PEFC Position on Procurement Policies

Background 1. PEFC is an international membership based body whose vision is a world in which people manage forests sustainably. 2. PEFC establishes over 200 criteria for national forest management standard setting processes, and endorses forest management standards that meet these criteria. It has developed the specific skills, expertise and international networks necessary for the development and implementation of such criteria. 3. These criteria are based on inter-governmental, regional forest sustainability frameworks such as the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, the ATO/ITTO PCIs for African tropical forests and the ITTO/IUCN Guidelines for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in tropical timber production forests. 4. PEFC processes and criteria conform to international standard setting and accreditation guidelines under ISO, specifically ISO Guide 59 (Code of Practice for Standardisation), ISO Guides 65 and ISO 17021 (requirements for certification bodies) and ISO 17011 (requirements for accreditation bodies). 5. PEFC welcomes public and private procurement initiatives and seeks to co-operate in facilitating market access to certified forest products to enhance sustainable forest management. 6. PEFC acknowledges that with less than 10% of the world’s forests certified, there is an urgent need to encourage certification into the majority of areas to achieve its vision, and that a diversity of certification approaches will facilitate this goal. 7. PEFC is concerned at the proliferation of public and private wood and timber procurement policies being developed globally, with no consistent basis in recognised international standard setting processes. Some procurement and sustainability guides specify the use of timber certified by one certification scheme over another, or apply additional criteria over and above third-party forest certification to assess environmental sustainability, or place sustainable forest products at an unfair disadvantage as compared to alternative products. PEFC considers this discriminatory and anti-competitive for forest growers and for forest products. It raises unacceptable discriminatory barriers for forest owners and growers and for forest products in trade and global markets. Principles 8. PEFC supports and encourages the use of forest and wood based products from sustainably managed forests as inherently more environmentally responsible than most alternative materials. It will be guided by the following principles in determining its engagement with government or private procurement policies and processes.

9. PEFC supports the right of forest owners and growers to equitable access to markets for products from their sustainably managed forests 10. PEFC respects the right of those seeking to procure forest and wood based products to be satisfied that they are derived from legal and sustainable sources. 11. The work and expertise of existing international certification systems such as PEFC should be recognised in the development of public and private procurement policies and guidelines. PEFC supports procurement policies that are based on consistent internationally accepted principles of standard setting and accreditation and do not create unnecessary trade barriers or obstacles within global markets. 12. The scope of procurement policies should be consistent with recognised benchmarks set by intergovernmental processes for SFM such as the PEOLG, ATO or ITTO etc. 13. Governance requirements set by procurement policies should be consistent with ISO Guides for standard setting, certification and accreditation, or equivalent, which should be a necessary and sufficient requirement. 14. These same requirements should be used in the determination of procurement policies. 15. Stakeholder consultation and consensus are minimum governance requirements in both cases. 16. Full respect and credit should be accorded the outcomes of any forest management standardisation, certification and accreditation processes conducted in accordance with relevant ISO Guides. PEFC will not support or participate in processes that seek to predetermine or over-ride the outcomes of such processes. 17. PEFC encourages all stakeholders, including procurement agencies, to actively participate in PEFC forest and chain-of-custody Standard setting processes. 18. PEFC believes that sustainable forest management is only one of the factors that should be evaluated in the choice of products and materials. Equally important are the overall sustainability aspects of wood products and competing materials, including all life cycle stages through production, manufacture, transport, and disposal, including those related to carbon emissions. 19. PEFC believes that an unbalanced focus on forest product certification creates barriers to the use of wood products, has perverse outcomes in driving demand to less sustainable materials, and undermines the efforts of responsible forest producers to manage their forests in a sustainable manner. Procurement policies should apply balanced and equitable requirements across all raw materials.

Approved and adopted by the PEFC Council Board of Directors on 4th February 2010