PEFC forest certification expands to Russia

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This effort took a concrete step forward when the National Forest Certification Council of Russia granted the country’s first PEFC certificate to Metsäliitto Group subsidiary OOO Metsäliitto Podporozhye in March. The certificate is for a 200,000-hectare forest holding, which the company is leasing in the Leningrad region. This is the first national certificate issued in Russia and the federal administration has taken great interest in the matter.

Russia started by establishing two forest certification councils. The actual development work got fully underway only in 2004 after these two councils set up a shared umbrella organisation to which Russia’s membership in the international PEFC was transferred. The standard issued by the National Forest Certification Council of Russia was accredited by the international PEFC one year ago. This signalled to the markets that PEFC certification was now possible for other actors in Russia as well.

The PEFC promotes economically, ecologically and socially sustainable forestry practices. Finland’s PEFC system has been in use for ten years already and about 95% of Finnish commercial forests are PEFC certified. The Finnish PEFC cooperates with the forest certification organisations of other countries. The schemes of different countries reciprocally endorse forest certification systems that pass the evaluation and approval process of the PEFC.

Approval can be granted if a national system fulfils both the prescribed requirements on forestry practices as well as the general requirements imposed on certification schemes by the International Organisation for Standardisation ISO. Schemes that are accepted into the PEFC are allowed to grant PEFC-label user rights to companies, whose activities fulfil the PEFC’s requirements with regard to the monitoring of the chain of custody of wood raw materials. After receiving approval for use of the label, a company may place the label on its products to an extent that is proportionate to the share of certified wood raw materials in its overall timber procurements.

Further information:

Anneli Kotonen, Director (Russian Affairs),
tel. +358 9 132 6642

Antti Otsamo, Director (Forestry Issues),
tel. +358 9 132 6679

PEFC = Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes

The PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system and it aims to promote sustainable forestry globally.

Around 8% of the world’s forests have been certified, two-thirds under the PEFC system. About 220 million hectares of woodlands are managed according to the PEFC’s internationally approved Sustainability Benchmark.

By the end of 2009, almost 6,200 companies and organisations had been granted PEFC chain of custody certificates as verification of their commitment to responsible wood procurement practices. One-third of all chain of custody certificates around the world have been granted by the PEFC.