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Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes

The PEFC Council (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999 which promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification. The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests.

PEFC is a global umbrella organisation for the assessment of and mutual recognition of national forest certification schemes developed in a multi-stakeholder process. These national schemes build upon the inter-governmental processes for the promotion of sustainable forest management, a series of on-going mechanisms supported by 149 governments in the world covering 85% of the world's forest area.

PEFC has in its membership 32 independent national forest certification systems of which 25 to date have been through a rigorous assessment process involving public consultation and the use of independent consultants to provide the assessments on which mutual recognition decisions are taken by the membership. These 25 schemes account for over 190 million hectares of certified forests producing millions of tonnes of certified timber to the market place making PEFC the world's largest certification scheme. The other national member’s schemes are at various stages of development and are working towards mutual recognition under the PEFC processes.


  • Benefits the biodiversity of nature and the environment.
  • Promotes the economically viable, environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial management of forests.
  • Provides independent certified proof of the sustainable management of forests.
  • Provides continuous supplies of wood products from millions of hectares of sustainably managed certified sources.


  • Develops national forest management certification standards and schemes, using multi-stakeholder processes for the protection of forests, which have been signed up to by 37 nations in Europe and other inter-governmental processes for sustainable forest management around the world.

  • Uses internationally recognised accreditation and certification processes to ensure independence of control, standard setting and delivery of sustainable forest management.
  • Is supported by independent certification systems on six continents and their stakeholders, including woodland owners, industry, environmental and social interests amongst others.


  • Regular independent certified controls from the tree in the forest to the final product reassure the customer that the wood-based products can be traced back to sustainably managed forests.


  • Facilitates active involvement of all forests and enterprises regardless of size. This includes family-owned forests and also small to medium sized forest enterprises as well as multinational corporations.
  • Accommodates and incorporates the global diversity of forest types, cultural heritage, ownership structures and management objectives.