Estonian and Polish National Systems Achieve PEFC Re-endorsement

Estonia and Poland have become the latest countries to successfully achieve PEFC re-endorsement of their national forest certification systems for the first time. This not only confirms that they continue to meet PEFC’s globally recognized Sustainability Benchmarks, but also ensures that certified forest owners and companies in these countries continue to benefit from the global acceptance of PEFC.

Estonia is one of the most heavily forested countries in Europe, with more than half of its land area covered by forest. Of this forest area, almost 10 million hectares are PEFC-certified, equating to 45% of the country’s forests. In addition, much of the certified forest area is made up of small family- and community-owned forests, which have been able to achieve certification through PEFC’s Group Certification.

Since PEFC Poland first achieved endorsement of its national system, almost 7.3 million hectares of Polish forests have been PEFC-certified – equating to nearly 80% of the country’s forests. At 9 million hectares, forests cover almost one third of Poland’s land area, including one of the few remaining areas of primary forest in Europe.

“The re-endorsement of these national forest certification systems shows both the commitment of our members to PEFC and underlines PEFC’s leadership in the continuous improvement of forest certification,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. “We appreciate their continued commitment, as well as the contributions of all the stakeholders who have participated in the standards revision and assessment processes.”

PEFC International remains the only global forest certification system to limit endorsements of national systems to five years, requiring standards revisions before a system can re-apply for endorsement, which is only granted after a comprehensive, third-party assessment of compliance with PEFC’s Sustainability Benchmarks.

Revisions are required to ensure that latest scientific research, practical experiences and best practices from the field, but also evolving values, expectations, and aspirations of society towards sustainable forest management are systematically incorporated in these revisions and then implemented at national, regional and local level.

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