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What is PEFC and FSCⓇ Certification?


Reading time: 6 minutes


The importance of sustainability in the construction industry cannot be overstated. In recent decades, the industry has met environmental directives for improved eco directives. This has meant that sourcing timber had been responsible for large areas of deforestation. The Forestry Commission itself has confirmed that deforestation is the second biggest source of greenhouse gases, with the first being the burning of fossil fuels. It is such a serious issue that global leaders committed to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030 as part of the COP26 climate conference in November 2021 in Glasgow.


Why are there timber certificate standards?

Because of deforestation, sustainable forests have been planted to control the sourcing of timber essential to the construction industry and other sectors. To ensure that timber has come from a sustainable source, certification is required. The most common standard certificates that you’re likely to find are PEFC and FSC. But, what do they mean and how are they different?

  • What Does FSCⓇ Certified Timber Mean?
  • What is PEFC Certified Timber?

What are the differences between FSC and PEFC timber?

Both the FSC and PEFC have the main goal of promoting the production, fulfilment and delivery of ethically sourced, sustainable forestry products. They also work to reduce the production and sale of illegal timber. However, the differences are that the FSC oversees forestry standards to monitor best practice environmentally and ethically worldwide. The PEFC operates at more of a ground level, working directly with smaller forestry management groups. 


It's important to check the certification requirements for projects, as this can depend on working in particular sites, or if contractors can work with certain timber on multiple sites. It can seem complicated, which is why some projects can use timber with both certifications. However, it’s always a good idea to check the certifications of timber to make sure it can be used on site to meet regulations. 

If this has helped you to understand both major timber certifications, you’ll find more building advice and help at Trade Corner. Check back regularly for updates.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is intended as an overall introduction and is not intended as specific advice from a qualified professional. Travis Perkins aims to avoid, but accepts no liability, in the case that any information stated is out of date.