Which certification system to use

Tropical rainforest near Berau demonstrating environmental and social functions of pre-FSC certification. East Kalimantan. Indonesia
© Edward Parker
Forest certification is an important tool to improve forest management. But it’s not a universal remedy to solve the world's forest crisis, nor can it replace scientifically sound regulations and legislation.

Take a closer look

In collaboration with the World Bank, WWF developed the Forest Certification Assessment Guide (FCAG), to judge the quality and credibility of certification schemes. Then in 2008 WWF commissioned a review of the two global certification systems: the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification).

The assessment focused on the rules set by these systems internationally. To review elements that could not be assessed at the international level, the study looked at a sample of national FSC and PEFC standards in Germany, Australia and Chile.

Results of the assessment

The assessment showed that few changes have been implemented at the international level in either of the two schemes since the last WWF assessment in 2005.

Based on this latest FCAG assessment as well as other previous assessments, it can be concluded that while there is room for improvement in both systems, FSC still best meets WWF's core requirements, namely for:
•    driving significant improvements in forest management on the ground;
•    meeting as a minimum WWF's core values on meaningful and equitable participation of all major stakeholder groups, reliable and independent assessment, certification decisions free of conflicts of interest, transparency in decision making and reporting; and
•    delivering consistency across countries.

WWF's commitment

WWF acknowledges that both FSC and PEFC need improvements. We will continue to focus our efforts on improving the FSC system, and on promoting the FSC logo as an internationally recognized hallmark of responsible forest management.

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