FSC, PEFC, GiB, what’s it all mean?

These 3 certifications all relate to sustainability and traceability, but what’s the difference between them?

FSC – Forest Stewardship Council

Set up in 1993 and is a global certification system to identify and purchase timber from well-managed and sustainable forests.

It was originally developed to counteract illegal logging of tropical hardwoods, and for this reason there are very strict controls for growers and processors.

However, this has had the effect of British growers starting to relinquish their certification, as the demand for British timber has been sufficient to ensure a ready market for uncertified timber.

 

PEFC – Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification

Set up in 1999 and is similar to FSC, widely used in Europe but not always accepted in the UK as a valid alternative to FSC.

Many think PEFC does not provide the same level of assurance as FSC certification as FSC operates with five categories of controversial material which must be excluded from FSC operated products. Controlled wood must meet the following basic requirements: 1) The origin of the material must be known and 2) The wood must not come from sources classified as controversial by FSC (see table below).

  • Illegally harvested wood
  • Wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
  • Wood harvested in forests where globally significant conservation values are threatened by management activities
  • Wood harvested in forests and converted to plantations or non-forest use
  • Wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted

GiB – Grown in Britain

Set up in 2012 specifically to certify the home grown supply chain so it can compete with imports. Grown in Britain also promotes the sustainable management of our woods for people, wildlife, water and the array of forest products that they provide.

Supply chain leaders such as Forestry Commission and Willmott Dixon etc sit on the board of this not for profit organisation that puts all its surplus into research and development to aid the homegrown sector

The four key traceability elements for eligible GiB products are:

  • UK provenance
  • Legally felled
  • Virgin timber is sourced from woodlands or forests that are managed to the UK Forestry Standard
  • Existence of an effective traceability system for inputs and outputs

Only the Grown in Britain logo provides obvious and visible independent assurance that the timber product comes from sustainably managed UK woodlands.

All three certification systems rely on a transparent and audited chain of custody.

Landmark are unique in the UK as being the only sign maker to hold both GiB and FSC certification. We love working with this most sustainable of materials and are committed to protecting the world’s woodlands for health, wildlife, pleasure and business.