The PEFC Council is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999 which promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification. The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests.
PEFC is a global umbrella organisation for the assessment of and mutual recognition of national forest certification schemes developed in a multi-stakeholder process. These national schemes build upon the inter-governmental processes for the promotion of sustainable forest management, a series of on-going mechanisms supported by 149 governments in the world covering 85% of the world's forest area.
PEFC has in its membership 35 independent national forest certification schemes of which 28 to date have been through a rigorous assessment process involving public consultation and the use of independent consultants to provide the assessments on which mutual recognition decisions are taken by the membership. These 28 schemes account for about 200 million hectares of certified forests producing millions of tons of certified timber to the market place making PEFC the world's largest certification scheme. The other national member schemes are at various stages of development and are working towards mutual recognition under the PEFC processes.