Difference between FSC® and PEFC



There are a number of schemes in place to not only protect the world’s forests now but to also ensure a responsible supply of timber for future generations. Here we  look at the two most prominent schemes for responsibly sourced timber: FSC® and PEFC and the Australian Forestry Scheme .

What is ‘FSC®’ ?
Most of us will recognise the FSC® logo from everyday products made from wood and paper, from shopping receipts to toilet paper. But what does it really mean? FSC® stands for the ‘Forest Stewardship Council®’. It is an international non-profit organisation that is dedicated to promoting responsible forestry practices.

The FSC® system is made up of two parts:

  • Forest Management Certification. This ensures that forests are inspected and certified in line with their ’10 Principles of Forest Stewardship®’ (
  • Chain of Custody Certification. This tracks timber products from the forest they are sourced from, right the way through to the end product. This assures the customer or end user that the product they have received is responsibly sourced and not obtained illegally or unethically. The Chain of Custody certification is managed through regular audits and careful monitoring of all paperwork for timber products.

What is ‘PEFC’ ?
PEFC (or ‘Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification’) is actually very similar to the FSC® system. It too is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forestry practices.

Like the FSC® system, PEFC has Sustainable Forest Management certification to maintain responsible management practices for forests. PEFC also has a Chain of Custody scheme which tracks timber from its origin forest, allowing companies to make accurate and verifiable claims about its timber materials.

So what’s the difference between FSC® and PEFC?
Whilst FSC® sets specific standards; PEFC is more of an umbrella brand incorporating different national certification schemes and covers a much larger area than FSC®. Ultimately the end goals are the same. Both provide schemes to protect forests and ensure end users get the responsibly sourced timber they requested.

What is AFS Ltd (Australian Forestry Standard) ?

AFS Ltd is the PEFC National Governing Body for Australia and the Australian Forest Certification Scheme has been endorsed by the PEFC. Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (AFS Ltd) oversees the operation of the Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFCS). The Scheme is made up to two Australian Standards, the Australian Standard® for Sustainable forest management (AS4708) and the Australian Standard® for Chain of custody for certified wood and forest products (AS4707).

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