Mission & Vision
“We are committed to conserving forests and their invaluable biodiversity, and the communities and families that own, work, and live in and around forests.”
This statement by PEFC Chairman William Street highlights our dedication to safeguarding the world’s forests. Our vision is of “a world in which people manage forests sustainably”. We are working to make this vision a reality through our mission which is “to give society confidence that people manage forests sustainably”.
Forests are among the most biodiverse and valuable ecosystems on the planet. They provide a full range of ecosystem services including:
- Provisioning services – food, medicines, fibre, biomass and wood;
- Regulatory services, including climate regulation – they are a key stage in the global water cycle, act as sinks capturing and storing carbon, and prevent soil erosion;
- Support services – habitats and shelter for people and wildlife; and
- Cultural services – spiritual and recreational benefits.
Without forests, many of these services would be completely lost, while many of the species which depend on forests would also suffer or disappear.
An estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide are believed to depend on forests and the services they provide for their livelihoods. Importantly, forestry and related industry sectors account for a significant share of the global economy.
Yet, forests are among the most vulnerable ecosystems. Threats to forests and forests landscapes include land conversion for agriculture and mining, development and urban expansion, unsustainable forestry practices and illegal logging. If forests are to continue to deliver the full range of benefits that people and nature depend on, they need to be conserved and managed sustainably. PEFC is committed to encouraging sustainable management of forests.
PEFC bases its understanding of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) on the definition adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and originally developed by Forest Europe, which defines SFM as:
“The stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.”
Under this definition, to achieve sustainability, forest management practices must result in outcomes that are
- economically viable
- ecologically sound, and
- socially just.
These three pillars cannot be divided, compartmentalized, or addressed individually. They are a unified whole. Without all three, forests cannot be protected, family foresters cannot thrive, forest-dependent communities cannot exist, illegal logging will not be abated, and carbon emissions will not be mitigated.
Forest certification provides a mechanism to address these and ensure that wood and wood-based products reaching the marketplace have been sourced from sustainably managed forests.
PEFC works to implement its mission by encouraging forest certification.
However, crucially, PEFC recognizes that the diversity of forests and of the communities that depend upon them for their livelihoods means that a “one-size-fits-all” standard is not the solution.
Furthermore, unless all concerned stakeholders are involved in sustainable management policy formulation and implementation, sustainable forest management cannot be achieved.
PEFC therefore collaborates with national forest certification systems tailored to local conditions and involving a wide range of stakeholders to encourage the delivery of sustainably sourced products to the marketplace.