Environment minister Elliot Morley is inviting people to provide comments for the government’s re-assessment of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC).

PEFC was put on probation by Mr Morley last August after it adopted new standards to meet the government’s requirements for legal and sustainable timber procurement. The changes included greater transparency and more involvement with stakeholders.

If the changes are found to have been implemented satisfactorily, then PEFC will be confirmed as delivering assurance of both legality and sustainability. Otherwise, the scheme will be considered only to have met the legal requirement for government timber contracts.

Five national PEFC forest certification schemes covering Australia, Brazil, Finland, France and Italy have been selected for the assessment. Other national schemes recently endorsed or which are undergoing revision will also be assessed.

Comments should reach the government’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) by January 16, with the re-assessment findings being reported to PEFC by January 20. PEFC will have a week to respond before findings are finalised before the next CPET reference board meeting on February 3.

A seperate annual review of all certification schemes will start in mid to late February.