IAS and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is a leading global alliance of national forest certification systems. As an international non-profit, non-governmental organization, PEFC is dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. PEFC is the largest forest certification system in the world.
Accreditation bodies, such as the International Accreditation Service (IAS), play an important role in assuring the independence and performance of certification bodies issuing PEFC certificates. Certification bodies in the United States can apply to IAS for accreditation against a PEFC-endorsed forest management standard and/or the PEFC Chain of Custody standard.
IAS provides accreditation to certification bodies against PEFC standard ST 1003 Sustainable Forest management under the Management Systems Certification Bodies Program (ISO/IEC Standard 17021-1). IAS also provides accreditation to certification bodies using PEFC standard ST 2002 Chain of Custody under the Product Certification Agencies Program (ISO/IEC Standard 17065).
The PEFC works to protect forests by promoting sustainable forest management through certification. This allows people to benefit from the products that forests provide now while ensuring that these forests will be around for generations to come.
Why get certification?
Forest certification provides a mechanism to promote the sustainable management of our forests and ensures that forest-based products reaching the marketplace have been sourced from sustainably managed forests. Sustainable forest management certification assures that forests are managed in line with challenging environmental, social and economic requirements. Chain of custody certification tracks forest-based products from sustainable sources to the final product. It demonstrates that each step of the supply chain is closely monitored through independent auditing to ensure that unsustainable sources are excluded.
Accreditation process as required by PEFC
All information regarding the accreditation process is provided in Section 5 of PEFC’s Accreditation Procedures document:
- Certification bodies carrying out forest management or chain of custody certification shall be accredited by a national accreditation body to ensure the credibility of the certification work and to facilitate mutual recognition. An accredited certificate shall bear an accreditation symbol of the relevant accreditation body.
- Accreditation bodies shall be a member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) or a member of IAF’s special recognition regional groups and implement procedures described in ISO/IEC 17011 and other documents recognized by the above organizations.
- The certification body shall undertake forest management or/and chain of custody certification as “accredited certifications”.
- The certification body carrying out forest management certification or chain of custody certification against a scheme-specific chain of custody standard shall be accredited based on ISO/IEC 17021-1 and/or ISO/IEC 17065 and the relevant forest management or chain of custody standard(s) / scheme shall be covered by the accreditation scope.
- The certification body carrying out chain of custody certification against Annex 4 (Chain of Custody of Forest Based Products – Requirements) shall be accredited based on ISO/IEC 17065.