PEFC says it has passed proof of sustainability test23 July 2005
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) schemes has passed the Central Point of Expertise on Timber's (CPET) criteria for proof of sustainability, PEFC UK chairman Len Yull has told the group's AGM.
PEFC was initially classed only as proof of legality by CPET, which was established by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) to advise government procurement officers on timber sourcing. The certification scheme subsequently revised aspects of its rules and resubmitted its proposal to CPET. The latter has completed its review of the revised PEFC scheme, but delayed making its findings public pending a meeting with NGOs.
Mr Yull has now said that the PEFC scheme has achieved the higher "proof of sustainability" rating, putting it on a par as far as CPET is concerned with the schemes of the Canadian CSA and the Forest Stewardship Council.
"Constructive discussions led to PEFCC (Programe for the Endorsement of Forest Certiication Council) changing the working of some technical documents and annexes to meet the specification," said Mr Yull. "We understand from a Defra presentation that PEFC, having been reassessed, has passed the SFM (sustainable forest management) test."
Mr Yull also reported that 110 UK companies had now obtained PEFC chain of custody certification, with SGS having joined BM TRADA as a PEFC certifier.
PEFC UK also intends to expand forest management certification in the country. BM TRADA is currently applying to the UK Accreditation Service so it can take on this role.
External financing will help promote the certification in the private and public sectors. Woodland owners will be encouraged to dual certify to both PEFC and the Forest Stewardship Council.
Mr Yull said a new three-year strategic communications project to develop market access for PEFC-certified products would produce benefits. The initiative is being run and funded externally from PEFC UK.
Funding has been an issue for PEFC UK, but it has now managed to set up an office, to be run by new national secretary Willie Walker from August 1. Mr Yull will continue as chairman pending appointment of a replacement.