Assessment of PEFC national schemes to confirm implementation of changes
The Government decided in August 2005 that forests certified against the requirements of any endorsed PEFC national schemes meet UK Government requirements for legal and sustainable timber. However, this decision was made following changes to the PEFC scheme, prior to the implementation of these changes by national schemes being completed. Therefore a public commitment was made to assess the adoption of these changes by national schemes within a reasonable timeframe.
This announcement confirms that the assessment of PEFC national schemes to check the implementation of required changes will take place in January 2006. If this assessment finds that changes to the PEFC systems have been adopted as planned, PEFC will be confirmed as delivering assurance of both legality and sustainability. If the changes have not been adopted by all national schemes, PEFC will be confirmed as delivering assurance of legality only.
The assessments of PEFC national schemes will be undertaken on the basis of the scheme requirements, as set out in the publicly available documentation for each scheme. The scope of the assessment of national schemes will examine only the three assessment criteria which the PEFC scheme initially failed to deliver. No assessments of the implementation of documented systems, nor of the actual outcome of certification in the forest, will be made.
The five selected national schemes for assessment are as follows:
Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, Italy.
In addition, other national schemes where the national standard has recently been endorsed, or where a standard revision process is in-progress or has been announced, will also be assessed against the relevant criterion.
Comments are invited by 16 January 2006 from interested parties on the schemes to be assessed. All comments received will be acknowledged. Only comments pertinent to the scope of the assessments, i.e. the compliance of the scheme’s documented systems with the specific criteria, can be considered during the document review.