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Everything that you need to know about paper and the environment.

What is FSC®?
FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. It was founded in 1993 in response to public concern about deforestation and demand for an international wood-labelling and chain of custody scheme. The FSC® is supported by a number of environmental groups including WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Woodland Trust.

How does FSC® work?
Forests are inspected and certified against strict standards. These inspections are undertaken by independent organisations, such as the Soil Association, that are accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council. In order be given FSC® certification a forest must be managed in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. The forest must also comply with strict human rights criteria. This makes the FSC certification process unique and ensures that a forest is well managed both environmentally and humanitarianly. Forests that meet these strict standards are given FSC certification and the timber products are allowed to carry the FSC label. The path that is then taken by the certificated product is tracked by a Chain of Custody.

What is PEFC?
PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) is a global umbrella organisation; it is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999. They promote sustainable forest management, through an independent third party certification scheme. The PEFC body provide an assurance mechanism to buyers of timber and paper products, that the paper originates from a sustainable forest. The PEFC body currently operate in 149 different countries. Nearly 200 million hectares of certified forests producing millions of tonnes of certified timber is covered by the PEFC certification scheme.

How can my company gain certification?
The Premier Paper Group’s Environmental Consultancy Team will help you every step of the way. Certificates are awarded by accreditation bodies such as: BM Trada, SGS and the Soil Association.

Do I need to have both FSC and PEFC?
Yes, you should obtain both certificates, as the demand for certified papers and boards will continue to grow over the coming years.

Will I have to be audited and how often?
Yes, in the case of FSC you will be audited by your accrediation company 6 months after earning your certification, after which annual audits will be carried out.

Will I be audited for both FSC and PEFC?
In the case of PEFC you have to annually self audit. The accredited auditor will then assess your audit documentation to measure your performance.

Do we need training in the handling of FSC Material?
Yes, all staff responsible for handling FSC material must be trained prior to a certificate being awarded. This includes administrators and production staff. Each person recieving this training must sign to confirm that they have recieved the training and this record must be kept in your HR files.

How long does certification last?
Certification lasts for a maximum of 5 years.

Can I use FSC/PEFC logos without achieving certification?
Definintely not, once you have gained FSC certification you are entitled to use FSC logo subject to certain rules. However, PEFC is slightly different; the PEFC organisation retains ownership of the PEFC logo. Therefore when you need to use the logo, permission must be granted by the PEFC for you to use the logo on license.

What is ECF?
ECF stands for Elemental Chlorine Free? It is a common definition for pulp bleached without using elemental chlorine. Originally any of the bleaching techniques for chemical pulp, when no molecular (elemental) chlorine is used.

What is TCF?
TCF stands for Totally Chlorine Free. The paper concerned is bleached using hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine. This is the most environmentally acceptable method of bleaching. Click here if you have any further questions  regarding paper and the environment, our team will  be more than happy to help. Alternatively click here to view our environmental section.