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Both are quality marks and the two have many similarities, but they also have a few differences. FSC® was established in 1993, following an initiative by environmental organisations from 25 countries, specifying agreements on sustainable forest management. The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC®, was founded two years later. In its early years, this non-profit organisation, mostly aimed at tropical forestry, was not accessible to everyone. Small European foresters did not belong to the Council’s target group, but also wanted a certificate to demonstrate that they engaged in sustainable forest management. FSC® certification was also too expensive for these smaller parties. For these reasons, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, or PEFC™, was introduced. Today, PEFC™ provides certification for wood originating from large and small forests.
Both PEFC™ and FSC® have inspections carried out by accredited, independent companies, which must first be approved by PEFC™ or FSC®. SKH, Control-Union and SGS are a few examples of these companies. To be certified, WEBO must be able to prove that it makes a distinction between different wood flows, which is done by means of CoC certification. [Linkable – see text CoC certification]
The main difference between PEFC™ and FSC® is the way in which they carry out the certification process. PEFC™ depends primarily on underlying inspection companies. Forest can be considered PEFC™-certified by examining local inspections and assessing whether these local inspections meet PEFC™ requirements. The PEFC™ works together with SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) and SCA (Svenska Cellulosa AB, or Swedish Cellulose Company). In the literature, this is also called ‘bottom-up’ certification.
FSC® has a ‘top-down’ approach to the market, where a separate policy is determined for each individual country. Once FSC® has established the standards for this policy, they examine each individual forest in the country in question to determine whether it meets the criteria.
The decision-making processes of both parties are also different. PEFC™ has nine stakeholder groups who form a decision-making committee. None of these groups can independently adopt or reject a decision, neither internationally, nor country-specific. From an international point of view, the groups are composed of various stakeholders, including nature and environmental organisations, indigenous peoples, industry associations and trade unions.
FSC® works with a general member meeting in which decisions are made by three chambers. The three chambers, consisting of the members, represent the three social pillars; social, economic and environmental impact.
The aim of PEFC™ and FSC® is one and the same: creating and implementing sustainable forestry policy. By doing so, they hope to save the forests for the future and protect them against destruction. The policies of both PEFC™ and FSC® rest on three pillars: social, economic and environmental impact.
This text was written based on the Journal of the NBVT,FSC & PEFC