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PEFC First Global Forest Certification System to Consider Social Requirements for Chain of Custody Certification

May 20 2010

Coc-medPEFC International invites all stakeholders to comment on the draft social, health and safety requirements for Chain of Custody certification by 23 July 2010.

"Social issues have long been an integral part of forest certification, which verifies that forest management satisfies the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development," said Ben Gunneberg, PEFC Secretary General. "Yet Chain of Custody certification has so far been limited to tracking certified material through the production process, from the forest to the consumer."

The proposal to expand the scope of Chain of Custody certification and include social, health and safety requirements is one of the outcomes of the 2009 global public consultation on the enquiry draft of the revised Chain of Custody standard.

The requirements would oblige PEFC-certified organizations to demonstrate that they:

a) ensure workers' freedom of associations and rights for collective bargaining
b) prohibit the use of forced labour covering the organization
c) ensure minimum age for workers
d) ensure equal employment that covers recruitment, promotion, division of work and dismissal, and
e) ensure occupational health and safety, including its documentation and reporting.

Stakeholders globally are invited to provide comments and feedback on the draft requirements. If the requirements are approved following this consultation and the integration of the input received, PEFC would become the first global system to demand compliance with key requirements of the fundamental ILO conventions along the whole supply chain

"PEFC was the first and is still the only global forest certification system where compliance with all the fundamental ILO conventions is mandatory in sustainable forest management everywhere, even in the certification standards of countries that have not ratified them," emphasized Mr. Gunneberg. "Adding the social dimension to chain to custody certification would certainly be a historic step for the forest certification movement."

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