The FSC is the oldest certification organisation, founded in 1993 in Toronto at the initiative of representatives of environmental organisations, foresters, native peoples and eco-labelling organisations. The FSC encourages responsible forestry around the world. The Swedish FSC standard was approved in 1998.
The PEFC was founded in 1999 and is an independent, global umbrella organisation for the review and approval of national forestry standards. Such standards should promote sustainable forestry in accordance with PEFC criteria. In Sweden, the first PEFC-compliant forestry standard was adopted in 2000.
To be approved by these organisations, an annual review by an approved independent external auditor must be submitted.
In total, approximately 8% of the world’s forestland is certified by either the FSC or the PEFC. Much work remains to be done before all of the world’s forestry is certified. Currently, the PEFC system is the largest in terms of certified land. The FSC has the largest share of traceability certifications, which make eco-labelled products possible.
Both systems operate on a global scale to promote forest management that carefully balances important financial, environmental and social considerations. The two systems have different structures and decision paths, but they are very similar when it comes to practical forestry.