Preserving forests is not only right but a wise choice for the future of the entire earth's ecosystem. For this reason, non-governmental organizations have created internationally recognized sustainable forest management certification systems, such as FSC® and PEFC. In this article we will get to learn more about them, discovering the main differences between these two important labels.
Forests play a vital role in environmental, social and economic well-being. Among their many benefits, forests reduce the effects caused by climate change and natural disasters and represent the most biologically diversified ecosystems on Earth. Forests also provide food and renewable raw materials that are the source of many of our products and livelihoods. To preserve them, since the early 1990s of last century, certification schemes have been conceived to certify the sustainability of the entire wood supply chain, thus contrasting illegal logging and deforestation, which is a scourge in vast areas of the planet where poverty, lack of education and undemocratic governments can create dangerous combinations. Choosing wood and paper products made from raw materials derived from sustainably managed forests means choosing ecological and renewable solutions, more specifically, it means choosing the future. In this article, we will focus on the two most internationally recognized forest certification standards, FSC® and PEFC and the major differences between them.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-governmental organization promoting the responsible management of the world's forests. Since its foundation in 1994, the FSC® has grown to become a widely recognized and respected forest certification system in the world. The FSC® certification system, which today covers more than 195 million hectares of forest, allows companies and consumers to choose wood, paper and other forest products made from materials that support responsible forestry. FSC® has two certification standards: one is aimed at those involved in forest management (companies, consortia, public bodies) and is designed to ensure that forests are managed by strict environmental, social and economic standards. The second scheme (CoC) is based on the principle of tracking materials from certified forests and is aimed at companies that process wood-derived products.
PEFC is also a non-profit association dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management, based on the mutual recognition of national sustainable forest management standards. This non-governmental organization has developed a forest certification, which is based on compliance with the criteria and indicators defined at the Ministerial Conferences for the Protection of Forests in Europe (Helsinki 1993, Lisbon 1998). The PEFC scheme certifies the entire wood supply chain:
Although both are committed to the same cause, FSC® and PEFC have some differences. The main difference between FSC® and PEFC is that FSC® ensures that the raw materials come wholly or partially from controlled forest management, whereas PEFC guarantees the eco-sustainability of the product through the traceability of the production process. In terms of certification, the FSC® is a second-party certification: the organization issues the certificates; PEFC is a third-party certification, i.e., they use certified institutions. Another important difference relates to the approach. FSC® has developed its standards, the same in all countries, which forest owners must satisfy if they want to obtain this certification. Otherwise, PEFC uses a bottom-up approach, i.e., a forum, made up of organizations of concern in each country, formulates its standards. In terms of socioeconomic sustainability, FSC® highly considers the problems of the locals (indigenous peoples) and promotes dialogue with local stakeholders, while PEFC is committed to the environmental and safety training of forestry workers. At last, FSC® is the only forest certification scheme endorsed by the major environment charities while PEFC is the world’s largest forest and wood product certification system with certification systems recognized in 51 countries.
Despite the differences, both certifications add value to products and solutions. This is the reason why PPM has been focused on the achievement of both certifications in these last few years. We have recently acquired the PEFC certification which demonstrates PPM’s commitment to reducing environmental impact, protecting forests and promoting sustainable forestry practices. This additional certification assures customers that our products are made from responsibly sourced materials, making them the right choice for sustainability-conscious consumers.
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