The forest certification process is designed to provide independent verification to buyers and users of forest-based products that the wood raw material used for the products they buy is legally sourced and originates from sustainably managed forests.
Certified forests are to meet clearly defined prescribed standards and criteria of sustainability, which are defined in open and transparent stakeholder processes. System audits are conducted by independent third-party verifiers.
Forest certification is an effective tool to combat deforestation and illegal logging. Wherever applied, it promotes good governance, due diligence and social justice. However, the sustainability challenge remains considerable as globally only about 10% of the world’s forests are certified. Every effort should be made to increase the amount of certified forests worldwide.
The two main global forest certification schemes are the PEFC™ (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council).
Both the PEFC and FSC are international, non-profit, non-governmental organisations dedicated to promoting legal and sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. Moreover, both have internationally agreed principles to ensure that timber is produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards.
From an ecological point of view, there are no major differences between PEFC and FSC. PEFC-based schemes are more common in non-industrial, private and small-scale forests whereas FSC is more common in large-scale forestry.
UPM’s forest certification rules set the basis for the use of forest certification as a tool to promote sustainable forest management practices in forestry and wood sourcing activities.
Knowing the origin of the wood is a fundamental prerequisite for responsible wood sourcing. The traceability and certified CoC systems ensure that the origin of wood is always known, the wood originates from legal and sustainable sources, and that the amount of certified wood is properly documented. In 2016, of all wood and wood fibre used in UPM’s production units, 84% was certified.
UPM CoC and Forest management certificates can be found from UPM's Certificate Finder.
The majority of the privately owned forests under UPM management are certified by the PEFC in Finland, and by the FSC and PEFC in in Uruguay. UPM offers private forest owners PEFC and FSC group certificates in Finland and FSC in Uruguay.
Over the years UPM has actively participated in updating and developing forest certification standards and standardisation processes. UPM maintains that credible forest certification schemes and standards have to be based on internationally accepted principles of sustainable forestry, and local circumstances are to be taken into account in criteria setting. Moreover, criteria have to be clear, objective and measurable. The standards must allow cost-effective implementation, and the verification has to be carried out by an independent third party. The standard setting processes should be open and consensus-seeking by nature, and rest on balanced stakeholder participation.
Forest certification systems cover the forest product chains from the forest to the end-use.