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Glossary for Forestry certification

Accreditation

 

A procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a person or body is competent to carry out specific tasks (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Accreditation body

 

Legal or administrative entity that conducts and administers an accreditation system and grants accreditation. It may be an organisation, authority, company or foundation (based on ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Accreditation criteria

 

Set of requirements that is used by an accreditation body to be fulfilled by a conformity assessment body in order to be accredited (based on ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Accreditation principles

 

Set of principles established by a recognition scheme (e.g. the Pan European Forest Certification scheme, or Keurhout scheme) for the recognition of accreditation bodies.

 
     

Accreditation system

 

System that has its own rules of procedure and management for carrying out accreditation (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
 
 

Batch

 

The quantity of wood raw material or of intermediate or finished product which is quantified as being work in progress between the first day and the last day of the relevant batch period and subsequently delivered as an identified batch or parts of a batch to one or more processors, traders or users.

 
     

Batch period

 

The period within which a batch of wood material is processed, or a batch of finished product is manufactured, within a single processing or manufacturing plant.

 
     

Biological diversity or biodiversity

 

The variety of life on earth. In practical terms, biodiversity comprises genes, species and ecosystems. Genetic diversity refers to the variation within or between populations of the same species; species diversity refers to the number of different species of plant or animal (including micro-organisms) in a site or habitat; ecosystem diversity refers to the variety of ecosystems, habitats, forest types or communities, each of which is composed of a distinctive set of genes and species, and of distinctive elements of soil and climate.

 
     

Brundtland report

 

The concept of sustainability grew out of the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development  chaired by Prime Minister Brundtland of Norway.  This report defined sustainable development as “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

 
     

Certificate of conformity

 

Document issued under the rules of a certification system by which a certification body grants to a person or body the right to use certificates or marks of conformity for its products, processes or services in accordance with the rules of the relevant certification scheme (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Certification

 

Procedure by which a third party gives written assurance that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Certification applicant

 

The organisation, defined forest area or individual which is assessed for conformity with a forest certification standard.

 
     

Certification body

 

Legal or administrative entity with tasks and composition established to conduct certification. It may be an organisation, authority, company or foundation (based on ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Chain of custody

 

All the changes of custodianship of forest products during the harvesting, transportation, processing and distribution chain from the forest to the end-use.

 
     

Chain of custody certificate

 

A certificate that confirms the origin of wood raw material, and products thereof. With a chain of custody certificate a producer/trader may verify that wood raw material used in products comes from certified forests.

 
     

Complaints procedures

 

Refers to all "policies and procedures for the resolution of complaints, appeals and disputes" refered to in ISO Guidelines 61 and 62 for accreditation bodies and certification bodies respectively. Also refers to additional procedures that may have been developed by forest certification schemes designed to address complaints, usually from other members of the certification scheme, that may not be otherwise resolved by the accreditation and certification bodies.

 
     

Conformity assessment

 

Any activity concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements are fulfilled. (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996)

 
     

Conformity assessment scheme

 

A conformity assessment system as related to specified products, processes or services to which the same particular standards and rules, and the same procedure apply (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Conformity assessment system

 

System that has its own rules of procedure and management for carrying out conformity assessment (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Consensus

 

General agreement, characterised by the absence of sustained opposition to substantial issues by any important part of the concerned interests and by a process that involves seeking to take into account the views of all parties concerned and to reconcile any conflicting arguments. Note consensus need not imply unanimity. (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Consultative body

 

Refers to stakeholders that were consulted and kept regularly informed during the development of the forest certification standard, that provided comments and whose views were considered during the development of the standard.

 
     

Criterion

 

A principle or standard used as a basis for judgment. A criterion can be seen as a ‘second order’ principle, one that adds meaning and operationality to a principle without itself being a direct measure of performance.

 
     

Decision making body

 

Refers to stakeholders that had decision making powers during the forest certification standards setting process through, for example, representation or membership voting rights on the standards-setting body.

 
     

Endangered species

 

Any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

 
     

Enhancement of the landscape and aesthetic value of forest

 

A wide range of measures may be taken to enhance the landscape and aesthetic value of forest, for example careful planning of planting operations to ensure forests blend into the landscape, choice of species that enhance the appearance of landscapes, and laying of forest roads to avoid major blemishes on the landscape.

 
     

Environmental claim

 

A term encompassing both environmental declarations and labels which according to ISO have the following goal: "through communication of verifiable, accurate information, that is not misleading, on environmental aspects of products, to encourage demand for and supply of those products that cause less stress to the environment, thereby stimulating the potential for market driven continual environmental improvement".

 
     

Environmental Management System

 

The part of the overall management system that includes organisational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the environmental policy.

 
     

Environmental Management System Standard

 

A formal standard against which an organisations Environmental Management System may be assessed. The main examples are ISO14001 and the European Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) .

 
     

Environmental performance

 

Measurable results of an environmental management system.

 
     

Exotic tree species

 

An introduced species not native or endemic to the area in question.

 
     

First party assessment

 

A self-declaration by the producer that it meets the requirements of a certain standard. There is no independent oversight agency for first party assessment.

 
     

Follow-up surveillance

 

The on-going process following award of a certificate whereby the certification body monitors continued compliance with the standard, any comments or complaints from the stakeholders and actions taken to address any outstanding corrective actions identified during the initial certification process.

 
     

Forest certification

 

Procedure by which a third party gives written assurance that a forestry organisation, defined area of forest, or forest manager conforms to specified requirements (based on ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Forest certification scheme

 

A system of standards, rules and procedures for assessing conformity with specified forestry requirements. A forest certification scheme comprises at least four elements: 1) forest certification standards; 2) forest certification; 3) accreditation of forest certification bodies; and 4) a mechanism to control environmental claims relating to forest management. See individual entries for definition of each element.

 
     

Forest certification standard

 

According to ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996, a standard is a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognised body, that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context. In this instance the context is forestry.

 
     

Forest certification standards setting body

 

Organisation responsible for the setting of national, regional or provincial forest certification standards.

 
     

Forest certification standards setting process

 

Procedures implemented by a national (or regional/provincial) forest certification standards-setting body. These include procedures: to ensure transparency; to ensure accessibility to interested parties; for the handling of complaints relating to the setting of certification standards; for formal approval of standards; and for the periodic review of standards.

 
     

Forest certification standards-setting requirements

 

Requirements established by an international recognition body for setting of national (or regional/provincial) forest certification standards.

 
     

Forest management (or systems) standard

 

A distinction is sometimes made between forest management (or systems) standards and forest performance standards. Forest management standards specify the management processes which a forestry organisation must adopt in order to be certified. For example, a forestry organisation may have to demonstrate that it has an environmental policy and has developed procedures to ensure implementation. See also forest performance standards.

 
     

Forest management planning

 

The process of drawing up a document containing pertinent information and prescriptions by means of which forest policy, aims, and objectives are translated into a continuity of specific treatments on a forest management unit for a specified period of years.

 
     

Forest management unit

 

An area of forest under a single or common system of forest management

 
     

Forest monitoring

 

The process of collecting, analysing, summarising and reporting data on forest condition and on the effect of forest operations over an extended period of time.

 
     

Forest operations

 

Activities in the forest, such as harvesting and roading, carried out as part of forest management

 
     

Forest outcomes

 

Impact of forest operations on the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural values of the forest

 
     

Forest performance standard

 

A distinction is sometimes made between forest performance standards and forest management (or systems standards). Forest performance standards specify the results that a forest organisation must achieve in order to be certified. For example, a forestry organisation may have to demonstrate that it has left a 50m buffer zone around rivers; or that clearcuts can exceed no more than 50 hectares in size. See separate entry for forest management standards.

 
     

Genetically modified organism

 

Genetic modification involves taking the hereditable information found in DNA of genes from animals, plants, or microbes and inserting this information into another cell. This information is then transferred along the cell's normal biochemical processes to produce proteins that eventually results in the desired hereditable characteristic being exhibited. Genetic modification can place the exact genetic information desired of one species into another species. Genetically modified organisms do not include products of vegetative propagation or tree breeding.

 
     

Governing Body (of forest certification schemes)

 

The body which oversees the implementation of the certification scheme. Its function will vary depending upon the structure of the scheme. The governing body should provide a point of contact for public enquiries regarding the scheme.

 
     

Group certification

 

Certification of a defined forest area owned by several owners.

 
     

Harmonisation

 

A process whereby national or regional standards and requirements are aligned, including product and manufacturing standards and conformance assessment requirements. Harmonisation does not necessarily mean that standards need to be identical in each jurisdiction, but rather that they are consistent or compatible so there is no barrier to trade.

 
     

Harmonised standards/equivalent standards

 

Standards on the same subject approved by different standardising bodies, that establish interchangeability of products, processes and services, or mutual understanding of test results, or information provided according to these standards. Note that within this definition, harmonised standards might have differences in presentation and even in substance e.g. in explanatory notes, guidance, on how to fulfil the requirements of the standard, preferences for alternatives and varieties. (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Indicator

 

An indicator is any variable or component of the forest ecosystem or management system used to infer the status of a particular criterion. Indicators should convey a single meaningful message.

 
     

International Accreditation Forum (IAF)

 

The International Accreditation Forum, Inc. (IAF) is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment. Its primary function is to develop a single worldwide program of conformity assessment which reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited certificates may be relied upon. IAF members accredit certification or registration bodies that issue certificates attesting that an organisation's management, products or personnel comply with a specified standard (called conformity assessment). IAF accreditation body member programs must be in accordance with IAF endorsed International Standards (ISO standards) or Application Guidance approved by IAF. Furthermore, the programs the member offers internationally must be available for operation by any other IAF Accreditation Body member.

 
     

International and national laws (relevant to forest certification)

 

The laws and regulations which have an impact on forest development and conservation. These include 'nominal' forest laws and regulations dealing directly with the sector, and 'functional' forest laws, i.e. other legislation which has a direct or indirect impact on the sector. Firmly established traditional rules and practices have to be regarded as de facto elements of the legal framework. Relevant international laws include, but are not limited to, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, together with various regional laws, for example those of the European Union or of the Central American Legally Binding Convention on Forests.

 
     

International forestry principles

 

A series of non-legally binding principles which represent the first global consensus on the sustainable management of the world's forests with conservation and development being accorded equal importance. They constitute a policy statement; an affirmation of general values. It is now widely accepted that forest certification standards should address the aspects of forest management identified in one or more of the following sets of international principles and criteria of sustainable forest management:

Governmental

  • Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) Pan-European sustainable forest management criteria and indicators and operational guidelines.

  • Montreal Process “Statement on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests” or “Santiago Declaration” (1995).

  • International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) Guidelines for Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests and Guidelines for the Sustainable Management of Planted Tropical Production Forests (1993). ITTO Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests (1998).

  • The Tarapoto Proposal (1995) under the auspices of the Amazon Co-operation Treaty (ACT), criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of Amazonian forests.

  • African Timber Organisation criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in African natural tropical forests.

  • National level criteria and indicators adopted by the FAO/UNEP Expert meeting on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in the Near East (Cairo, Egypt, 15-17 October 1996)

  • The Central American Process of Lepaterique, Criteria and indicators adopted by the "Expert Meeting on Criteria & Indicators (C&I) for Sustainable Forest Management in Central America" on January 20-24, 1997.

  • The criteria and indicators agreed by an UNEP/FAO Expert Meeting on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in Dry Zone Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, November 21-24, 1995.

Non-Governmental

  • The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Principles and Criteria

 
     

International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL)

 

The ISEAL Alliance is a formal association of international voluntary standards, certification and accreditation programs focused on social and environmental issues. The member organisations of ISEAL have a common vision of a world where ecological sustainability and social justice are the normal conditions of business. ISEAL assists its members to achieve this vision by supporting their standards and verification programs to attain a high level of quality and to gain public credibility, political recognition and market success. The ISEAL Alliance provides services to it's members to help ensure their success.

 
     

International standard

 

Standard that is adopted by an international standardizing/standards organisation and made available to the public

 
     

International standardization

 

Standardization in which involvement is open to relevant bodies from all countries (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996)

 
     

ISO 14001, Environmental Management Systems Standard

 

ISO 14001 is an international standard governing the development, implementation and operation of an environmental management system. It sets out a management system which if fully implemented will ensure an organisation is managing environmental performance consistently. ISO14001 is a very powerful tool for helping organisations to systematically understand and improve their environmental performance. Certification to ISO14001 provides recognition of a commitment to improve environmental performance. ISO 14001 does not specify any minimum level of performance - other than legal conformance - which must be achieved. Instead it requires organisations to set their own performance targets and to then use the management system to ensure that they reach them.

In the context of forest certification, ISO 14001 may provide a useful starting point. However, a credible forest certification scheme would need to combine conformance with ISO14001 with a set of standards for forestry performance. In addition, ISO 14001 may not be appropriate for the development of forest certification schemes in certain contexts. For example the documentation and management requirements - which were drawn up primarily for industry - may be inappropriate for small non-industrial forest owners.

 
     

ISO 14021, ISO 14024, ISO 14025

 

ISO has established international standards governing three types of environmental claim:

  • Type I: Environmental labelling programme (ISO 14024): Voluntary, multiple-criteria-based third party programme that awards a licence which authorizes the use of environmental labels on products indicating overall environmental preferability of a product within a particular product category based on life cycle considerations.
  • Type II: Self declared environmental claim (ISO 14021): Environmental claim that is made, without independent third-party certification, by manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers or anyone else likely to benefit from such a claim.
  • Type III: Environmental declaration (ISO/TR 14025): Quantified environmental data for a product with pre-set categories of parameters (ISO 2000a). They are based on independently verified systematic data presented as a set of categories of parameter. The information is presented in a format that facilitates comparison between products. Note independent verification for the purpose of Type III environmental labelling need not necessarily involve certification.

Note that a claim about the quality of forest management, or that a product (or part of it) originates in certified forests, does not fall into any of ISO’s three categories of environmental claim. Although forest certification schemes should fulfill most of the criteria for Type I claims, they address only one aspect of the product life cycle – namely production of the raw material.

 
     

ISO Guide 59

 

ISO Guide 59: 1994 sets out an internationally-recognised Code of Good Practice for Standardisation. Some of the main requirements of ISO Guide 59 are as follows:

  • Procedures: Written procedures based on consensus principles should govern the methods used for standards development. Clause 4.1.
  • Transparency: The procedures of the standardizing body shall be available to interested parties upon request (Clause 4.1)
  • Complaints and appeals: The procedures of the standardising body should contain identifiable, realistic and readily available appeal mechanisms for the impartial handling of any substantive and procedural complaints (Clause 4.2)
  • Approval: Formal approval of standards should be based on evidence of consensus (Clause 4.5).
  • Advancement of international trade: Standards shall not be written so as to allow them to mislead consumers and other users of a product, process or service addressed by this standard (Clause 5.4)
  • Participation: Participation in standardization processes at all levels shall be accessible to materially and directly interested persons and organizations within a coherent process (Clause 6.1)
 
     

ISO Guide 61

 

The internationally recognised standard for accreditation bodies is ISO Guide 61: 1996 (EN 45010: 1998) General requirements for assessment and accreditation of certification/registration bodies. Below is a summary of key requirements taken from the Guide:  

  • Non-discrimination and accessibility: Accreditation bodies’ policies and procedures must be non-discriminatory and their services must be accessible to all applicants whose activities fall within their declared field of operation, regardless of the size of the applicant body or the number of bodies already accredited  
  • Impartiality: Accreditation bodies are required to act impartially and have a documented structure that safeguards their impartiality. The structure must enable the participation of all parties significantly concerned in the development of policies and principles regarding the content and functioning of the accreditation system. A person or persons different from those who carried out the assessment must take the accreditation decision.  
  • Conflict of interest: Accreditation bodies are required to have policies and procedures that distinguish between accreditation and any other activities in which they are engaged. Accreditation bodies and their staff must be free from any commercial, financial and other pressures that might influence the result of the accreditation process. Activities of related bodies must not affect the confidentiality, objectivity or impartiality of accreditation decisions. In particular, accreditation bodies must not offer or provide directly or indirectly: those services that it accredits others to perform; consulting services to obtain or maintain accreditation; services to design, implement or maintain a certification scheme.  
  • Quality system and procedures: Accreditation bodies are required to have a quality management system to give confidence in their ability to operate an accreditation system. Accreditation bodies must have developed procedures for granting, maintaining, withdrawing and suspending accreditation, and for altering the scope of accreditation. Accreditation bodies must have procedures to reassess certification bodies on a periodic basis.   
  • Documentation Accreditation bodies must make available to the public on request: information about the authority under which they operate; a documented statement of the accreditation process ; information about the sources of its financial support; a description of the rights and duties of the applicants and accredited bodies; a directory of accredited bodies.  
  • Confidentiality Accreditation bodies must demonstrate that they have adequate arrangements to safeguard confidentiality of information obtained during the course of accreditation.  
  • Personnel competence Including requirements to: define minimum professional criteria for the competence of auditors and technical experts employed by the accreditation body; maintain information on the relevant qualifications, training and experience of accreditation body personnel; have a procedure for selecting auditors and technical experts on the basis of their competence, training, qualifications and experience; ensure that the skills of the audit team are relevant and appropriate  
  • Complaints Accreditation bodies must demonstrate that they possess adequate procedures for the resolution of complaints.   
  • Assessment Report Including requirements to ensure that audit teams produce a full accreditation report following audit which is available to the certification body. This report should include the names and addresses of all sites audited, the assessed scope of accreditation, and comments on the conformity of the applicant with the accreditation requirements and a clear statement of non-conformity.   
 
     

ISO Guides 62, 65 and 66

 

There are three ISO Guides which set out the requirements for certification bodies operating certification schemes:

  • ISO Guide 62: 1996 (EN45012: 1998): General requirements for bodies operating assessment and certification/registration of quality systems. This Guide focuses on requirements for certification bodies working with quality system standards.
  • ISO Guide 65: 1996 (EN45011:  1998): General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems. This guide focuses on requirements for certification bodies working with product standards.
  • ISO Guide 66: 1999 General requirements for bodies operating assessment and certification/registration of environmental management systems (EMS). This guide focuses on requirements for certification bodies working with environmental management systems standards. Certification bodies operating forest certification schemes should conform with one or other of these guides.

Some of the main requirements are summarised below:  

  • Organisation General requirements including: non-discrimination towards certification applicants, no impediments or inhibitions to access to certification, services to be made available to all applicants, no undue financial or other conditions (Guide 62 Clause 2.1.1, Guide 65 Clause 4.1, Guide 66 Clause 4.1.1). Detailed requirements including: impartiality, separation of responsibility for certification decision and certification evaluation, freedom from commercial or financial pressure that may influence decisions, ensuring that the activities of related bodies do not affect confidentiality, objectivity and impartiality, not giving advice or providing consultancy services to the applicant as to the methods of dealing with matters which are barriers to the certification requested (Guide 62 Clause 2.1.2, Guide 65 Clause 4.2, Guide 66 Clause 4.1.2)
  • Quality system Requirement to document and operate an effective quality system appropriate for the type, range and volume of the work performed. The quality management system to include, among other things, the procedures for the recruitment, selection and training of certification body personnel and monitoring of their performances, procedures for handling non-conformities and for assuring the effectiveness of any corrective and preventive actions taken, procedures for implementing the certification/registration process, including conditions for issue, retention and withdrawal of certification documents, surveillance and reassessment procedures, procedures for dealing with appeals, complaints and disputes (Guide 62 Clause 2.1.4, Guide 65 Clause 4.5, Guide 66 Clause 4.1.4)  
  • Conditions for certification Including requirements to: specify conditions for granting, maintaining and extending certification and the conditions under which certification maybe withdrawn or suspended; document and make available on request procedures for certification assessments, surveillance and reassessment, and identifying nonconformities and the need for corrective action (Guide 62 Clause 2.1.5, Guide 65 Clause 4.8.1, Guide 66 Clause 4.1.5)  
  • Documentation Including requirements for certification bodies to make available to the public on request information about the authority under which they operate; a documented statement of their certification scheme; information about fees; a description of the rights and duties of the certification applicants and certified organisations; a directory of certified organisations describing the scope of certification granted to each.  
  • Confidentiality Including requirements for certification bodies to demonstrate that they have adequate arrangements to safeguard confidentiality of information obtained during the course of certification.  
  • Personnel competence Including requirements to: define minimum relevant criteria for the competence of certification body personnel; maintain information on the relevant qualifications, training and experience of accreditation body personnel; define minimum relevant criteria for competence of auditors and technical experts; have a procedure for selecting auditors and technical experts on the basis of their competence, training, qualifications and experience; ensure that the skills of the audit team are relevant and appropriate (Guide 62 Clause 2.2, Guide 65 Clause 6, Guide 66 Clause 4.2)  
  • Complaints Certification bodies must demonstrate that they possess adequate procedures for handling complaints, appeals and disputes.   
  • Assessment Report Including requirements to ensure that audit teams produce a full certification report following audit which is available to the applicant. This report should include the names and addresses of all sites audited, the assessed scope of certification registration, and comments on the conformity of the applicant with the certification standards and a clear statement of non-conformity.   
 
     

ISO standards and guides relevant to forest certification

 

Forest certification standards-setting bodies should conform with ISO Guide 59: 1994 Code of Good Practice for Standardisation.

Accreditation bodies should conform with ISO Guide 61: 1996 (EN 45010: 1998) General requirements for assessment and accreditation of certification/registration bodies.

Certification bodies should conform with one or other of the following guides:

  • ISO Guide 62: 1996 (EN 45012: 1998) General requirements for bodies operating assessment and certification/registration of quality systems.
  • ISO Guide 65: 1996 (EN 45011: 1998) General requirements for bodies operating product certification
    systems
    .
  • ISO Guide 66: 1999 General requirements for bodies operating assessment and certification/registration of environmental management systems (EMS).

Environmental claims and product labels should conform with appropriate sections of the following ISO standards:

  • ISO 14020: 2000. Environmental labels and declarations – General principles.
  • ISO 14024: 1999 Environmental labels and declarations – Type I environmental labelling – Principles and procedures

For more detail, see glossary entries under individual ISO standards and guides.

 
     

Key requirements (of forest certification schemes)

 

Requirements of forest certification schemes identified by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) as those that now seem to be endorsed by a wide range of stakeholders as the absolute minimum necessary for efficient and effective operation and for recognition. CEPI has identified 3 key requirements:

1) compatibility with ISO guidelines for standardisation, certification, accreditation and environmental claims and labelling;

2) legal compliance - forest certification schemes should include a requirement that forestry operations comply with all relevant international and national legislation; 

3) conformance with international forestry principles: forest certification standards should address the aspects of forest management identified by relevant international principles, criteria and indicators of sustainable (or good) forest management. See also "variable components".

 
     

License (for certification)

 

Document, issued under the rules of a certification system, by which a certification body grants to a person or body the right to use certificates or marks of conformity for its products, processes or services in accordance with the rules of the relevant certification scheme.

 
     

Limiting the visual impact of harvesting operations

 

Specific measures may be taken to limit the visual impact of harvesting operations, notably limiting the size of clear-cuts, or avoiding clear-cuts in areas viewed regularly by the public.

 
     

Local interpretation of the [forest certification] standard

 

Forest certification standards are often very complex and as a result there may be a need for some degree of interpretation for specific local conditions during an assessment.

 
     

Mark of conformity

 

Protected mark, applied or issued under the rules of a certification system indicating that confidence is provided that the relevant product, process or service is in conformity with a specific standard or other normative document (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Minimum average percentage system

 

An approach to wood flow accounting and wood product labelling that allows a batch of products to be labeled when the amount of certified wood raw material in the input batch exceeds the set minimum average threshold (e.g. 70% by weight or volume). The actual percentage of certified input should also be communicated to the customer in the associated documents.

 
     

Mutual recognition

 

Reciprocal and non-discriminatory arrangements under which one certification system owner recognises and accepts other certification systems as being substantively equivalent in intent, outcomes and process in identified critical elements.

 
     

National forest certification schemes

 

Schemes that develop forest certification standards and institutional procedures for the accreditation of certifiers at national level. National schemes may form part of a larger international framework which takes responsibility for environmental claims and the use of logos (e.g. PEFC national schemes) or they may operate on a stand-alone basis (e.g. the Sustainable Forestry Initiative).

 
     

National standard

 

Standard that is adopted by a national standards body and made available to the public.

 
     

Non-conformances/non-compliances

 

It is common during certification for certification bodies to find evidence of incomplete conformance/compliance with one or more requirements of the standard. The seriousness of non-compliances/non conformances will vary widely. Some may be so serious that they must be addressed before issue of the standard. However, some forms of non-conformance/compliance may be considered of minor importance. Under some schemes it may be considered inappropriate to insist that every minor non-conformance must be completely addressed prior to the certificate being awarded. Procedures may have been developed to take account of this (e.g. through the issue of "Corrective Action Requests" that must be addressed within a specified time period after the award of the certificate).

 
     

Non-wood forest products

 

Products such as fruits, nuts, edible greens, bushmeat, fuel, fodder, green manure, fibre, medicinal products, seeds, mushrooms, ornamental species and resins. Previously, these were often referred to as 'minor forest products'

 
     

Off product environmental claims

 

Information on the environmental performance of a product, organisation or service conveyed by documentary means other than an on-product label (for example corporate letter headings, advertisements, other PR material).

 
     

On-product label

 

A merchandising label attached to a product or a package of products.

 
     

Organisation

 

Company, corporation, firm, enterprise, authority or institution, or part or combination thereof, whether incorporated or not, public or private, that has its own functions and administration.

 
     

Organisations establishing requirements for forest certification standards setting bodies

 

Organisations that do not themselves set forest certification standards, but which establish rules and procedures for national (or regional/provincial) standards setting bodies. These organisations include those that manage international mutual recognition frameworks for forest certification schemes.

 
     

Peer review of certification decisions

 

Some forest certification schemes establish requirements for certification decision-making in addition to those established in ISO Guides. ISO Guides state that the final decision should always be taken by a person or group which is independent of the assessment itself. Peer review is the process of engaging one or more independent specialists to review the certification report and recommendations produced by the independent team. It is particularly useful when the panel making the final certification decision is unlikely to have adequate experience of the particular forest type and location under assessment.

 
     

Percentage based claims

 

A statement of the percentage (or the minimum average percentage) of documented virgin wood from well managed forest or of recycled wood present in a product, or in a batch of products from which a labelled product is taken.

 
     

Percentage in = percentage out

 

An approach to wood flow accounting and wood product labelling that allows the same proportion of wood products output to be labelled as the proportion of labelled wood products input. For example, if total certified virgin fibre input for a product by weight or volume is 50%, then the organization has the right to certify 50% of product output by weight or volume.

 
     

Physical segregation

 

An approach to wood flow accounting and wood product labelling that relies on the complete physical separation of certified and uncertified wood material flows. Such segregation allows on-product claims which state that a specific product is entirely (100%) derived from a certified forest.

 
     

Principle

 

A fundamental truth or law as the basis of reasoning or action. Principles in the context of sustainable forest management are seen as providing the primary framework for managing forests in a sustainable fashion. Principles provide the justification for criteria and indicators.

 
     

Program logo

 

A design or symbol used by a forest certification scheme for marketing purposes.

 
     

Provincial standard

 

Standard that is adopted at the level of a territorial division of a country and made available to the public (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996)

 
     

Regional standard

 

Standard that is adopted by a regional standardizing/standards organisation and made available to the public (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996)

 
     

Regulation

 

Document providing binding legislative rules that is adopted by an authority. An authority is a body with legal powers and rights. (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Relevant sections of ISO 14020

 

ISO 14020: 2000. Environmental labels and declarations – General principles includes 9 general principles. Forest certification schemes should seek to conform with all of these principles with the exception of principle 5. This states that the development of environmental labels and declarations shall take into consideration all relevant aspects of the life cycle of the product. Forest certification schemes cannot conform with principle 5 on their own since they cover only one aspect of the environmental life cycle of a forest product. However forest certification may form part of wider processes which would allow full life-cycle environmental labels and declarations to be applied to forest products.   The full set of principles included in ISO14020 are as follows:  

  • Principle 1: Environmental labels and declarations shall be accurate, verifiable, relevant and not misleading.  
  • Principle 2: Procedures and requirements for environmental labels and declarations shall not be prepared, adopted, or applied with a view to, or with the effect of, creating unnecessary obstacles to international trade.  
  • Principle 3: Environmental labels and declarations shall be based on scientific methodology that is sufficiently thorough and comprehensive to support the claim and that produces results that are accurate and reproducible.  
  • Principle 4: Information concerning the procedure, methodology, and any criteria used to support environmental labels and declarations shall be available and provided upon request to all interested parties.  
  • Principle 5: The development of environmental labels and declarations shall take into consideration all relevant aspects of the life cycle of the product.  
  • Principle 6: Environmental labels and declarations shall not inhibit innovation which maintains or has the potential to improve environmental performance.  
  • Principle 7: Any administrative requirements or information demands related to environmental labels and declarations shall be limited to those necessary to establish conformance with applicable criteria and standards of the labels and declarations.  
  • Principle 8: The process of developing environmental labels and declarations should include an open, participatory consultation with interested parties. Reasonable efforts should be made to achieve a consensus throughout the process.  
  • Principle 9: Information on the environmental aspects of products and services relevant to an environmental label or declaration shall be available to purchasers and potential purchasers from the party making the environmental label or declaration.  
 
     

Review

 

Activity of checking a standard to determine whether it is reaffirmed, changed or withdrawn.

 
     

Sampling of forest area

 

A sample is a group of things chosen out of a larger number and tested in order to obtain information about the larger group (Cambridge Dictionary). When assessing forest operations and outcomes against a forest certification standard, it is impossible except in the smallest forests, for the audit team to examine everything. Therefore sampling is standard practice in forest certification. 

A randomly selected sample of a population, if sufficiently large will give a reasonably good picture of the population as a whole. For example, if the "population" is harvesting sites, then visiting a sufficient number of randomly selected sites will give a good indication of management performance over all sites (example taken from Proforest 2002).

 
     

Second party assessment

 

An assessment that a producer meets the requirements of a pre-determined standard carried out by a buying organization, a group of consumers, a trade association or other body. Under such circumstances, standards and assessment procedures may be less objective and thorough than for third party certification. For example national interests or a narrowly defined agenda may take precedence over the integrity of the certification process.

 
     

Single Issue Labelling

 

A process which results in a claim which may be used on-product referring to the quality of forest or forest management at the origin of the raw material (wood, fibre) of which the product is made. Labelling is based on certification of forest management and the wood flow accounting systems of trading companies. Labelling on this basis is described as “single issue” because it only covers forest management and takes no account of other environmental impacts.

 
     

Stakeholder or Interested Party

 

Individuals and organisations with a legitimate interest in the goods and services provided by certification applicants, and those with an interest in the economic, environmental and social effects of the certification applicants activities, products and services. They include government and other regulatory authorities, local people, forest owners and professional foresters, industrial representatives, employees, investors, insurers, customers and consumers, environmental interest groups and the general public.

 
     

Standard

 

Document, established by consensus and approved by a recognised body, that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context. (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996)

 
     

Standardization

 

Activity of establishing, with regard to actual or potential problems, provisions for common and repeated use, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context. (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996)

 
     

Standards body

 

Standardizing body recognised at nationa, regional or international level that has as a principal function, by virtue of its statutes, the preparation, approval or adoption of standards that are made available to the public. (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Sustainable forest management

 

While there is broad agreement on the concept of SFM, there are variations in the definitions developed through the various national and international initiatives. Furthermore, the definition of sustainable forest management practices on the ground will vary depending on local conditions and human needs and may only be achieved through a multi-stakeholder process carried out at an appropriate national, regional, or local level. Two definitions of SFM are included here to give some idea of the scope of the concept and the ways it has been defined by people from different regions of the world.

Sustainable Forest Management SFM is the process of managing permanent forest land to achieve one or more clearly specified objectives of management with regard to the production of a continuous flow of desired forest products and services without undue reduction of its inherent values and future productivity and without undue undesirable effects on the physical and social environment. [Source: International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO)].

Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) The stewardship and use of forests and forest land 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 does not cause damage to other ecosystems (Definition of SFM within the Pan-European process).

 
     

Sustained yield

 

The production of forest products on a perpetual basis, ensuring that the rate of removal of forest products does not exceed the rate of replacement over the long term.

 
     

Third party

 

Person or body that is recognised as being independent of the parties involved, as concerns the issue in question. Parties involved are usually supplier (first party) and purchaser (second party) interests (ISO/IEC Guide 2: 1996).

 
     

Threatened or endangered species

 

Any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. The official list of species endangered by international trade is kept by the Convention on International Trade in Endanegered Species (CITES). The non-governmental organisation - the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) also maintains an international list, published as the Red Data Book.

 
     

UNCED and related processes

 

International efforts to promote sustainable forest management received a boost at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development(UNCED Earth Summit) in Rio in 1992. Since then forests have been a priority issue on the international agenda. The Earth Summit saw international agreement on a set of non legally binding “Forest Principles” and on Agenda 21, an international environmental action programme. Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 is aimed at “Combating Deforestation”. 

The UNCED agreements reaffirmed the rights of sovereign nations to utilise their forests in accordance with national priorities and included recognition that forests should be managed on a “multi-purpose” basis to provide both socio-economic and environmental benefits.  The Forest Principles stressed that national policies and regulations that may lead to deforestation should be avoided, and that policies aimed at management, conservation and sustainable forestry should be encouraged.

The UNCED Forest Principles emphasised that trade in forest products should be based on non discriminatory and multilaterally agreed rules and procedures. Unilateral measures “to restrict and/or ban international trade in timber or other forest products should be removed or avoided, in order to attain long-term sustainable forest management.”

Both the Forest Principles and Agenda 21 called for the identification of criteria and indicators (C&I)  to be used to evaluate progress in countries efforts to practice sustainable forest management. This stimulated a range of inter-governmental initiatives to develop and promote C&I for particular regions of the world.

Between 1995 and 2000, the United Nations continued to host an inter-governmental forest policy dialogue, first through the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF - 1995 to 1997) followed by the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF- 1997 to 2000).  Discussion focused on the potential for development of a global forest convention which would place legal obligations on signatory countries to achieve sustainable forest management.

In 2000, the IFF concluded that the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN General Assembly should, within five years, "consider with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests.” The IFF also proposed the creation of a United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and inviting relevant international organizations, institutions, and instruments and UN organizations to participate in a Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

ECOSOC accepted these recommendations and in October 2000, adopted a Resolution to establish the UNFF as a subsidiary body of ECOSOC. The Resolution states that the main objective of UNFF is to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end.

In addition to considering the potential for internationally legally binding convention on forests,  the IPF/IFF/UNFF process has led to the adoption of approximately 120 negotiated proposals for international action on a wide range of topics related to sustainable forest management.

 
     

Variable components (of forest certification schemes)

 

Components of forest certification schemes identified by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) as those that may vary depending upon the objectives, scope and location of the scheme. At present there is no international consensus on the extent to which these components may be fundamental to widespread acceptance of the forest certification scheme. The website’s role with respect to these “variable components” is to report on how they are addressed, if at all, by each certification scheme. See also "key requirements".

 
     

Variable percentage based claims

 

An approach to wood flow accounting and wood product labelling that allows labels on wood products to state variable percentages based on the actual content of certified raw material input involved in their manufacture.

 
     

Wood flow accounting system

 

An accounting system implemented by a wood trading organisation that reliably records and reports wood materials flow by source, delivery, processing and distribution. This information may be used to support environmental claims and to satisfy wood product labeling requirements under some forest certification schemes.

 
     

Wood product label

 

A mark on a wood product or a sign on these products including a claim of good environmental and/or forestry practice. On-product claims of good forestry practice should be based on some form of "wood flow accounting" or "chain of custody" system.