The use of certification is one of two mechanisms that a company can use to manage their responsible sourcing, the other is supply chain due diligence. Many companies will use the two in combination to ensure higher standard of responsible sourcing and transparency.
The two predominate timber and wood products certification are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
What’s the difference between FSC and PEFC?
Both PEFC and FSC are committed to achieving the same objectives – the certification of forests to credible, independently verified standards of responsible forest management.
The primary difference between FSC and PEFC lies in their origins.
The FSC scheme was established in the early 1990s – principally with the support of environmental organisations as well as UK companies and developed for tropical environments where large forest concessions are the rule.
However, the FSC scheme could not accommodate ‘group certification’, and this led to the introduction of PEFC in the late 1990s to facilitate the spread of timber certification in in Europe and North America where large numbers of individuals own small areas of forest.
The existence of two competing international certification schemes has resulted in continuous improvement and both PEFC and FSC have significantly modified their schemes over the past ten years.
Just as PEFC is now competent to deal with tropical forestry and plantation regimes, FSC has developed a group certification process to accommodate small-scale landowners.
Nowadays, the two certification schemes operate a chain of custody process that traces material through the supply chain from the forest to the end-user. This makes the schemes a useful tool for removing risk from the supply chain.
Both schemes are fully compliant with national procurement policies, such as CPET in the UK, and assist in meeting programmes with global objectives such as the EU Timber Regulation.