Certification

Certification

Since the early 1990s, forest certification has grown rapidly. As of mid-2004, certified forests account for nearly 180 million ha worldwide. This means that of the 700million ha of forests actively managed for wood and non-wood products, 25% is certified. 44% of the world’s certified forests (nearly 78 million ha) are in Europe and 96% of Europe’s certified forests are in the EUR25 countries, representing 75 million ha – half of all the EU 25 forests.

Although many European Countries have been developing their own national standards, most have now adopted the principles of global systems such as PEFC, which was originally developed to answer the needs of the small European forest owner, or FSC, and was set up with the co-operation of WWF.

It is important to appreciate that certification is just one measure of sustainability. As over 90% of European wood consumption is sourced from Europe’s forests, which are characterised as “generally stable, well managed, and in surplus production”, the consumer or specifier can be reasonably sure of the environmental credentials of their product.