controlled Wood Standard for the FSC defines controversial sources, which are not allowed in the production of certified products from mixed sources. The PEFC scheme does not do this. For example:

  • Harvested wood from none FSC-certified forests where high conservation values are at risk
  • Illegally sourced harvested wood
  • Harvested wood from forests where traditional or civil rights are violated

What is PEFC?

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international, non-governmental, non-profit organization that promotes sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification.

PEFC ensures that the wood products originating from each national scheme meet the correct standards and can, then, be internationally traded.

PEFC certification provides:

  • The supply chain from forest to end-use is fully auditable
  • An assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting sustainable forest management
  • PEFC Chain of Custody certification including its requirements on due diligence and non-controversial sources is there to prevent the product chain from illegal wood
  • PEFC allows access to its trademarked logo for communications

Summary

Both FSC and PEFC certifications ensure that timber used doesn’t come from protected forests to produce certified products. This includes ensuring that species are protected and not used for production or go towards deforestation, and there is no negative impact on the local communities.

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