Steps for certification

FSC® and PEFC™ forest certification (FM)

Background of forest certification

Certification of forests and forest plantations is now in demand more than ever before. Responsible forest management is today considered as one of the most important factors for the protection of forest resources worldwide. The benefits of forest certification for forest owners are diverse and include among others

  • Image improvement through external confirmation of the quality of forest management
  • Competitive marketing advantages through FSC or PEFC certified products (timber and other forest products
  • The fulfilment of the customer demand for FSC and/or PEFC certified products
  • Higher efficiency of operational control and forest stakeholder management for large private, municipal and state forestry companies

The FSC and PEFC standards for forest certification include economic, ecological and social requirements which ensure for the responsible use of forests. GFA Certification is accredited for forest  management certification according to the requirements of FSC and PEFC. FSC and PEFC are standalone systems. Often, a combined audit of both systems is desired, which can be offered by GFA.

The way to forest certification

An independent assessment of the forestry company is carried out by GFA Certification based on the FSC and/or PEFC standards as part of the certification framework of forest management. The conformity of the management system is verified and confirmed by GFA Certification in a certification audit and by subsequent annual monitoring audits. Group certifications are possible under certain circumstances in which only samples from the participating forestry companies are audited by GFA. Upon successful certification of forest, products originating from this forest may be labelled with the FSC or PEFC label and be sold as FSC or PEFC certified.


Important steps for forest certification

  1. PRELIMINARY INFORMATION

    – Company collects information about the requirements certification
    – Company fills out the GFA Questionnaire under Request Proposal (see below).
    – If necessary, GFA requests further information
    – GFA evaluates the information

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  2. PROPOSAL AND ORDER

    – Elaboration of a non-binding certification proposal by GFA
    – If necessary clarification of open questions
    – Acceptance of the certification proposal by the company

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  3. PRE-AUDIT

    – Preliminary audit for identification of weaknesses and potential for improvement

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  4. STAKEHOLDER SURVEY

    – Interviews with relevant stakeholders
    (authorities, trade unions, environmental associations, etc.)

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  5. MAIN AUDIT

    Assessment of FSC and/or PEFC systems by a GFA auditor

    – Verification of documented procedures
    – Inspection of the on-site operations
    – Meeting with company management
    – Staff meetings with responsible staff
    – Creation of the audit report by the auditor
    – Correction of identified non-conformities by the company
    – Certification decision by the GFA

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  6. EXPERT REVIEW

    – Verification of the report, audit and quality assurance by an independent expert

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  7. CERTIFICATE

    – Issuing of the certificate
    – Registration of the certificate

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  8. ANNUAL SURVEILLANCE AUDIT

    – Annual assessment by a GFA auditor
    – Company provides evidence for compliance
    – Decision of the certifier on the maintenance, suspension or withdrawal of the certificate

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  9. RE-CERTIFICATION AUDIT

    – A re-certification audit is due before the expiry of the certificate period (depending on the system, 5 and 3 years respectively) and after the conclusion of a new certification contract

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For more information download our PDF documents listed in the side bar or contact us directly via the contact form or directly under 0049 40 5247431 140 (Gerhard Kuske).

Costs of forest certification

Duration and cost of the FSC and/or PEFC forest certification depend on the size of operation, type of forest management and the produced products. Usually the time for forestry companies to prepare for certification and be ready for the first audit by GFA takes 2-6 months.

Use the link “Request Proposal” and you’ll receive a free quotation for forest certification which is tailored to your needs.