National PEFC members in South America gathered alongside 50 forestry sector representatives from around the continent with one key focus: to expand forest certification and the uptake of PEFC-certified products in the region. The ‘Forest Certification: Current Situation and Prospects’ conference, which took place in Montevideo in Spring this year, attracted participants with an interest in promoting sustainable forest management, from representatives of ministries, NGOs and academic and research institutions, to private companies and the press. “Thanks to this event we have been able to demonstrate to all the actors, and particularly the general public, the forestry sector’s commitment to act responsibly in all social and environmental aspects, as well as the economic ones,” said Atilio Ligrone, National Secretary of PEFC Uruguay and the Manager of the Society of Forest Producers, “clearly showcasing the significant work PEFC undertakes in safeguarding our forest resources.”
“Achieving PEFC certification further enforces our commitment to sustainable forestry and provides our customers with a complete range of fully certified timber products,” said Daryl Fahy, Managing Director of Earrai Coillte Chonnacht Teoranta (ECC), the first sawmill to achieve PEFC Chain of Custody certification in Ireland.
“PEFC certification is a natural fit with our expanding business and obtaining PEFC certification proved to be a fairly seamless and straightforward process, achieved with little difficulty and few changes to our existing management and quality control systems,” added Conor Fahy, ECC Quality Manager.
ECC was established in 1992 in a remote rural location in the west of Ireland in Connemara, Co. Galway and has grown to become one of the largest and most innovative sawmills in the country.
Today ECC processes about 450,000 cubic meters of timber annually. It provides direct employment for 120 full-time staff at the mill, and for a further 190 full-time staff contracted externally in the areas of timber harvesting, extraction and haulage.
A boost for PEFC forest management certification too
“While every new certificate is welcome, ECC’s certification comes at a particularly important time for PEFC Ireland’s development,” said William Merivale, National Secretary of PEFC Ireland.
“Coillte Forest, which represents just over half the national forest estate, has held PEFC certification since 2014. We have been striving to convince the sawmilling sector of the benefits of adding PEFC to their other accreditations. This latest development opens up the field for the private sector to actively seek PEFC forest management certification as well.”
“PEFC Ireland is delighted with this development and looks forward to establishing closer links with ECC in the years ahead.”