PEFC and FSC® Certifications for Wood

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Certain certifications exist to highlight companies that are committed to sustainable forest management and the production and distribution of wood. In this article, we’ll explore two: PEFC and FSC®.

Many companies may claim to be committed to sustainability or use sustainable practices in their manufacturing, but it can be hard to determine who is telling the truth and what exactly those practices are. However, thanks to certifications like the PEFC and FSC®, we can clearly see which companies meet the sector’s highest sustainability standards.

What Are Sustainability Certifications? 

Sustainability certifications are the standards that companies and manufacturers must meet if they want to define their wood as sustainable. These certifications seek to ensure that the negative effects of wood usage are minimized and the environment, water, and species that surround the trees are protected. 

Why Should We Care About Wood Sustainability? 

Wood is one of the most popular choices for a wide variety of construction projects and the careless use of it can lead to many environmental problems. 30% of land is located within a forested area and forests are essential for the well-being of the habitats and ecological systems of both humans and animals. 

The improper management of forests can lead to the following problems (among others):

  • Unsafe drinking water
  • Soil erosion
  • Loss of animal life
  • Increased global warming
  • Community displacement 

Luckily, a number of organizations have developed standards that must be met in order to qualify as sustainable; these standards were drafted with the best interest of the environment in mind. Two of these are the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certifications.

PEFC

This international non-profit organization works through the entire supply chain to guarantee sustainability from beginning to end, focusing on ecological, social, and ethical standards and accounts for over 264 million hectares of certified forests in more than 30 countries across the world. This organization recognizes the difficulty of providing one standard across the globe, so they work with national and local representatives to develop a strategy that properly reflects the reality of that nation. 

Holders of the PEFC certificate are assessed annually by independent groups to ensure that sustainable practices are still being met. Here are a few of the documents that make up the certification process:

  • Sustainable Forest Management: the standards for sustainable forest management as agreed upon by the organization. 
  • Group Forest Management Certification: the standards for certification groups at a national level within their specific country.
  • Standard Setting: the specific standards that companies must meet if they wish to receive the PEFC certification, including reviewing standards.
  • Chain of Custody: the standards of not just forest management, but the sustainable management of wood throughout the entire supply chain

FSC®

The FSC® boasts 25 years of experience sustainably managing forests across the world and is constantly revising and improving their standards to reflect an increasingly sustainable sector. They are present in more than 80 countries and represent 7% of the world’s forests, which is around 180 million hectares. There are ten principles that guide the FSC®’s standards:

  1. Compliance with Laws
  2. Workers’ Rights and Employment Conditions
  3. Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
  4. Community Relations 
  5. Benefits from the Forest
  6. Environmental Values and Impacts
  7. Management Planning
  8. Monitoring and Assessment
  9. High Conservation Values
  10. Implementation of Management Activities

To be considered for a FSC® certificate, the ten principles must be met, in addition to other criteria that the organization deems relevant. Similarly to PEFC, the FSC®provides international standards that are adjusted to match the needs and realities of individual nations. 

At Garnica, we are proud to have both the PEFC and FSC® certifications, showcasing our true dedication to sustainability. If you are interested in joining our commitment to sustainability and choosing wood that gives back to the environment, contact us today

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