Caring for our forests globally
National Sites

International Endorsement

As an umbrella organization, we endorse national forest certification systems.

The sun shines deep into the forest by Sami RahkonenTo achieve endorsement, a national system goes through a rigorous assessment to confirm it was developed in line with our requirements.

Through this process, we can ensure that the country’s national standards meet our globally accepted PEFC Sustainability Benchmarks.

The endorsement process also ensures the consistent application of our requirements at national level, as all systems must go through the same independent assessment process.

In practical terms, this means that wood- or forest-based products certified to a national forest certification system are considered PEFC-certified anywhere in the world, and are eligible to carry our PEFC label.

The endorsement process

The endorsement process takes on average nine months to complete, and includes the following elements:


A national certification system applies for assessment. An independent PEFC Registered Assessor is appointed, and PEFC announces the start of the assessment process.

All system documentation is made publicly available. Global stakeholders are invited to comment and provide feedback on any aspect of the system as part of a 60 day public consultation. We organize a webinar to introduce the system and highlight the main aspects (or introduced changes in the case of revised systems).

The appointed assessor evaluates the compliance of the national system with the PEFC Sustainability Benchmarks. The assessment is based on all comments received, field trips and other available information.


general assembly voting 2016After a new national system has successfully passed the assessment process, the PEFC General Assembly votes on its endorsement. A two-thirds majority is required for a system to be endorsed.

We then make the full system documentation and the assessment report publicly available on our website.

Ensuring national systems continue to meet requirements

Endorsement milestones

For a national system to maintain its endorsement, it must meet a series of endorsement milestones. These milestones are linked to the periodic review of the system and the sustainable forest management standard, done at national level.

The first endorsement milestone is the timely start of the periodic review and/or revision of the national system, within five years of the previous national approval.

From this ‘review date’ the national revision process must be done within two years (second milestone) and the system needs to have successfully passed the assessment within three years (third milestone).

With the milestones, we are constantly monitoring the endorsed national systems, ensuring they respect their national periodic review processes.

National systems that miss the milestones risk suspension of their endorsement.

Periodic review

National systems go through a periodic review five years after their national approval (first endorsement milestone). The periodic review includes a gap analysis, public consultation and consideration of feedback received while the standard is in force.

The periodic review ensures the national systems are consistently updated to meet national and international expectations.

A periodic review can have two outcomes:

  • The standard is reaffirmed, i.e. the current version is approved with no changes.
  • The standard is revised.

Assessing revised and reaffirmed national systems

Revised systems

Once the system has been revised, it is submitted for assessment. However, unlike with a new system, this assessment can be limited to an assessment of the changes. This approach relies on the previous assessment results and reduces time and cost in the process.

For the parts of the system that were not changed, a comparison will be carried out against the previously endorsed system to confirm the absence of any non-reported changes.

Reaffirmed systems

This assessment focuses on the review process, to ensure that the decision to reaffirm the system is justified and has the support of the relevant stakeholders

An important element is the comparison of the reaffirmed system documents with the previously endorsed system. This comparison ensures that no changes were made and identifies any changes that were not reported.

PEFC Documentation

GD1007-2012Endorsement and Mutual Recognition of National Systems and their Revision (PEFC GD 1007:2017)
Describes the requirements for the endorsement and mutual recognition process of new, reviewed, revised and/or amended national systems.

PEFC Certified

Forests area: 309 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): > 20,000

(as of December 2018)

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We run a number of projects aimed at helping stakeholders develop their national systems:


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ghana project

Macedonia 2-sm

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Mediterranean Basin

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