Forest certification is widely seen as the most important initiative of the last decade to promote better forest management.Backed by both Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the private sector, it has led to greater recognition of the importance of environmentally and socially sound wood products and has engaged producers, consumers and retailers in a positive effort to help clean up the timber industry.
The only forest certification scheme currently operating at a global level is that of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), created in 1993. In recent years, several regional forest certification schemes have been set up.With all these schemes active in the same market, it is important that the significant differences between these schemes are understood and publicly known. Using the information presented here, forest-based-industries, governments, retailers, environmental and social NGOs, and forest owners can judge the validity of different certification schemes with a sound knowledge of their strengths and flaws.
The focus of this report is on the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Canadian Standards Association’s Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CSA), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Pan European Forest Certification Scheme (PEFC).