PEFC invites feedback on Russia's compliance with sustainability benchmarks after country applies for re-endorsement of national voluntary forest certification system; 580,000 hectares have been certified since Russia first achieved endorsement in 2009

GENEVA , March 6, 2014 (press release) – The Russian National Voluntary Forest Certification System is the latest system to seek PEFC re-endorsement and stakeholders globally are invited to provide feedback on its compliance with PEFC International's Sustainability Benchmarks by 3 May 2014.

With PEFC International limiting the validity of endorsements to five years, national systems must be revised in multi-stakeholder processes and apply for re-endorsement to continue benefitting from PEFC recognition.

This will be the first time that PEFC Russia has applied for the re-endorsement of its system after first achieving endorsement in 2009. Since then, over 580,000 hectares of forests have become PEFC certified in the country.

With the Russian Federation containing an estimated 800 million hectares of forest, the equivalent to over 20% of the world's forest area and more than Canada and Brazil combined, the continued development and increase of sustainable forest management in the country will have considerable environmental, social and economic benefits.

As part of the endorsement process, PEFC seeks comments and feedback from all interested parties to ensure full compliance of the national system with PEFC's Sustainability Benchmark during a 60-day global public consultation.

“PEFC has arguably the most rigorous assessment process for national certification systems seeking recognition at international level,” said Ben Gunneberg, PEFC International Secretary General, “The consultation period is a vital part of the assessment process of all national systems that are seeking endorsement or re-endorsement by PEFC.”

All comments received during the global public consultation will provide valuable information for the third-party assessor in determining whether the revised Russian National Voluntary Forest Certification System is in compliance with international requirements.

Interested stakeholders are invited to use PEFC's Online Consultation Tool to provide comments on the Russian National Voluntary Forest Certification System by 3 May 2014.

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