Press release from the issuing company
The Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Tineke Huizinga, announced that PEFC is accepted for Dutch public sustainable timber procurement. This decision follows the positive assessment of PEFC by the Dutch Timber Procurement Assessment Committee (TPAC), which concluded that PEFC International meets the Dutch Public Procurement Criteria for Timber.
"The assessment of PEFC by TPAC was probably one of the most thorough investigations of any forest certification system ever undertaken", said Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General of PEFC International. In addition to assessing PEFC International, TPAC separately investigated six PEFC-endorsed national forest certification systems. TPAC found that the PEFC national schemes in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Malaysia all complied with the Dutch criteria.
"These results confirm our own assessments", Mr Gunneberg explained. "PEFC is the only global certification system that has all national certification systems independently assessed for compliance with its globally applicable requirements and criteria, and all PEFC systems that TPAC investigated have previously been positively assessed by PEFC International."
"Both TPAC as well as PEFC found MTCS in compliance with its respective criteria," Mr. Gunneberg added. "We understand that there has been an accusation against MTCS. The minister should not suspend any certification system that has been positively assessed by TPAC until the accusation has been thoroughly investigated and either proven to be justified or not. To do otherwise violates the fundamental principle of 'innocent until proven guilty'."
TPAC, which was set up by the Ministry, has established procedures for dealing with accusations. "This procedure should be followed to uphold the independence of the assessment. Otherwise, the minister may set a precedence, requiring her to suspend any certification system already approved if accusations become known, even before any such accusation is investigated."
The acceptance of PEFC International will greatly enhance the Dutch Public Procurement Policy implementation which, in line with the Dutch Sustainability Procurement Agenda 2011, aims to increases the use of sustainably produced wood products in the Dutch market.
"The potential increase in demand for PEFC-certified timber will also offer additional incentives for forest owners to engage in sustainable forest management practices in order to achieve PEFC certification, and consequently help us in our efforts to increase the global certified area beyond its current eight percent ", Mr. Gunneberg concluded.
With more than 220 million hectares of certified forests and about half a million certified forest owners, PEFC is the world's largest forest certification system and the certification system of choice for small- and family forest owners.
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