Ensuring national standards meet global expectations
As an umbrella organization, we endorse national forest certification systems. In other words, we give approval to national systems. To achieve endorsement, a national system goes through a rigorous assessment to confirm it was developed in line with our requirements and meets our demanding international benchmark standards.
As all systems must go through the same independent assessment process, we can ensure they not only meet global expectations, but that our international requirements are applied consistently at national level. We also require that all PEFC endorsed national systems are regularly reviewed to ensure they continue to meet expectations and the latest best practices.
When endorsed, the national system becomes part of the PEFC umbrella. Practically, this means that products from a forest certified to a PEFC endorsed system, can be sold as PEFC-certified anywhere in the world. You can easily identify these products through the PEFC label.
Assessing national systems
PEFC Registered Assessors are responsible for assessing whether national systems meet our requirements - PEFC does not carry out the assessment. Registered assessors are independent consultants with suitable qualifications and experience in the field of sustainable forest management. Their assessment forms an important professional and objective basis for the decision to approve and endorse a system.
The assessment includes a 60-day public consultation, enabling stakeholders globally to comment and provide feedback on any aspect of the system. We also organize a webinar to introduce the system and highlight the main aspects (or introduced changes in the case of revised systems).
The assessor evaluates the compliance of the national system with our international benchmark standards. They base the assessment on desk research, field trips, comments from the consultation and other available information.
A major part of the assessment is the verification that the national standard fully meets the requirements of our sustainable forest management benchmark (ST 1003) and that the standard development process followed our standard-setting requirements (ST 1001). In total, assessors verify the national system against over 200 checkpoints from our benchmarks.
The final result of the assessment is the assessor’s recommendation to the PEFC Board of Directors whether to endorse, or maintain the endorsement of, the system. The endorsement recommendation can include conditions for endorsement.
After a national system has successfully passed the assessment process, the PEFC General Assembly votes on its endorsement. A two-thirds majority is required for endorsement. We then make the system documentation, including the national forest management standard, and the assessment report available on our website.