The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) International has recognised Responsible Wood, a non-profit Australian forest certification organisation, as the leader in growth of PEFC-certified forests globally.
Every year, PEFC International awards PEFC members that have achieved the biggest increase in PEFC-certified forest area and PEFC chain of custody certificates.
In 2021, the awards for highest growth in certified hectares went to Australia thanks to an increase of 5 million ha. This is a 40% increase, with the Australian forest bodies reaching over 16 million hectares. The Responsible Wood’s gold milestone was recognised at the 26th PEFC General Assembly as representatives met remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a great credit to the PEFC system and its effectiveness, so thank you very much for the award,” said Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood.
Reflecting on the award, Mr Dorries noted the important role Australia had played in growing the scheme: “This marked an incredibly important milestone and, from 2004 onwards, the PEFC family has grown globally with many countries joining the PEFC alliance.”
Second place went to PEFC Russia, with an increase of more than 1.3 million ha, with PEFC Germany in bronze position thanks to a growth of more than 900,000 ha.
“The past years have put forests at the centre of key global debates, especially in combating climate change,” said Rojas Briales, the new chairman of PEFC International. “This unprecedented fact provides huge opportunities to share broadly the expertise accrued in the PEFC family with key stakeholders in these deliberations.”
Briales continued: “Locally-anchored forest management by families, communities, or indigenous peoples, as well as by other private and public players, is the backbone of PEFC. There is no other organisation world-wide that represents the forest community in an integrated manner like the PEFC.”
Today, PEFC has more than 325 million ha of global forest area under certification with more than 16 million ha of defined forest area in Australia alone. In Australia, more than 90% of all commercial forest area is covered by Responsible Wood certification, a combination of native forest and plantation forests.