Getting Certified

Forest management certification through the two global forest certification schemes, FSC and PEFC, provides a way to demonstrate legality and sustainability.

By getting their woodlands certified to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, woodland owners can demonstrate to society that their woodlands are responsibly managed.

Certification provides woodland owners with an internationally recognised stamp of approval for their woodland management practices. It can also provide owners with improved access to timber markets and there is often a favourable price premium for certified timber.

FSC UK

FSC UK is a national office of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), an international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.

In the UK, FSC forest management certification is based on UKWAS, a national standard which is consistent with FSC Principles and Criteria whilst at the same time reflecting local ecological, social and economic circumstances.

For further information: http://www.fsc-uk.org

The roles of the UKWAS Steering Group and FSC UK are set out in a Concordat between the parties.

PEFC UK

PEFC UK is part of the global network for the assessment and mutual recognition of national forest certification schemes developed by the PEFC Council (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). PEFC UK’s ‘Certification Scheme for Sustainable Forest Management’ incorporates the UK Woodland Assurance Standard as the certification standard to be used for assessing whether a woodland is managed sustainably.

For further information: http://www.pefc.co.uk

The roles of the UKWAS Steering Group and PEFC UK are set out in a Concordat between the parties.

Why get certified

Heightened consumer awareness in recent decades has led to a demand for reassurance that consumer products are sustainably and ethically sourced.

In the forestry sector, there was rising consumer concern in the 1990s about the environmental impacts of forest management across the world and a demand for assurance that timber products were sourced from well-managed forests. This led to calls for forest products to be independently certified as being from legally and sustainably managed sources.

Forest management certification through the two global forest certification schemes, FSC and PEFC, provides a way to demonstrate legality and sustainability.

Such certified timber also accords with sustainable procurement requirements for the UK Government’s timber procurement policy and the EU Timber Regulation and those of many individual businesses.

Many timber-processing companies such as sawmills, wood panel mills and pulp & paper mills now ask their suppliers to provide timber certified by FSC and / or PEFC. By getting their woodlands certified to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, woodland owners can meet this customer demand and demonstrate to society that their woodlands are responsibly managed.

Getting Certified

Woodland owners/managers need to appoint an accredited certification body to carry out audits against the UKWAS standard.

Because it is recognised by both the FSC and PEFC schemes, it is possible for woodlands to be dual certified to both schemes when audited by a certification body accredited to both schemes’ requirements. This provides businesses with the maximum possible flexibility to meet their customers’ needs at least cost.

Please refer to FSC UK and PEFC UK for up-to-date information and advice on which certification bodies are accredited to carry out an independent third party evaluation for each scheme.

The UKWAS steering group has always been conscious that certification presents a particular challenge for owners and managers of smaller woodlands. The steering group strongly recommends that smaller owners consider joining a group scheme as a more cost-effective option than undertaking certification as a single entity. For information on group certification options refer to the FSC UK and PEFC UK websites.