The China Forest Certification Council (CFCC) has announced that the Chinese Government has passed and is enacting immediately its new national forest certification regulations. These important rules set out the scope, framework, and requirements for all forest certifications operating in China. All forest certification activities must comply with the forest certification requirements which require adherence to Chinese national certification standards.
“This is an important and historic step for Chinese forestry workers, Chinese forest dependent-communities and Chinese forests, as it recognizes the extensive work undertaken by a multitude of stakeholders to develop both the CFCC Chinese national forest certification and chain of custody certification standards and system,” said Mr. Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. “In addition, both these national standards have been thoroughly assessed, resulting in international recognition through PEFC endorsement.”
As the CFCC is PEFC-endorsed, China's new regulation effectively means that all certified Chinese forest fiber must meet PEFC's Sustainability Benchmarks and be audited by PEFC authorized auditors. In China, it puts an end to the use of unauthorized and unaccredited certification bodies, as these must from now on be registered and accredited by national accreditation bodies belonging to the global certification/accreditation organization, IAF (International Accreditation Forum), the only internationally recognized standard bearer for all certification systems.
“As a trade attorney it is welcome news that Chinese forest products will now all be audited to IAF approved processes and procedure following ISO guidelines,” reported Ms. Sheam Satkuru-Granzella, Vice Chairman of the PEFC International Board of Directors. “There has been a general proliferation of fair trade and other certification schemes globally, some of whom require no third party auditing, and others who were not accredited to internationally-recognized national accreditation systems. The situation in China prior to the enactment of this new requirement, therefore allowed the use of auditors not following IAF and ISO guidelines.”
“This move by the Chinese authorities ensures that all Chinese forest fiber will be in line with international certification and accreditation norms, as required by the world's leader in forest certification, PEFC," continued Ms. Satkuru-Granzella.
“We will do everything we can to make the transition to these new PEFC-approved standards as seamless as possible,” said Mr. William Street, Chairman of PEFC International. “PEFC's respect for national sovereignty and our commitment to empower and support our national governing body approach means that those who are most effected by certification decisions have a direct voice and vote in how their own national and local forests are managed.”
Mr. Wang Wei, Chairman of CFCC, stated “For sustainable forest management to succeed globally, it needs to be developed and supported by stakeholders nationally. In addition, it needs global recognition to internationally recognized benchmarks for sustainable forest management and this we have achieved through PEFC. We look forward to assisting all current and new actors in China to transition to the CFCC standards over the next months.”