Certification for small companies
We are aware that obtaining PEFC chain of custody certification requires resources and effort. For companies with limited resources and capacity to implement a chain of custody system, this can be a barrier to certification. That is why we developed group certification - our practical solution to make chain of custody certification feasible for typically small* companies.
Group certification is a form of multi-site certification - the certificate holder is the group entity and the small companies are the group members. The group entity can be any legal entity that operates the group management system. Quite often consultants or trade associations with a broad network in the processing sectors take on the role of group entity.
The group members are independent of each other and can be from completely different sectors. It is, for example, possible that a group certificate includes sawmills, printers and furniture manufacturers. The only conditions are the size limitations for the individual group members and that they are located in the same country.
*a small company has no more than 50 (fte) employees and no more than 10 million EUR overall turnover.
For more information, please see appendix 2 of the 2020 Chain of Custody standard.
Benefits for your company
The group entity is the certification consultant for the group members. They are responsible for representing the group certificate in the certification process and performing the internal audits. They are also required to provide all the necessary information and guidance to the group members. As such, the group entity can help group members with the implementation of the chain of custody by assisting in writing procedures, manuals, handbooks, etc.
The certification body audit of the group certificate covers a sample of the group members. For example, the certification body may visit four sites out of a total of twelve. This reduces the overall cost of certification for a company compared to an individual certificate, as not every company is audited.
Sampling is possible because all group members are covered by the internal audit that the group entity performs annually. The group entity is always part of the external audit, and the certification body will check the quality and results of the internal audit in that process.
How to join a group certificate
When you want to obtain PEFC Chain of Custody certification through group certification, there is no need to contact a certification body directly. Simply contact a group manager and they will guide you through the entire process and perform an internal audit of your company. Over the last years, more and more group certificates are emerging globally, giving small companies access to the market. To find out if group certificates/group managers are active in your country, please contact the national member of your country.