“As we welcome India to the PEFC alliance, we can take this time to celebrate reaching the important milestone of 40 PEFC national members,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, as India’s Network for Certification Conservation of Forests (NCCF) joined PEFC last month.
“We would like to use this opportunity to thank all of our supporters that have enabled PEFC to outgrow our European roots and become the world’s leading forest certification system and to reflect on our history.”
It was back in 1999, when national organizations from eleven countries came together to establish PEFC, responding to the specific requirements of small- and family forest owners in Europe. This was swiftly followed one year later with the endorsement of the first national forest certification systems, enabling forest owners and managers in Austria, Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden to certify their responsible forest management practices.
The next key milestone came in 2004 when Australia and Chile became the first non-European systems to achieve endorsement. This also coincided with our name change, no longer the Pan European Forest Certification Council, but now PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
One year later in 2005, we became the world’s largest forest certification system with more than 100 million hectares of certified forest area, thanks to the endorsement of the Canadian forest certification system. In 2007 we reached 200 million hectares.
2009 was another important year for PEFC, as Gabon became the first African system, and the first tropical system, to be endorsed. A few months later, Malaysia became the second PEFC-endorsed system in a tropical country, and the first in Asia.
We have had many busy years since, from the first PEFC Forest Certification Week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2013, to the endorsement of the Argentina, China and Indonesia national forest certification systems in 2014.
More recently we have seen Japan and New Zealand submit their systems for endorsement, while at the other end of the scale, Finland has just become the first country to achieve the re-endorsement of its system for a record third time.