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Certification of forestland and certified forest products markets continue growing in the UNECE region in 2003

Published: 01 March 2005

Geneva
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) just released the UNECE/FAO Forest Certification Update for the UNECE Region, 2003. It covers developments in certification of sustainable forest management and certified forest products markets in the UNECE region of Europe, North America and the CIS countries. Its main findings are:

  • Currently, third-party certified forest area under Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and American Tree Farm System (ATFS) worldwide is over 171 million hectares.

  • The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region accounts for approximately 163.7 million hectares of these third-party certified forest areas and the distribution is as follows: FSC 33.1 million hectares, PEFC 49.5 million hectares, SFI 42.2 million hectares, CSA 28.4 million hectares, and the ATFS 10.5 million hectares.

  • Currently, there are about 4,100 chain of custody certificates which have been issued worldwide and the distribution is as follows: FSC 2,853, PEFC 1,204 and CSA 44. However, there is the apparent convergence of the multiple sources of chain of custody certificates into two main sources (i.e. PEFC and FSC).

  • Regarding mutual recognition, conflicts remained, yet at the same time much happened by way of cooperation and endorsements. All the major forest certification schemes in the UNECE region (except FSC) are congregating under the PEFC by seeking its endorsement.

  • Spain and Romania had FSC certification for the first time between mid 2002 and 2003 while the Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark and Spain had PEFC-certified forestland for the first time in the same period.

  • The countries which are the main sources of the supply of certified forest products are Sweden, Finland and Germany, and the most important export markets for certified forest products are considered to be the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands.

  • FSC-certified forest products are still estimated to have the largest proportion of demand (71%) although the PEFC certified forest products demand (29%) seems to have increased over the years.

  • Supply and demand of certified timber from the UNECE region is moving towards a balance.

  • The situation in the marketplace is more of a supply-push rather than a demand-pull and that is likely to be the status quo until the various forest certification schemes direct public relations efforts towards the consumers.

  • There are clear indications that the number of chain of custody certificates issued could increase quite fast in the coming years.

  • The most significant and the most widely used government measure in support of forest certification in the UNECE region has been the policy of public procurement but its use is seen to be in an indirect, rather than a direct way.


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“Forest Certification Update for the UNECE Region, 2003” is the sixth in a series of UNECE/FAO Geneva Timber and Forest Discussion Papers to present developments in certification of sustainable forest management in the UNECE region of Europe, North America and the Commonwealth of Independent States. This update for 2003 has chapters on developments in the major international certification systems, mutual recognition between systems, status of forest certification, status of the marketplace for certified forest products, consumer behaviour and forest certification, government policies and forest certification, future developments and a list of references.

Copies of the Certification Discussion Paper may be obtained from the web site homepage of the UNECE Timber Committee and the FAO European Forestry Commission, or from the postal address below. For further information please contact:

Mr. Ed Pepke

Forest Products Marketing Specialist
UNECE/FAO Timber Branch
Trade Development and Timber Division
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Palais des Nations
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: +41 (0) 22 917 2872
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 0041
E-mail: info.timber@unece.org
Web site: www.unece.org/trade/timber

Ref: ECE/TIM/05/P01


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

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