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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures the Government are taking to ensure that the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification scheme includes mandatory and enforceable minimum standards for all its national members.
The Government currently accept certificates from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) scheme as assurance of legal and sustainable timber sources. This acceptance is subject to the UK Government being satisfied that national forest certification schemes endorsed by PEFC are all applying the PEFC standard consistently in their own countries. A sample check has been undertaken to establish to position. The initial findings led the Government to conclude that further examination and consultation should be undertaken before reaching a decision and that the forthcoming review of PEFC and the other schemes assessed by the Central Point of Expertise on Timber would provide an appropriate opportunity to do that.
The Government cannot ensure that PEFC includes mandatory and enforceable minimum standards for all its national members. PEFC is an independent private sector organisation that sets its own standard and system requirements for implementation. However, the UK Government could choose not to accept PEFC certificates as assurance of responsible timber sources and that is why we are undertaking the assessments and reviews already mentioned.