Section 1: What is sustainable forest management ?

Content :

Introduction (Slide 1 et 2 ) : « Hello everyone. This training course on sustainability in forest management and certification will begin with a section aimed at clarifying the concept of sustainable forest management. We will begin with a module that will trace the origin of the concept and define what is Sustainable Forest Management ( SFM). »

Origin of sustainable management (Slide 3 to 5) : « In 1972, the United Nations conference on the Human Environment adopted a set of principles regarding the environment. Thanks to the so-called “ Stockholm declaration” :

  • Environmental issues entered the international agenda
  • A dialogue was started between industrialised and developing countries on the link between economic growth, pollution of the global commons ( air, water and oceans) and the eventual deterioration of people well-being around the globe.

In June 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development  - also known as Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit – was held in Rio de Janeiro ( Brazil). During this summit was adopted a declaration on environment and development pushing forward the notion of rights and responsibilities of the countries regarding the environment. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development answers two major concerns: the negative impact of economic progress on the environment, and countries growing interdependence due to the increased globalisation of international trade.   

Major principles of sustainable forest management (Slide 6 to 11) : « In 1993, the Helsinki conference define Sustainable Forest Management on criteria : maintenance of production capacities, maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality, maintenance and encouragement of productive functions, biodiversity conservation, soil and water protection, and maintenance of the socioeconomic functions »

Multifonctionnality of forest

Section 2: What is forestry certification ?

Content :

The origin of certification (Slide 4 to 6) : « Forest management principles ensure the renewable nature of wood resources. In order to answer the will of the customers to buy “ clean” timber, environmental organisations have created certification systems for wood and wooden products. These certification systems guarantee the customers that the wood they are buying comes from a forest managed in a sustainable manner, with harvesting methods environmentally friendly. The most developed of these certification systems are PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). Other certification systems such as CSA (Canadian Standards Association), SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) and ATFS (American Tree Farm System) have been created in Canada and in the United States of America.

Major principles of forestry certification systems (Slide 7 and 8) : « Forest certification attests for the sustainable management of the forests as well as the respect of its environmental, societal and economic functions. It guarantees the application of strict rules by all forest stakeholders ( forest owners, operators and contractors of forest works). These rules ensure that the wood resource is produced in a sustainable manner respecting the environment, as well as the needs of local populations. To this set of rules is added a traceability systems to guarantee the origin of the wood product.»

« The chain of custody certification is issued by an independent certification body to the enterprises. At each step of the chain, the certified wood used must be clearly identifiable in the companies’ inventories and commercial documents. The chain of custody covers all steps of the production process, from the harvesting of the wood to the marketing of the end-product »

Texte de la vidéo slide 9 : (traduction marguerite)

How the PEFC certification works - overview (Slide 14) : «  The PEFC certification is based on two complementary procedures:

  • The forest management certificate, which concerns both forest owners and managers, as well as logging companies
  • The chain of custody certificate, which concerns logging companies, processors and resellers of the processed product»

How the FSC certification works – overview (Slide 15) : Forest owners and managers wishing to obtain an FSC Forest Management certificate for their forest have to contact an approved certification body to arrange an initial audit, which will be followed by an annual audit. This audit verifies that the management carried out in the forest meets the FSC requirements, which are set out in the 10 criteria that we will see in Module 3. »

« The FSC Chain of Custody certificate enables the traceability of FSC-certified wood products  throughout the production process, from the forest to the consumer, including the harvesting, processing and distribution stages. This certificate allows companies to label their products with the FSC label, allowing consumers to identify and choose products from sustainably managed forests that meet FSC criteria.»

FSC defines the concept of FSC Controlled Wood as follows: "FSC Controlled Woods have been verified as NOT coming from :
1. Illegally harvested forests ;

  1. Forests harvested in violation of traditional or civil rights;
  2. Forests in which High Conservation Values (HCVs) are threatened ;
  3. Natural forests being converted to plantations or for non-forest uses ;
  4. Forests where genetically modified trees are planted. »

World tendencies for PEFC and FSC

Section 3: Getting certified - requirements and benefits

Section 4: how to get certified ?

Text accompanying the PowerPoint :

Introduction (Slide 1 et 2) : « This last section of the training course aims to give you all the necessary tools for your future certification”


How a PEFC audit works - Slide 3 : PEFC France explains the control procedure this way « To ensure the reliability and credibility of the PEFC system, every actor in the certification chain ( forest owners, forest operators and companies in the forest-wood-paper sector) is controlled regarding its proper application of the PEFC rules. Thus, over 69 000 forest owners involved in France in a PEFC approach, are subjected to regular inspections in accordance with the sampling rules recognized by the public authorities.

At the end of these controls, if the PEFC sustainable forest management rules are rightfully respected, the owner continues his commitment with PEFC. In the event of non-compliance, the controller shall set a time limit for taking the necessary corrective measures. In the event of serious non-compliance or failure to implement the requested corrective measures, the forest owner is excluded from the PEFC system.

How a FSC audit works FSC- Slide 4 : « The FSC control procedure is based on 5 steps :

First you need to contact a certification body, as FSC does not issue any certificates. Audits are carried out by an independent certification body. Only ASI accredited bodies ( Accreditation System International) can carry out audits. The list of certification bodies is available on the FSC website. Next step is choosing a certification body and signing a contract with it.

The third step is to have your forest or company audited by a representative of the certification body. He or she will determine whether you meet the requirements of the FSC standards

Finally, you will receive an audit report stating whether or not the certification body has decided to award you the FSC certification. If the certification decision is positive, you will receive your FSC certificate. If you do not fully meet the requirements of the FSC standards, you can make the corrections requested by the certification body in its report and request a new audit to obtain the certificate. »