Furniture Manufacturing and Certification: How business benefits from PEFC

By Michael Buckley, MPhil FIWSc

In a world where we are aware of the impact our choices have on the environment, people want to minimize their environmental footprint. They are no longer happy to buy products without knowing where they came from. This is where furniture manufacturers can benefit from responsibly and to customers and consumers alike that the wood being used for furniture products comes from sustainably managed forests. Wood suppliers may already be PEFCcertified, making it easy to take advantage of PEFC and help promote sustainable forest management. Furniture manufacturers already understand the benefits of using wood as its adaptability, aesthetics and environmental credentials all speak for themselves.


Leading retailers are demanding PEFC-certified products as part of their corporate social responsibility commitments and are developing responsible procurement policies for many forest products. With PEFC certification, a business will be well placed to meet these requirements.

PEFC certification assists in meeting regulatory requirements such as the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the US Lacey Act. By gaining PEFC certification and selling PEFC-certified products, a company can ensure that both it and its customers can maintain access to these environmentally conscious and demanding markets.

Selling PEFC-certified material enables manufacturers and their customers to use the globally recognized PEFC label. The use of labels is of growing importance to consumers around the world. By using the PEFC label, Gaining PEFC certification allows manufacturers and traders to show leadership in the sector while also enhancing the competitive advantage over other manufacturers.

To sell your products as PEFC-certified, PEFC Chain of Custody certification is needed

PEFC Chain of Custody certification provides independently verified assurance that the certified wood in a product originates from wellmanaged forests.

To earn PEFC Chain of Custody certification, a company must develop and implement procedures to account for the purchasing, tracking, manufacturing, sale and recordkeeping of certified materials.

The PEFC Due Diligence System (PEFC DDS) is an integral part of PEFC Chain of Custody certification. The PEFC DDS minimizes the risk that timber comes from illegal harvesting, GMOs and conversions. It also enables companies to demonstrate alignment with regulatory requirements such as the EUTR.

PEFC Chain of Custody certification complements PEFC sustainable forest management certification, which provides assurance that forests are managed in line with challenging environmental, social and economic requirements.

The exact steps necessary, as well as the costs involved, depend on multiple factors, such as size and complexity of the business operations. But essentially, it is necessary to set up a management system in compliance with PEFC’s Chain of Custody requirements. This can be integrated into existing systems a company may have already implemented, such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001.

Once the management system is in place, and additional requirements implemented, the company needs to be audited by an independent certification body. After compliance is verified, the company is PEFC Chain of Custody certified.

There are PEFC-certified forests in all major timber-producing countries, and the majority of the world’s certified forest products are certified to PEFC. So chances are a company already procures or has access to timber and forest-based products that feature PEFC certification. Potentially, all that’s missing is for wood supplier(s) to also obtain PEFC Chain of Custody certification or for manufacturers to demand PEFC-certified material from suppliers.

Then make sure that furniture customers know about it – and the best way to do this is through the PEFC label.