Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management through independent third-party certification.  

PEFC was established in 1999 and works as an umbrella organisation and mutual recognition scheme of national standards – e.g. UK Woodland Assurance Standard in the UK. By endorsing national forest certification systems it has recognised certification systems in 40 countries. These account for over 268 million hectares of certified forests, making PEFC the world’s largest forest and wood product certification system. This is equivalent to two-thirds of the globe’s certified forest area.

PEFC bases its Sustainability Benchmarks on globally recognised principles, guidelines and criteria developed by international and inter-governmental bodies with broad consensus from interested stakeholders.

PEFC has a global reach:


PEFC’s approach to sustainable forest management includes demanding environmental, social and economic requirements and it is committed to the certification of forests to credible, independently verified standards of responsible forest management.  Independent auditors verify that these are being met. PEFC-certified forests now supply more than 16,000 Chain of Custody Certified companies around the world with sustainable forest products – including a vast amount of timber, paper and packaging products.

• PEFC has a unique approach to forest management: MORE.... 

Chain of Custody

A huge choice of sustainable material is available as PEFC-certified. Key to this is Chain of Custody certification.

From small and medium-sized companies to global brands, more and more companies along the timber value chain are looking to demonstrate that the wood-based products they are using come from legal and sustainable sources. Some are doing so in response to legislation and regulatory requirements, while others recognise the benefits of delivering assurances of responsible sourcing to their customers. Chain of Custody certification is the process of handling information on the origin of forest-based products, which allows an organisation to make accurate and verifiable claims on the content of sustainably certified material throughout the supply chain.

pefc chain of custody

PEFC is fully compliant with national procurement policies such as the UK Government’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) procurement policy for wood-based products and assists in meeting global objectives such as the EU Timber Regulation. PEFC-certified timber is accepted in green building procurement schemes around the globe including the National Green Building Standard and Green Building Initiative in the US, Built Green in Canada, CASBEE in Japan and the Singapore Environment Council.

• The PEFC Chain of Custody is robust, well respected and independently audited: MORE.....

The PEFC Label

pefc chain of custody

The PEFC logo and labels are familiar and globally trusted trademarks. PEFC’s distinctive ‘two trees’ logo provides assurances that wood-based products – from timber to furniture, packaging to paper – come from sustainable sources.

The label assists businesses, consumers, forest owners and managers, and other stakeholders to identify and promote sustainable forest products. Environmental labels allow companies to visibly communicate their commitment to responsible sourcing. This is becoming ever more important as consumers are increasingly conscious of the impact of their buying decisions. The PEFC label is exclusively available on PEFC-certified products, to highlight and distinguish products and packaging made from responsibly sourced materials.

• The PEFC label is a global brand: MORE....


PEFC has developed robust mechanisms to ensure the participation and inclusion of family and community-owned forests in forest certification schemes everywhere. PEFC UK has developed a series of certification mechanisms appropriate for the UK context.

Individual Certification

This is where an individual forest owner or other enterprise seeks certification for the woodland it owns or manages. This method is available for any size and type of woodland or forest.

Group Certification

To overcome the challenge of high certification costs incurred by individual certification, PEFC has developed and popularised the concept of Group Certification as a means by which several forest owners or managers can be certified together under a formally identifiable ‘Group,’ rather than as individual entities.

Project Certification

Project Chain of Custody certification is a specific form of Chain of Custody certification that allows you to take advantage of PEFC certification for your projects and is an option for short-term projects involving different, uncertified contractors, such as in the construction industry, or the one-off production of a specific product. 


• PEFC has a range of certification options: MORE......

Key Market Drivers for Certified Timber

As building designers and material specifiers search for ways to deliver sustainable, low-carbon and energy efficient buildings, timber is being adopted more and more. Not only as a structural solution, but via timber cladding, decking, windows, doors and many joinery products.

·       PEFC-certified timber helps comply with the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR). This aims to minimise the risk of placing illegally harvested timber on the UK market.

·       Overseen by the Homes and Communities Agency and the UK Green Building Council, participating organisations in NextGeneration – the annual sustainability benchmarking report of the 25 largest homebuilders in the UK – seek to ensure that only legal timber is purchased, with companies demonstrating that they have Chain of Custody Certification for all timber in the supply chain – this includes PEFC.

·       Using PEFC-certified timber helps achieve Excellent and Outstanding BREEAM ratings and helps meet SAP targets and Passivhaus performance levels. It plays a pivotal role in satisfying the requirements of Part L and Part E of the Building Regulations.

·       PEFC-certified timber is a central component of the Ska environmental performance standard. This tool measures fit-out projects in the context of raised sustainability concerns across the corporate agenda and consists of 104 individual ‘good-practice’ measures including certified timber, energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.


PEFC UK Can Help

PEFC has a dedicated UK team ready to provide training, information materials and support. They are available for technical questions, advice on how to communicate PEFC certification beyond the use of the label and also to provide insight into future risks and legislation around wood-based products – free of charge. There are also PEFC events including its Annual Stakeholder Meeting or Annual Field Trip.

PEFC provides a wide range of publications which can be downloaded from the PEFC UK website. Hard copies can be requested by emailing:

·       Promoting Sustainable Forest Management Around the World – PEFC and FSC

·       PEFC and Solid Wood Construction

·       Architects, Designers and PEFC Certified Timber

·       Construction and PEFC Certified Timber

·       Promoting Sustainable Construction through Certified Timber

·       Flooring and PEFC Certified Timber

·       Joinery, Fit Out and Certified Timber

·       Project Chain of Custody Certification: An Introduction


For more information, advice and guidance on PEFC and sustainable forestry visit: