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PEFC: The other timber legality framework for due diligence

When it comes to straightforward compliance with the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation the focus is usually on the FSC forest certification scheme. However, the other sustainable forest certification and labelling system that is accepted in the Regulation is often overlooked - PEFC.

PEFC stands for Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification and, as its name suggests, it's a bit more complicated than the FSC system.

While products may be labelled and marked on an invoice as PEFC certified there may be other labels involved - depending on the country of origin of the timber or paper product. That is because PEFC has endorsed 47 national systems of sustainable forest management around the world - including Australia.

While some national systems have gone with using the PEFC acronym (for example PEFC Canada, PEFC France) others have their own name, acronyms and logo. In Australia, the endorsed system is called Responsible Wood. In Chile (a source of a lot of radiata pine) the endorsed system is called CERTFOR and in Malaysia it is MTCC. In Canada and the USA SFI is one of the endorsed sustainable forest management systems. There is even an endorsed system in China though certified product volumes are currently low.

This can get very confusing pretty fast if your product has used wood from a number of countries! From an Australian importers perspective, the important thing is that there is a claim on any invoice or delivery documents that complies with the PEFC endorsed standards.

You can go here to get a list of all the systems PEFC have endorsed here

Contact Stephen Mitchell Associates to assist you in undertaking a risk assessment, setting up a due diligence system or responding to a request for information from the Department of Agriculture. Call +61 2 8006 8850 or email

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