The certification schemes are being reviewed for compliance with the criteria for legality and sustainability
The UK government currently requires all timber and wood derived products that it buys to come from legal and preferably sustainable sources. One way of providing assurance that these requirements have been met is by supplying products which are certified under an acceptable timber certification scheme. This is referred to as Category A evidence. In order to establish which timber certification schemes are acceptable, a set of criteria for legality and sustainability has been developed which schemes can be assessed against.
There are currently five forest certification schemes (FSC, PEFC, CSA, SFI and MTCC) approved as 'Category A evidence'. The schemes are reviewed biennially to ensure that they continue to merit their current scores and the 2008 review has now been initiated. The results of the reviews are used to update guidance for UK government procurement in terms of which certification schemes provide assurance of legality and sustainability.
For each of the relevant schemes, CPET has now collated information relevant to compliance with each CPET criterion (as set out in the current version of ‘Criteria for assessing certification schemes (Category A evidence)’). The information collated is now with the schemes for comments and to ensure that the assessment is based on the most up-to-date documents. Several schemes have made changes to their standards in the past two years and it is therefore important that the latest documents are referred to.
CPET have publicly announced the review of the schemes and invited stakeholders to comment on the schemes. Comments must be relevant to specific criteria and relate to the documented scheme requirements or system implementation. Comments referring to the actual outcomes of certification in the forest cannot be considered. In order to be used in the review process, comments must be supported by objective verifiable evidence. If further information or clarification is required, the party that submitted the comment may be contacted, particularly where there are discrepancies between information received from stakeholders and from schemes.
If you wish to comment please do so via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 14 June 2008 and use the response form available here.
The assessment methodology has been amended since the 2006 review; a technical review panel of 4 experts has been convened. The technical review panel members have been selected on the basis of their certification expertise and experience, independence from individual certification schemes, and in order to provide external input to the CPET findings. CPET is convening and facilitating a physical meeting of the technical review panel in July to finalise the results of the reviews for each scheme. The panel will seek to reach consensus but, where this is not possible, the range of views will be reported.
The final results from the technical review panel will be discussed with the CPET Reference Board. Any recommended changes to previous results, and their implications for assurance of legality and sustainability, will be specifically discussed. The outcome of this discussion will be reviewed by Defra who will make a final decision on the results. The final results are currently expected to be available in September, when they will be notified to the schemes and made publicly available on the CPET website. If the results change the scheme’s status, in terms of delivering assurance of compliance with the government’s requirements for legality or sustainability, CPET will take appropriate action to amend purchasing guidance and notify public sector buyers.
More information on the review is available here.