PEFC to Strengthen its Trademark Protection

The increasing value proposition that the PEFC brand provides to forest owners, companies and society as a whole, also confirmed by the first PEFC/GfK Global Consumer Survey that showed the PEFC label to be the most trusted forest certification label, comes with a downside: namely uncertified companies and organizations that try to associate themselves with PEFC’s reputation and brand trust by fraudulently misusing the label and claims.

Ultimately, this puts at risk the good work undertaken by millions of actors from the forest, throughout the supply chain to the final consumer. PEFC is therefore taking steps to strengthen its trademark protection. PEFC is clear in its objective of protecting certified forest owners, companies and consumers against the abuse of the PEFC label and claims.

“We are determined to stop any abuse, as these in the end undermine the efforts of the entire forest certification movement,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. “We are therefore undertaking a thorough review of our trademark protection processes and procedures to further strengthen them and ensure they continue to be fit for purpose.”

To this end, PEFC International has appointed Marta Martinez Pardo as the PEFC Trademark Protection officer to strengthen PEFC’s capacity to deliver its Global Trademark Protection Program. The program monitors the use of the PEFC brand, identifies unauthorized use, and takes legal action where necessary to protect the brand.

Dr. Michael Berger, Head of PEFC’s Technical Unit added: “The issue of trademark protection will be high on the agenda of the forthcoming revision of PEFC’s Chain of Custody and Labelling standards. Considerations include requirements that PEFC claims can only be made between PEFC-certified companies to prevent situations arising where the PEFC claims are passed on or used by uncertified companies in their communications to customers.”

The PEFC logo and name are globally registered trademarks, and PEFC claims can only be made by PEFC-certified entities based on clearly defined requirements. Compliance with these requirements is verified through independent audits by certification bodies.

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