As reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), timber certification is a process which results in a written statement (a certificate) attesting to the origin of wood raw material and its status and/or qualifications, often following validation by an independent third party.
Certification is designed to allow participants to measure their forest management practices against standards and to demonstrate compliance with those standards. Timber certification may also be used to validate any type of environmental claim made by a producer, or to provide objectively stated facts about the timber products and their forest of origin that are not normally disclosed by the producer or manufacturer.
Timber certification typically includes two main components: certification of sustainability of forest management and product certification. Certification of forest management takes place in the country of origin; product certification covers the supply chain of domestic and export markets.
Two major international schemes have evolved to oversee and promote development of forest certification. These are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) based in Germany and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) based in Geneva. Certified softwoods, hardwoods and panel products are now readily available as standard from many UK and EU-based suppliers and usually these products do not attract a price premium.