Alternative environmental certification - PEFC

Many of our Wood Matter’s subscribers will be aware that there is a second Forest Management Certification Scheme now available in New Zealand. It is known as the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification or (PEFC).

As its name suggests the PEFC works on the basis of endorsing (or otherwise) locally derived standards for forest management. Over the last few years a small group has been working in conjunction with Standards NZ to adapt the Australian Forestry Standard for use in New Zealand. This was completed with the approval and adoption by Standards NZ of the Australian Forestry Standard (with modification), to become NZ AS 4708:2014.

This standard then had to be presented for endorsement to the PEFC governing bodies, a process that was achieved in late 2015.

Why another Certification Scheme?

Since the early 90’s the Forest Stewardship Council certification scheme has been available in New Zealand and it is now firmly in place as the certification system used by all the major forest owning and management companies in New Zealand. The primary rational for its use has been to maximise international market access for New Zealand’s forest products and to raise forestry practice standards and demonstrate social and environmental responsibility.

Over the last decade both FSC® and PEFC certification schemes have been in existence and there has been a tendency for certain geographic markets and certain product segments to lean slightly more toward one certification system or the other.

In New Zealand, forestry product processors are seeing emerging demand for PEFC-certified product, and in more recent times China has embarked on the process of achieving PEFC for a national Chinese forestry standard.

It is these factors that spurred a wider interest in ensuring that the alternative standard was available in New Zealand.

Does PF Olsen provide PEFC certification?

Not at present. However, PF Olsen has conducted a gap analysis to establish the costs and consequences of providing a PEFC option to its clients. Our conclusion is that in a practical applied sense the systems currently employed for FSC® certification will be more than adequate for PEFC. There are slight differences in the document and process trail requirements to set up a PEFC Group Scheme. However, while slightly different, these could be updated to meet both certification schemes.

On this basis, PF Olsen believes there is no fundamental barrier to providing for a PEFC based Group Scheme – the only question being is there sufficient demand from our clients to warrant the organisational and annual auditing costs associated with a Group Certification scheme?

If you would like to register an interest in following this certification option or would like to discuss the possible implications and costs of following such a pathway, contact:

PF Olsen’s Environment Manager, Kit Richards

Please ensure you leave a contact phone number, the size of your forest estate if applicable, and whether you are interested as a forest grower/ owner or as a processor seeking PEFC-certified wood.