The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) has published guidelines for the Panel of Experts used in its peer review process.

The guidelines outline the scale and scope of the panel of experts’ task in reviewing PEFC certificates, including analysing third-party evaluation reports and assessing whether major revisions need to be made or not.

It also provides clear information on the structure of the review process and how the panel of experts is chosen.

The current panel of experts includes chartered forester Graham Miller, an emeritus professor at the University of Aberdeen; Stefan Czamutzian from certification body HolzCert Austria; Hans Köpp, an emeritus professor of Natural Conservation, Forest Policy and Forest History at the University of Applied Sciences in Göttingen; Andrew Venman, environment manager for timber products at Saint-Gobain Building Distribution; and Hannu Valtannen, a senior consultant working in the timber and forest industries.

The peer review process has been mandatory since October 2006 and provides another safeguard in ensuring certificates are reviewed fairly, PEFC said.

“These guidelines ensure that the peer review process is transparent and independent, with the same scrutiny applied to any national forest certification system,” said PEFC secretary-general Ben Gunneberg.