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What does it mean to be PEFC certified?

Learn about the PEFC labelling and what it means for sustainable forestry and biodiversity.

What does it mean to be PEFC certified?

You might have heard about it in passing or seen it on product packaging, but have you ever wondered what the well-known PEFC logo stands for? If so, read this article to learn what PEFC-certified forestry actually is.

What does PEFC actually mean?

The Pan European Forest Certification (PEFC) is a global alliance of forest certification schemes that was created in 1999 to promote sustainable forest management. The PEFC system is a chain of custody certification that concerns all those involved in the forest and wood industry, from tree nurseries to timber retailers. More than two decades after its creation, it has become the largest forest certification system worldwide. 12% of the world’s forests are certified sustainable of which 300 million hectares are PEFC-certified. 

Any actor from the forest and wood industry who adheres to the rules described below and regularly submits the necessary proofs can obtain and retain the PEFC label. 

PEFC encourages the sustainable development of forests

PEFC comprises three domains of sustainable development: environmental, economical and social. From an environmental perspective, PEFC requires forest biodiversity to be maintained. Natural habitats must also be preserved, and soils and waters must be of good quality. Here at EcoTree we follow a silvicultural method to sustainable forestry management, where trees in a forest are cultivated in different ages and species. They grow at separate heights to create ‘floors’, which is great for biodiversity. 

- You can help us protect nature by supporting one of our biodiversity projects. 

It also means we can harvest the oldest trees when they mature and leave the younger trees to grow – so no clear cutting. Managing uneven-aged forests can lead to natural regeneration, where seeds from those mature trees are allowed to bloom and the trees that grow are about the same age. In all cases, our forestry experts adapt to and work with nature. In terms of specific biodiversity projects, we’re engaged in numerous projects including wetland and peatland restoration, as well as installation of bird boxes and beehives

Regarding the economic aspect, wood resources must be sustainably managed. Here at EcoTree, we harvest mature trees for sustainable timber and pass on 100% of the revenue directly back to our tree owners. We only use the timber for purposes that keep the carbon locked in the wood, for instance as raw materials for furniture and construction. That also means we’re able to create substitutive CO2 storage by using wood as a replacement for carbon-intensive materials such as cement, steel and plastic.

From the social impact perspective, the well-being of those living and working in forests must be ensured, while leisure activities, such as walks and hikes, are encouraged. We contribute to employment creation as our objective is to enhance forest coverage in Europe using sustainable forestry management practices, creating jobs in rural areas through the maintenance of our forests. Our mission also supports the local economy: tree planting practices, employment opportunities, and the management of timber processes are implemented to support the local economy to the greatest extent possible. Ans nearly all our forests are open to the public and we proactively encourage our customers and clients to use our forests for social activities, just as we host learning sessions in the forest. 

- Calculate your carbon footprint with our Carbon Calculator 

Finally, PEFC-certified forests must contribute to the capture and storage of carbon. We only offer high-quality, certified carbon removal certificates because we know how important trust and transparency is in terms of carbon storage and removal. Furthermore, our methodology for calculating carbon capture and storage (sequestration) in our forests has been verified by the highly esteemed Bureau Veritas, one of the world’s largest certification standards. We issue you a verified certificate that proves your carbon removal contribution.

In a nutshell, the PEFC certification rewards good practices in all domains of sustainable development. Thus, sustainably managed forests can contribute to the achievements of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Several criteria required to obtain the PEFC label

PEFC defines precise rules and criteria adapted to all actors of the forest and wood sector to ensure that sustainable forestry practices are correctly implemented. The PEFC alliance works with third-party certification bodies to ensure its rules are well implemented. They regularly control their application and guarantee that this process is well documented and transparent. Indeed, a re-evaluation by regional offices of every actor that claims the PEFC label happens every 5 years.

PEFC rewards those engaged in the forestry and wood sector

Wood products that originate from a continuous, sustainable production, supply chain and market line may carry the PEFC label. As proof of traceability and sustainable practices, it contributes to a better reputation for everyone involved. This enables a win-win situation for producers and forest owners. 

Concerning EcoTree, the benefits of obtaining the PEFC certification are two-fold. It allows all tree owners to ensure they contribute to sustainable forestry in a controlled manner and it makes their investment more worthwhile.

Economic and environmental sustainability

While sustainable development is a booming sector, the intersection between economy and environment is often underexploited. It is this shortcoming that EcoTree has strived to fill from its very creation. Our aim is to allow individuals and organisations to obtain a financial gain from an ecological investment that benefits forests and biodiversity. 

By adopting sustainable forestry practices that foster biodiversity, our forests become more productive and improve their capacity to regenerate. We want to guarantee our sustainable approach to all those that contribute to our forestry projects, and this label contributes to our transparency.

The PEFC certification encompasses all three aspects of sustainable development. Therefore, obtaining this label reinforces our economic, social and environmental engagement with the forest and wood sector.

Now, you know all there is to know about PEFC! 

Next time you see the PEFC logo on wood, timber, paper or cardboard, you will know what it means. It proves that the tree owner and the forestry companies that managed, maintained, transported, transformed and sold trees and wood all supported sustainable forest management and certified traceability. The PEFC logo you can see in the footer of our website is proof of our engagement for sustainable forests!