How to get PEFC chain of custody certified

To earn PEFC chain of custody certification, you must develop and implement procedures to account for the purchasing, tracking, manufacturing, sale and recordkeeping of certified materials.

We base PEFC chain of custody certification on best practice guidelines for certification. We use globally accepted ISO guidelines to ensure independence, transparency and impartiality of the certification process.

Preparing for certification

Which certification is right for you?

First, you’ll need to determine the scope of your certification. Which products do you want to sell with a PEFC claim or label? Are you looking at certifying a one-off project? What parts of your organization carry out chain of custody activities? Does your organization have chain of custody activities in multiple locations?

You can decide on the exact scope of your certification and we provide several tailored certification solutions if necessary, such as individual, multi-sitegroup or project certification.

Check the PEFC Chain of Custody standard version

In January 2020, PEFC published the latest versions of the PEFC Chain of Custody (ST 2002) and PEFC Trademarks (ST 2001) standards. These standards entered into force on 14 February 2020, with an 24-month transition period. This means that until 14 February 2022, there are two versions of the PEFC Chain of Custody standard: the latest version from 2020 and the older version from 2013. At this time, it is possible to be certified against either standard version.

Before starting to fulfil the PEFC chain of custody requirements, you need to choose which standard version you wish to be certified against. When making this decision, please take into consideration that certification bodies cannot provide certification services for the latest version until they have trained their auditors and adapted their procedures.

Fulfil the requirements

In order to obtain PEFC chain of custody certification, you need to fulfil certain key requirements.

Your management system outlining procedures must comply with the PEFC International Chain of Custody standard (PEFC ST 2002). You can integrate this information into the existing systems your company may have already implemented, such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 procedures.

You need to identify, brief and train the personnel responsible for performing the tasks that will affect the implementation and maintenance of the chain of custody; this includes buyers, marketing and sales personnel, among others. It is vital to ensure that everyone involved has appropriate knowledge of the purpose and requirements of chain of custody certification.

You will need to implement the necessary checks to verify that sourced material is PEFC certified – production of certified goods requires procurement of certified material. Our online database is a good resource for identifying suppliers of certified material.

You must implement processes to ensure that you have separated the production or handling of certified goods from non-certified goods, and that you have accurately accounted for the certified content in a product that contains both certified and non-certified material. Proof may be required at any stage of the process. You also need to keep records to prove that all systems comply with the requirements.

You will then have to conduct periodic reviews of your system and internal audits on an annual basis. These internal audits are in addition to external third-party audits.

The certification process

Once you have gone through all the preparatory work and set up your chain of custody system, you are ready to apply for PEFC certification.

The certification body

First, find a PEFC-recognized certification body in your country and get in contact with them. You can search for certification bodies using our online database. You will need to make an application for chain of custody certification with the certification body of your choice. 

If you have set up your chain of custody system in line with the requirements from the 2020 Chain of Custody standard, ask your chosen certification body if they are able to offer certification against this standard. Due to the 24-month transition period, some certification bodies may not yet be able to offer this certification.

Based on this application, you will receive a proposal, including a cost estimate. Certification bodies set the cost of PEFC chain of custody certification, so prices may vary by country and certification body. Most certification bodies establish their fees based on the time needed to carry out the audit. Audit time depends on a number of variables, including company size and complexity of the chain of custody. This averages between half a day and two days.

The audit

Arrange for the certification body to assess your chain of custody system against the Chain of Custody standard, checking that you have fulfilled all requirements. This will include a site visit by auditors from the certification body to assess your compliance. 

As part of the normal auditing process, the certification body may identify aspects of your chain of custody that may not comply with the requirements of the standard. Before granting you the certification, the certification body will request you to solve them within certain period of time.

The certificate

If the certification body finds your chain of custody system to be compliant with the certification requirements, they will issue you a PEFC certificate. The certificate is valid for a period of maximum five years. During that time, the certification body will carry out annual surveillance audits to confirm that your operation continues to comply with chain of custody requirements.

In order to renew your certification upon expiry of the certificate, you will be required to undergo a re-certification audit.

source: https://pefc.org/for-business/supply-chain-companies/how-to-get-certified

Use the PEFC label

Are you selling PEFC-certified products? Then you need to tell your customers about it! You can do this through the PEFC trademarks. As a PEFC chain of custody certified company, you have the right to use the PEFC label on both your PEFC-certified products and your promotional materials, such as brochures and websites. 

The PEFC label enables you to communicate your responsible practices visibly to your customers. This is becoming ever more important as consumers are increasingly conscious of the impact of their buying decisions.

The PEFC label also enables you to demonstrate your commitment to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, as well as highlighting your engagement with sustainable forest management. Furthermore, by generating awareness and demand for products from PEFC-certified forests, you are helping to increase the value of forests and therefore reduce the risk of deforestation.

PEFC labels are created quickly and easily through the online PEFC Label Generator. By using the Label Generator, you can customize the label to suit your needs, while being assured that the label remains in line with our graphic requirements.

 

The latest PEFC Trademarks standard

In January 2020, PEFC published the latest versions of the PEFC Chain of Custody (ST 2002) and PEFC Trademarks (ST 2001) standards. The PEFC Trademarks standard replaces the PEFC Logo Usage Rules standard (ST 2001:2008). These standards entered into force on 14 February 2020, with a 24-month transition period. Find out more about how the 2020 standards affect your certification.

If your company is still certified against the older PEFC Chain of Custody standard, you must continue to follow the requirements from the PEFC Logo Usage Rules standard. Once you are certified against the 2020 Chain of Custody standard, you will need to follow the requirements of the PEFC Trademarks standard. 

Companies certified against the 2020 Chain of Custody standard will gain access to the new PEFC Label Generator once they have signed a new trademarks usage contract (or accepted an amendment to their existing contract). But don’t worry, your PEFC trademarks licence number won’t change. The new Label Generator will ensure the creation of labels in line with the graphic requirements of the PEFC Trademarks standard. 

If you still have material that you produced while you were certified against the 2013 Chain of Custody standard, you can sell this remaining material using the PEFC trademarks according to the 2008 PEFC Logo Usage Rules. 

During the transition period, the current version of the Label Generator will remain online to enable companies to produce PEFC labels in line with the requirements of the 2008 PEFC Logo Usage Rules standard.

For more information, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/7c414b9b-43ab-4b07-9d83-ed3aa384303b/6443f822-2c03-58ce-a0ae-9e4867c07127.pdf

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/d1ad5a21-0267-4db4-a41b-07fd577ffdea/3abf07e8-b7f9-5f42-ba2a-9ca608ee415f.pdf

The PEFC trademarks

The PEFC trademarks cover the PEFC initials and the PEFC logo. PEFC chain of custody certified organizations have the right to use these trademarks on-product (directly, or indirectly to refer to the certified material included within a product) and off-product (for promotional purposes).

Note: This page covers the features of the PEFC trademarks as defined in the PEFC Trademarks standard published in 2020. If you are still following the requirements from the older PEFC Logo Usage Rules standard, please refer to the standard and Logo Usage Toolkit for more information.

The PEFC on-product labels

The PEFC on-product labels are only available for PEFC-certified products. They provide consumers with assurance that the forest and tree based materials within your product come from a sustainably managed forest.

You can use these labels directly on a product, as well as on the packaging of products that are PEFC certified. You can also use it on documentation associated with, or referring to, a particular PEFC-certified product, such as adverts and brochures. 

We offer two on-product labels: the PEFC certified label and the PEFC recycled label.

PEFC certified label

You can use this label on-product when at least 70% of the forest and tree based material included in your product is PEFC certified. Any remaining material must be from PEFC controlled sources, ensuring there is no forest and tree based material from controversial sources in your product.

If the product does not include recycled material, you can remove the word 'recycled' from the label message. If your product includes only forest and tree based material sourced directly from PEFC certified forests and delivered with the 'PEFC 100% Forest Origin' claim, you can remove 'recycled and controlled sources' from the label message.

You can also replace the text 'This product is' with the name of the product that is certified, for example: 'This table is...', helping to provide clear information about your certified products to your customers. If you're short on space, you can remove the label message and website, and replace the label title with the name of the product.

PEFC recycled label

If your product includes only recycled forest and tree based material, you can use our recycled label.

You can also replace the text 'This product is' with the name of the product that is certified, for example: 'This paper is...' Helping to provide clear information about your certified products to your customers. 

If you're short on space, you can remove the label message and website, and replace the label title with the name of the product.

The PEFC off-product label

As a certified company, you can use the PEFC off-product label to enhance your communication about your responsible practices, including on your website, annual and CSR reports, marketing materials, catalogues and brochures and in-store materials. It's important to note, that this label cannot be used to claim that products are certified.

This label includes the standard text ‘Promoting sustainable forest management’. However, you can use the messages listed below as alternatives (modify text in italics with appropriate term):

  • [Company name] has a PEFC certified chain of custody
  • [Company name] offers PEFC certified products
  • By sourcing PEFC, [we/company name] are supporting sustainably managed forests globally
  • By sourcing PEFC [wood/paper/packaging][we/company name] are supporting sustainably managed forests globally
  • The PEFC logo on our products ensures that our [wood/paper/packaging] comes from sustainably managed forests, recycled and controlled sources.
  • Every purchase of a PEFC-labelled product makes a difference for forests and forest communities across the world.

Note: If you are still following the requirements from the older PEFC Logo Usage Rules standard, there are two possible alternative messages:

  • “[Name of company] has a certified Chain of Custody”
  • “[Name of company] offers PEFC-certified products"

How to get the label?

 

Certified organizations with a valid PEFC trademarks usage licence can use the PEFC Label Generator to create the PEFC label. Companies that have not yet received login details for the Label Generator should contact their national PEFC member or PEFC International for more information. Certified companies that are interested in using the PEFC label but have not yet obtained a licence are encouraged to contact their national PEFC organization or PEFC International.

The legal part...

The PEFC logo and the initials "PEFC" are the exclusive property of PEFC and are internationally registered trademarks. They must be used with correct reference to the PEFC Council, PEFC members and their systems.

They cannot be used as part of, or integrated into, other trademarks or labels, within product brand names, company names or website domain names. They cannot be used together with other claims, messages or labels that can be misunderstood or misleading with regard to the qualities, characteristics, content, production process, etc. of the product they are accompanying, PEFC certification or PEFC in general.

PEFC reserves the right to refuse the use of any PEFC trademarks which does not align with PEFC’s strategic vision and mission.

Abuse

As the trademarks are a visual cue that consumers are increasingly looking for, it is vital to correct misuse of the PEFC trademarks, even if it is unintentional. We encourage anyone to report improper uses to allow us to investigate the matter.

For further information about PEFC trademarks and to report suspected trademark or label misuse, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

source: https://pefc.org/for-business/supply-chain-companies/use-the-pefc-label

The 2020 Chain of Custody and PEFC Trademarks standards

You may have noticed that in February 2020, PEFC published the latest versions of the PEFC Chain of Custody (ST 2002) and PEFC Trademarks (ST 2001) standards. But what does this mean for you as a PEFC chain of custody certified company?

Firstly, there is nothing you need to do in the short-term, as both standards have a 24-month transition period. You can continue business as normal with your certification against the 2013 version of the PEFC Chain of Custody standard – your certificate remains valid and you don’t need to change how you use the PEFC trademarks (the label).

The date you need to remember is 14 February 2022. Until this date, your audits (both annual and recertification) can continue to be done against the 2013 standard. However, your next audit after this date will need to be against the requirements in the 2020 standard. 13 February 2022 is the last date that you can be audited against the 2013 Chain of Custody standard. 

In order to be certified against the 2020 version of the standards, you will need to adapt your chain of custody management system and procedures to the revised requirements. You can see a summary of the main changes below:  

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/aaae8a0f-0975-48f9-9ef2-c0b41f9aff3f/9fe878bd-f381-5951-b6ed-b2204ccc2cb0.pdf

Once your management procedures are in line with the 2020 requirements, you should contact your certification body (or choose a new certification body) and inform them that your next audit will be against the 2020 Chain of Custody standard. 

After you have successfully passed your audit, the certification body will present you with a PEFC certificate. You will then be contacted by the PEFC national member in your country, or PEFC International, in order to sign a PEFC trademarks usage contract. If you already have one, you may simply be asked to accept an amendment to your existing contract. But don’t worry, your PEFC trademarks licence number won’t change.

Unlike the previous standard, it is now mandatory for you to sign a trademarks usage contract, even if you don’t plan on using the PEFC trademarks (though we hope you do!).

Once your trademarks usage contract is signed, you can request access to the new PEFC Label Generator, in order to start producing PEFC trademarks in line with the 2020 PEFC Trademarks standard.

Using the PEFC trademarks

The 2020 versions of the Chain of Custody and PEFC Trademarks standards are linked. This means that while you are still certified against the 2013 Chain of Custody standard, you need to continue using the PEFC trademarks in line with the 2008 PEFC Logo Usage Rules. 

Once you are certified against the 2020 Chain of Custody standard, you will need to use the PEFC trademarks in line with the 2020 PEFC Trademarks standard.

To make it easier for you, while you are certified against the 2013 Chain of Custody standard, you will continue to have access to the current version of the PEFC Label Generator (LG V1). This ensures you create PEFC labels in line with the correct graphic requirements.

Once you are certified against the 2020 Chain of Custody standard, and have signed a new trademarks usage contract (or accepted an amendment to your current contract), you can request access to the new version of the PEFC Label Generator (LG V2). LG V2 will produce PEFC labels in line with the graphic requirements on the 2020 PEFC Trademarks standard.

If you still have material that you produced while you were certified against the 2013 Chain of Custody standard, you can sell this remaining material using the PEFC trademarks according to the 2008 PEFC Logo Usage Rules. 

Please find a summary of the main changes to this standard below:

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/7c414b9b-43ab-4b07-9d83-ed3aa384303b/6443f822-2c03-58ce-a0ae-9e4867c07127.pdf

Choosing a certification body

In order for certification bodies to be able to provide certification services against the 2020 Chain of Custody standard, they need to undergo training and adapt their procedures, and get accredited against the 2020 version. For most certification bodies, this process will be ongoing throughout 2020. 

If you do decide to move to the 2020 Chain of Custody standard soon, please ensure your chosen certification body is able to provide certification against this version of the standard.

source: https://pefc.org/for-business/supply-chain-companies/moving-to-the-latest-standards

PEFC organized chain of custody training

In order to qualify for PEFC chain of custody certification according to the 2020 version of PEFC ST 2003, auditors, certification decision makers and reviewers have to attend an initial training recognized by PEFC. Once qualified, they are required to complete a refresher training once every two years and when there is a new issuance of the PEFC Chain of Custody or Trademarks standards.

This training helps ensure your personnel are up-to-date with the PEFC Chain of Custody standard and our expectations, clarifications and interpretations. It also allows us to exchange experiences and to receive valuable feedback on the implementation of the standard.

Only chain of custody training recognized by PEFC International is valid for the qualification and continued qualification of personnel. 

We organize various trainings throughout the year for auditors, reviewers and certification decision makers. These trainings are carried out by recognized PEFC International Technical Experts. 

The training

Depending on whether the training is initial or refresher, and by whom it is conducted, the training may take place in person, or online. The training fee also depends on the same factors – training announcements will always clearly identify the fee.

Our training is based on interactivity, practical examples, open question and answer sessions, and dedicated group work. This method enables auditors to benefit from the knowledge provided by our technical specialists, as well as from experience exchange between each other.

Additionally, in order to better adapt the training to the participants’ needs, participants are required to take case studies, prior to the training. Trainers will revise the case studies and adapt the training content based the needs of the participants. 

Following any training, participants will be required to complete an online knowledge test. Participants that pass the knowledge test will receive a certificate as proof of their participation in a PEFC chain of custody initial training.

Upcoming training sessions

You can find the upcoming trainings on the right and the complete list of trainings on our website. If you need more information, or if you are unsure whether a training course is PEFC-recognized, you can contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Make sure you sign up to our newsletter (at the bottom of this page) to ensure you get all the latest training news and dates, or follow us on Twitter.

Need to train multiple auditors?

If you need to train several auditors, reviewers and certification decision makers, you may want to take part in our Training Recognition Programme (TRP).

The TRP enables you to get PEFC recognition of your internal PEFC chain of custody training programme. This allows you to provide your personnel with PEFC approved training at a time that suits you.

Find out more about the Training Recognition Programme.

source: https://pefc.org/for-business/certification-and-accreditation-bodies/certification-body-training

How to offer certification for the 2020 PEFC standards

In January 2020, PEFC published the revised international standards for PEFC Chain of Custody (ST 2002), PEFC Trademarks (ST 2001) and Certification Body Requirements for Chain of Custody (ST 2003). These three standards entered into force on 14 February 2020, with an 24-month transition period.

Certification bodies need to ensure their practices are in line with the revised ST 2003:2020, and that they are accredited against both the revised ST 2002:2020 and ST 2001:2020, before they can offer PEFC chain of custody certification against the 2020 PEFC Chain of Custody standard. 

As the three standards are linked, the 2020 versions of these standards must be used together. An audit is either conducted against and according to the 2020 versions of the three revised standards, or against the three previous versions. 

For example:

  • Certification bodies can only certify against the 2020 Chain of Custody and Trademarks standards, if they do so according to the 2020 Certification Body Requirements standard.
  • A company can only use the 2020 Trademarks standard if they are certified against the 2020 PEFC Chain of Custody standard and the audit is conducted according to the 2020 Certification Body Requirements standard. 

 

Offering certification for the 2020 PEFC standards 

In order to gain accreditation for the 2020 PEFC Chain of Custody (ST 2002) and PEFC Trademarks (ST 2001) standards, your auditors, certification decision makers and reviewers need to attend a chain of custody training recognized by PEFC International. 

You also need to ensure your processes are in line with the requirements of the 2020 Certification Body Requirements standard (ST  2003).

You can find the PEFC recognized training schedule on our website. You can receive updates on the latest training opportunities by signing up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page or by following us on Twitter.

If your internal PEFC chain of custody training programme was recognized by PEFC through the PEFC Training Recognition Programme (TRP), you will need to get it recognized again before offering certification for the revised standards.

If you are interesting in participating in the TRP, either to renew your recognition or to apply for the first time, you can find more information on our website or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also sign up for the next scheduled PEFC TRP event.

For more information, please see the draft TRP guidelines.

After the transition date of 14 February 2022, no PEFC chain of custody certificates against the older version of the standard may be issued. From this date, companies certified against the older versions of the PEFC standards will have one year to adapt their systems to the 2020 versions. 

The 2020 standards and introductions to their changes

Certification Body Requirements:

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/662c02fc-e1a3-4d45-9755-c546bd645ad2/fda4062a-f875-546b-a650-d01ba3911662.pdf

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/635b959e-3065-4ae8-aaac-3a7d40bc0b9f/f5224e0c-3acb-5cac-a701-ecc0ad36f3ef.pdf

Chain of Custody:

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/aaae8a0f-0975-48f9-9ef2-c0b41f9aff3f/9fe878bd-f381-5951-b6ed-b2204ccc2cb0.pdf

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/66954288-f67f-4297-9912-5a62fcc50ddf/23621b7b-3a5d-55c9-be4d-4e6a5f61c789.pdf

PEFC Trademarks:

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/7c414b9b-43ab-4b07-9d83-ed3aa384303b/6443f822-2c03-58ce-a0ae-9e4867c07127.pdf

https://cdn.pefc.org/pefc.org/media/2020-02/d1ad5a21-0267-4db4-a41b-07fd577ffdea/3abf07e8-b7f9-5f42-ba2a-9ca608ee415f.pdf

source: https://pefc.org/for-business/certification-and-accreditation-bodies/how-to-offer-certification-for-the-revised-pefc-standards