How to get PEFC forest certification

Discover the steps you need to take in order to achieve PEFC sustainable forest management certification of your forest.

How to get PEFC forest certification

PEFC sustainable forest management certification is available in countries with PEFC-endorsed national certification systems. This is because each system is tailored to the context of each country, enabling you to certify your forest to a standard developed with your situation in mind, while still meeting international requirements.

More than 40 countries worldwide, including the majority of timber producing countries, have PEFC-endorsed national systems, with many more currently under development. To find out if there is one in your country, search for your country.

If you are a small-forest owner, group certification may be the better option for you. Group certification is our alternative approach to individual certification. It allows multiple forest owners to become certified as a group, sharing the financial costs arising from obtaining certification and ensuring compliance with specific requirements at group level.

The certification process: an overview

As the process for obtaining PEFC certification can differ depending on the country, we recommend you visit your national PEFC website for more detailed instructions.

Get prepared

First, you need to become familiar with the certification options and requirements available in your country. You can find this information on your national PEFC website. 

Next, ensure that your management practices meet the national sustainable forest management requirements of your country.

Find a certification body

Once you are ready, find a PEFC-recognized certification body in your country and get in contact with them. You will need to make a formal application for sustainable forest management certification with the certification body of your choice. 

Based on this application, you will receive a proposal, including a cost estimate. Certification bodies set the cost of PEFC sustainable forest management certification, so prices may vary by country and certification body.

Your audit

Arrange for the certification body to assess your forest management practices against the national sustainable forest management standard, checking that you have fulfilled all requirements. You will need to provide the certification body with all relevant documentation, as requested.

Auditors will carry out a field visit; this will include visits to selected sites in the forest, further documentation reviews and interviews with relevant staff.

Resolve, if necessary, any non-compliance issues: the certification body will not issue the certificate if these have not been resolved. 

Get your PEFC certificate

If the certification body finds your management practices comply with the certification requirements, they will issue you a PEFC certificate. 

The certificate is usually valid for a period of five years. You will be required to submit your forests to an annual surveillance audit to ensure that your operations continue to comply with requirements.

In order to renew your certification upon expiry of the certification certificate, you will be required to undergo a re-certification audit.

For more information

If you are in a country with a PEFC-endorsed national certification system, please contact your local representative directly. Our national members will provide you with country-specific information and tailored support.

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