The paper industry is committed to sustainable forest management. 100% of the wood it processes comes from sustainable forestry. This proof is provided by forest certification systems such as PEFC and FSC.
Comparison of the certification systems
Year of foundation
Forest Certification Austria
3.1 million ha
Global forest certification
320 million ha
204 million ha
Chain of custody certification Austria
Product Chain Certification Global
Sustainable forest management as a goal
PEFC and FSC are regarded by the Austrian paper industry as equivalent certification systems. Here, the industry attaches particular importance to the areas of comparability of standards, transparency, promotion of sustainable forestry, reconciliation of interests and stakeholder integration in decisions. However, there is potential for improvement. Only a permanently improved system can meet the - constantly changing - requirements.
PEFC is committed to family forestry and was founded in Europe in 1999. The organization has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, but operates an independent national working group in each member country. It is of particular interest to small forest enterprises, often in rural ownership. The hallmark of PEFC is the regional certification, which allows forest owners to join a large-scale, existing certification scheme. Standards are set according to the principle of integrative forestry close to the level of national forest laws. The aim is not to create any additional bureaucratic burden for forest owners.
As a member of the general assembly of PEFC Austria, the paper industry actively participates in international working groups to ensure the integrity and quality of the standards. PEFC is the appropriate means to promote certification in the small-scale Austrian forestry industry.
FSC was founded in 1993 to protect the tropical forests of the global south. The organisation has its headquarters in Mexico and Germany. Standards are usually developed by national working groups, but transitional standards can also be developed by audit firms if a country does not yet have a national working group.
FSC has hardly been introduced into Austria's forests, which is also due to the rural family forestry that prevails in the Alpine Republic. FSC is particularly suitable for larger forest owners and state forests, since in addition to integrative forestry, wilderness conservation areas are to be permanently taken out of use.
In the national risk analyses prepared by FSC, decisions are often not transparent and are not taken with sufficient stakeholder integration. In a joint dialogue with FSC, a commitment was made to jointly revise the risk analyses.
New possibilities through ISO
ISO, the International Standardization Organization, has created a real alternative to FSC and PEFC with the standard "ISO 38200 Chain of custody standard for wood and wood-based products". ISO 38200 assures the traceability of wood products and enables companies to pass on other important statements certified to the customer. Certified statements on product origin, raw material procurement and processing specific properties are now possible for the first time. It is important that all statements can be quantified, measured and verified. A further differentiating feature of ISO 38200 from the above standards is the clear separation of forest standards and product chain standards. ISO 38200 only ensures traceability within the supply chain, but does not make any specific demands on forest management.
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