Standards and Guides
From the requirements that companies must meet to achieve PEFC Chain of Custody certification, to the specific steps stakeholders must take as they develop their national forest certification system, our documents are vital to the functioning of our organization.
We distinguish between four different document types:
International standards are applied directly in the field. These include our standards for Chain of Custody, Trademarks and Certification Body Requirements for Chain of Custody, used by thousands of companies, certification bodies and accreditation bodies around the world.
National forest certification systems use our benchmark standards to develop their national standards. They are not used directly in the field, but set out the requirements that national standards and their development process must meet in order to achieve PEFC endorsement. Our Sustainable Forest Management standard is a benchmark standard.
Procedural documents govern the functioning of the PEFC system itself. This category includes the procedure for the assessment and endorsement of national standards. It also covers various administrative procedures for our national members and us, such as issuing PEFC trademark licences.
Guidance documents, as the name suggests, provide additional guidance for users of some of our other standards.
To access all our PEFC international standards and guides, please visit the resources section.
Some of the key documents at a glance
Sustainable Forest Management, PEFC ST 1003
This benchmark lays out the international requirements for sustainable forest management. Developed by a working group with representation of all relevant stakeholders, it describes the criteria and indicators we believe are vital for the sustainable management of a forest.
Every national forest management standard must address these requirements to achieve PEFC endorsement. On the ground, this benchmark is the basis for the requirements that forest owners or managers must meet to achieve PEFC certification at local level, making it one of our most important standards.
Group Forest Management Certification, PEFC ST 1002
This benchmark defines the general requirements for national forest certification systems with group forest management certification. Stakeholders use this benchmark when they develop their national group certification requirements. It covers aspects such as the minimum requirements for internal monitoring and auditing within a certified group – a vital process if group certification is to be effective.
Group certification enables the certification of a number of forest owners/managers under one certificate. Developed by us two decades ago, it allows groups of small-forest landholders to organize themselves, pool their resources, and work together to achieve certification. This makes certification accessible for small-forest owners.
Standard Setting, PEFC ST 1001
This benchmark outlines the processes and steps that must take place during the development, review and revision of national forest management standards. It covers the specific steps of the standard setting process and requirements for the composition of the working group responsible for developing the standard, as well as the process for reviewing and revising the standard.
This benchmark is important, as we believe the standards development process is just as important as the final content. Without this, we cannot be sure the process is open, transparent and consensus-driven, with balanced stakeholder representation.
Chain of Custody, PEFC ST 2002
This standard lays out the requirements for chain of custody certification for forest and tree based products – the conditions a company must meet in order to achieve PEFC certification. During the certification process, the certification body will assess the company against the requirements set out in this document. If the company complies, they will receive their PEFC chain of custody certificate.
PEFC chain of custody establishes the link from the forest to the market, tracking forest and tree based products from sustainable sources to the final product. In addition, this standard includes management requirements, including on health, safety and labour issues.
The revised 2020 version of this standard replaced the previous 2013 version on 14 February 2020. The transition date was 14 August 2022. As this date has passed, any companies still certified against the 2013 version must prepare their system according to the 2020 version, in preparation for certification against this version during their next PEFC external audit (surveillance or recertification). From 14 November 2023 no certificates against the previous version will be valid.
PEFC Trademarks Rules, PEFC ST 2001
The standard covers the requirements that entities must follow when using the PEFC trademarks, in order to ensure accurate, verifiable, relevant and non-misleading use of the PEFC logo and related claims. It defines the legal protection of the PEFC trademarks; rights to use them; trademarks usage categories and the requirements for on- and off-product usage.
The revised 2020 version of this standard replaced the previous 2008 version on 14 February 2020. For organizations with a PEFC logo licence issued before the publication of this latest document, a 24 month transition period applies. The transition date is 14 August 2022.
Requirements for Certification Bodies providing Chain of Custody Certification, PEFC ST 2003
This standard describes the requirements certification bodies must comply with in order to provide chain of custody certification, in addition to the accreditation requirements. It provides system specific requirements, and ensures that chain of custody audits take place consistently worldwide and are tailored to the specification of each PEFC chain of custody.
The revised 2020 version of this standard replaced the previous 2012 version on 14 February 2020. Certification bodies operating chain of custody certification against PEFC ST 2002 have until 14 August 2022 to transition to the latest standard.
Endorsement of National Systems, PEFC GD 1007
This procedural document describes the requirements for the endorsement and mutual recognition process of new, reviewed, revised and/or amended national forest certification systems. It covers the steps of the assessment process that every national system must go through in order to achieve PEFC endorsement. It also sets the framework for the endorsement decision-making process, providing fairness and equity for all applicants.