Cooperative Program in Forest Certification

FAQ about Forest certification

Among the main issues related to the theme forest certification include the following:

  • What is forest certification?
  • The forest certification is a process that aims to contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources through the promotion of good forest management, represented by being environmentally friendly, socially beneficial and economically viable.

    Through forest certification seeks to promote responsible consumption, respect for rights and support for better conditions for workers and local peoples who live in the forest, the valuation of raw material extracted in a responsible manner, respecting the forestry legislation, the not contributing to deforestation in the Amazon, among many other benefits of responsible forest management, taken as a means of providing future generations a forest sector more environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial. 

    It is important to remember that forest certification does not guarantee the price or quality of the certified product.

  • What are the existing systems of forest certification in Brazil?
  • Currently there are two forest certification systems in force in Brazil, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and CERFLOR.

    The certification system of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council, in Portuguese) was created in 1993 and is currently the forest certification system with greater international acceptance. His principles and criteria were established through extensive public consultation involving representatives of the environmental, economic and social development.

    CERFLOR was created in 1996 by the Brazilian Society of Silviculture (SBS) in partnership with other institutions in the area, aiming to provide for national companies a forest certification standard applied to its realities. The accrediting body of CERFLOR is the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (Inmetro), are internationally recognized by PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes).

  • How does the process of forest certification?
  • The certification process begins as a voluntary initiative of the owners of forest operations and/or forest managers from enterprises that manage natural forests or plantations of large landowners and small communities, for logging purposes or for the extraction of non-timber forest products (NTFPs).

    The candidate for certification in contact with the certification (accredited by the certification system desired) for more information about the processes and costs involved in forest certification and may also schedule a pre-assessment of its forest management. The pre-evaluation is not an obligatory step in the certification process, but can guide the enterprise responsible for the adherence of its forest management in relation to the standard of certification implemented, avoiding the existence of pre-conditions at the time of evaluation.

    After signing a contract with the certification, a public consultation is held to publicize the application process of forest certification and to gather views from local people and other stakeholders on the scope of the project and who can help with the process. Then, the certifier will review the documentation prior venture, also a structured evaluation audit, which will be verified compliance with the Principles and Criteria established by the standard certification (through field visits, interviews, document analysis, etc.) together with the results obtained during the public consultation.

    With the results of the evaluation audit, the audit team responsible for the certification process will prepare reports to be submitted to the leaders of the venture, which will contain the pre-conditions (points that need to be resolved before the project to receive certification), conditions (items that can be solved over time) and observations (points that can become corrective actions in the future). In the case of the existence of pre-conditions, the development will have a deadline to resolve them again and ask the certifier for a final check.

    Then, the final report is reviewed by experts (peer review), viewed as external auditors of the certification process for decision making on whether to authorize the use of certification and seal. In the case of new development be approved to obtain forest certification, the certifier should write a brief audience with the main aspects of the audit assessment and make it publicly available.

    After obtaining certification, the project will annually by the monitoring process of forest certification to be held by the certifier, as a way to demonstrate the continuing commitment of the enterprise as their certification and use of the seal.

    In the case of complaints of noncompliance with the aspects related to the current standard of forest certification, the certifier may conduct unscheduled audits to clarify the notes.

    In summary, the 10 steps of a process of forest certification are:

  • Contact a certifier (organization accredited by forest certification system);
  • Conducting pre-assessment (optional);
  • Conducting public consultation;
  • Conducting an audit to assess forest certification;
  • Fulfillment of prerequisites for forest certification (if any);
  • Preparation and external review of audit report of the evaluation;
  • Signing of the forest certification;
  • Availability and dissemination of public summary of the audit assessment;
  • Audit of annual monitoring certification;
  • Annual availability and dissemination of public summaries relating to audits of monitoring of certification;

  • Why would a company seeks to forest certification?
  • The forest certification is an internationally recognized tool for promoting actions to conserve natural resources, aligned with the generation of social benefits, against a backdrop of economic sustainability. Thus, several objectives can motivate a company to apply for forest certification, including:
    - Competitiveness: in a globalized market, forest certification also becomes a marketing tool linked the origin of products and byproducts from the forest, to promote tiered pricing for certified products that attest to the good management of their forests of origin - although the differentiation the price is not a rule;
    - Expansion of the market: many businesses and markets (especially international) restrict or prioritize their business with companies that own the forest certification of its products, understanding the relevance of the criteria that the company had to meet to purchase the stamp;
    - "Marketing-green": a socio-environmental concerns of the company that makes it stand out from the others, improving their corporate image;
    - Easier access to credit and financing: many funding agencies to consider forest certification as a prerequisite or an advantage for the acquisition of certain lines of credit, by rewarding the commitment of companies aligned with the theme of sustainability;
    - Sustainable performance: companies seeking to operate sustainably can find in the forest certification a way to promote actions that value the environment and society.

  • What is certification of forest management?
  • The forest management operations (e.g. planting, fertilizing, fighting pests and diseases, harvesting, etc.) for a given forest management unit will be assessed in relation to their environmental, social and economic rights, in accordance with the applicable certification standard the reality of the management and development activities.  

  • What is chain of custody certification?
  • The chain-of-custody is the process that enables a product of forest origin is traced from its origin, through the steps of harvesting, processing, and storage until its sale. The goal of this process is to ensure that certified forest products are not mixed with non-certified forest products.

  • What types of products that can carry the FSC label?
  • Such products can be divided into three types:
    FSC Pure product - made only with certified wood proved.
    FSC Recycled product - made only with raw material recycled or reclaimed post-consumer.
    FSC Mixed product - made with certified wood part and with non-certified timber part, but of controlled origin.

  • What is controlled wood?
  • According to the FSC specifications is timber harvested under the following conditions:
    - Areas where no civil or traditional rights were violated;
    - Out of the forest of high conservation value;
    - Outside of areas of illegal logging;
    - That does not originate from genetically modified trees.

  • What is credit system?
  • The credit system refers to a possibility within the standard chain-of-custody is effected where the amount of accounts of certified raw material that goes into the process and composition of the product that leaves the industry with the label (e.g. . very common situation in pulp production is certified, where certified material is mixed with non-certified material during its formation process), evaluating the process on the optical amount of certified material in the beginning and end of the process.

  • What is the audit process for assessing forest certification?
  • The beginning of the evaluation process for forest certification is the determination of a multidisciplinary team of auditors who are part of the technical certifying staff, chosen according to the type and complexity of the project being evaluated. Then the team of auditors responsible for assessing analyzes documentation and other materials of operation applying for certification to obtain more knowledge about the structure and activities of the same. The next step relates to the audit field, where the development will have its forest management operations evaluated in relation to compliance with the Principles and Criteria for the certification standard established for evaluation of the project - this includes auditing conference in field operations, analysis of documents and protocols and meetings with employees of the enterprise and the surrounding communities.

  • What is the audit process for monitoring forest certification?
  • For the maintenance of forest certification is necessary to conduct annual monitoring of the enterprise license, which will evaluate continuing compliance with the certification standard, and corrective actions arising from the previous evaluation / monitoring.

  • What is corrective actions?
  • Corrective Actions (CA) are guidelines to be given the disagreements over the principles and criteria of the certification standard in which the project is approved. These actions are presented by means of Non-Compliance Reports (NCRs), formerly known by the acronym CARs (Corrective Action Requests). In the context of urgency for compliance, they can be classified in Major CA (with a maximum term of service for 03 months) and CA Minor (with a maximum term of service for 01 years, usually having its estimated completion in the next audit tracking). Failure of adequate CA's can lead to loss of license.

  • What is SLIMF certification?
  • Certification SLIMF (Small and Low Intensity Managed Forests), or Forest Management in Small Area and / or Handling of Low Intensity in adapting the concept to the Portuguese language, refers to the simplified procedures for FSC audit for enterprises that meet the criteria small area or low-intensity management (e.g. small farmers, communities, producers of non-timber forest products).

  • How long is the validity of a certificate?
  • The approval of the enterprise as a standard used in their evaluation audit of forest certification allows the signing of a contract to use the stamp for 05 years, provided it is carried out annual monitoring of its forest management and / or chain-of-custody, and hence the completion of corrective actions resulting from these processes.

  • Why join the CPFC?
  • Cooperative Program in Forest Certification (CPFC) acts as facilitator and coordinator in the setting of forest certification in Brazil, through proactive actions that meet the interests of its affiliates and partners.

    The main objectives of the program are:
    - Follow the interests of companies with the certification systems;
    - Articulating actions between forestry companies and other relevant institutions, national and international;
    - Seek competitive opportunities for certified companies.
    Become an affiliate to CPFC could facilitate the conduct of the company forward to its forest certification systems, and strengthen initiatives to update and adapt the standards for certification of their reality and demands.

    CPFC is placed at disposal for further information
    on the subject and the program through e-mail

    Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudos Florestais
    Via Comendador Pedro Morganti, 3500 - Bairro Monte Alegre
    CEP: 13415-000 - Piracicaba, SP - Brasil
    Reprodução permitida desde que citada a fonte.