Two paths to sustainable forest management: What is the difference between FSC and PEFC?

An in-depth comparison of sustainability certifications

In the world of sustainable forest management and responsible timber production, two important certification systems play a crucial role: FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). Although both aim to promote sustainable forestry practices, there are clear differences between these two systems. In this blog we explore the distinction between FSC and PEFC, what these certifications entail, and how they contribute to sustainable forest management and environmental protection.

What is FSC? 

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international organization founded in 1993 with the aim of promoting responsible forest management worldwide. FSC certification ensures that wood and paper products come from forests that are managed in an environmentally friendly, socially beneficial and economically viable way. FSC has strict standards that focus on protecting natural habitats, respecting the rights of indigenous communities and workers, and maintaining the economic viability of the forest area.

What is PEFC? 

The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) was established in 1999 as an international, non-profit, non-governmental system to promote sustainable forest management. PEFC focuses on ensuring that forest management takes place in a sustainable manner, maintaining environmental, social and ethical standards. A unique aspect of PEFC is its emphasis on small and family forests and the integration of local forest management traditions and values into their certification process.

What is the difference between FSC and PEFC?

  • Certification standards: Although both FSC and PEFC promote sustainable forest management, they have different approaches and standards. FSC has specific principles that focus directly on environmental protection, social aspects and economic feasibility. PEFC, on the other hand, places more emphasis on integrating and respecting local forest management practices.
  • Scope and approach: FSC is often seen as more internationally oriented, while PEFC is more focused on national forest management standards and supporting smaller forestry operations.
  • Quality mark recognition: Both quality marks are internationally recognized, but FSC has a wider reputation, especially in the retail sector. PEFC, on the other hand, is more commonly used in the paper and packaging industries.

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FSC and PEFC are both essential players in the world of sustainable forest management and offer different but complementary approaches to certification. Choosing products with FSC or PEFC certification helps protect forests and promote responsible forestry practices. As a consumer or business, it is important to be aware of these certifications and the impact they have on the health of our forests and the environment.

Do you want to know how you can integrate FSC or PEFC when importing from Asia?

Westwood Sourcing offers specialist support and expertise to make importing from China successful and efficient. Westwood can help you with the certification and integration of FSC and PEFC.

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