The Republic of Korea has become the latest country to achieve the PEFC endorsement of its national forest certification system for the first time. “Thanks to the PEFC endorsement of our national system, we expect the sustainable management of forests to become widespread in Korea,” said Gilbon Koo, Representative of Korea Forest Certification Council (KFCC), the body responsible for the development of the national system.
According to Switzerland-headed Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), an international non-profit, non-governmental umbrella organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification, the development of the Korean national system began in 2014.
Drafted in partnership with members of the standardization committee, the KFCC Board of Directors approved it in 2015. Korea Forestry Promotion Institute (KoFPI) joined the PEFC alliance in 2016 before submitting the national system to PEFC for endorsement in 2017.
Korea’s small-forest owners
We also look forward to the increased production and export of PEFC-certified products originating from our sustainably managed, PEFC-certified forests. Our next step is to promote group certification, to ensure the country’s small-forest owners are also able to benefit from PEFC certification. This will not only help to secure the livelihoods of thousands of small-forest owners but will also increase the PEFC-certified forest area in Korea, along with the amount of PEFC-certified material on the market, said Gilbon Koo.
The endorsement of Korea continues the trend of rapid development for PEFC in Asia. There are endorsed systems in China, Indonesia and Malaysia, with more than 15 million hectares of PEFC-certified forest area. India and Thailand have both submitted their national systems to PEFC, while several other countries are in the development phase.
The PEFC alliance, and in particular our fellow Asian members, have been a great support to our national development process. As KFCC continues to develop, we would like to help other countries as they begin the process of developing their national forest certification systems for eventual PEFC endorsement, said Seog-gu Son, General Secretary of KFCC.
South Korea joins Macedonia and Romania as the three countries to achieve PEFC endorsement thus far in 2018.