In the developed world, around 90% of our time is spent indoors. In recent times, this has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and wellbeing in indoor environments is more important than ever. We teamed up with the Technical University of Munich to develop a literature review that explores the science behind the wellbeing benefits of building with wood. The new literature review that was developed in partnership with the Technical University of Munich dissects the increasing volume of evidence in this field that proves wood to be a stand apart building material option. The analysis reviews multiple areas of research, such as wood’s ability to reduce stress and boost productivity levels. For example, a study into the wooden waiting room at the National Oncology Institute in Slovakia saw participants experiencing a decrease in cortisol levels by 7.5%, implying a stress-reducing effect1. Similarly, a study conducted in an Austrian school compared student experience in classrooms – one with linoleum floors and plasterboard walls, and one that was wooden. Those in the wooden classroom had significantly lower heart rates and lower perception of stress2.
The assessment process of national forest certification systems was the key focus of the PEFC Registered Assessors training conducted earlier this year in February.
Held for the first time as an intensive three day training session at the PEFC International office in Geneva, Switzerland, the new format enabled the assessors and PEFC International to walk through the assessment process together, identifying areas to improve the quality and transparency of the reporting and in the assessment process itself.
Assessors play an important role in PEFC. With PEFC being the only global forest certification system that requires all standards to be independently developed with multi-stakeholder participation, any national forest certification systems that seeks PEFC endorsement is subject to the rigorous PEFC assessment process to ensure their system meets PEFC’s Sustainability Benchmarks. This process, which also includes a sixty day global public consultation as well as a review by the PEFC Panel of Experts, is led by independent, PEFC Registered Assessors.
The assessors took a detailed look at the PEFC Sustainability Benchmark requirements, identifying expectations and clarifications for specific requirements in order to reach a better common understanding and a more harmonized and consistent application of the PEFC requirements.
“This training made me better understand the importance of our assessments in context of PEFC’s independent national certification systems,” said Christine Naaijen from Form international, following her participation in the training. “The time we spent to go into details will certainly benefit our future assessments.”