CERTeCLAD Codemark
null menu

Resource Certification

What is Sustainable Timber?

Whilst it sounds like a simple question, the answer is surprisingly complex. It seems the answer varies greatly depending on who you ask. We at ITI Timspec have put together this guide to try and clear up a few common misconceptions about the idea of Timber Sustainability.

The ISO (International Standards Organisation) make a good point when they say: "The concepts involved in sustainability are highly complex and still under study. At this time there are no definitive methods for measuring sustainability or confirming its accomplishment. Therefore, no claim of achieving sustainability shall be made" (ISO 14021 (1999) paragraph 5.5). So until a clear and precise, scientifically determined, standard can be set to explain and measure sustainability, no claim about sustainability should be made, because there is no way to prove it.

The issue of Sustainability of Timber is complicated because it is not just whether the trees are replanted after harvesting but also encompasses multiple intricate topics such as:

  • Other plants and animals that rely on the trees
  • Social spiritual and economic wellbeing of people who rely on the forest
  • Environmental impacts

And although not specifically part of sustainability, but also very important are issues such as:

  • Legality of the supply
  • Workers rights
  • Genetic Modification
  • Carbon credits/carbon sinks
  • Social impacts
  • Pesticides and fertilizers
  • Miles travelled by the timber

Developments over the past few years have placed a stronger and stronger emphasis on Resource Certification.
FSC and PEFC are the two leading Resource Certification schemes currently operating and are the two that Timspec have adapted.

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)

FSC is probably the most well-known Certification Scheme, its benefits are:

  • Only forest certification scheme supported by all major environment groups (Greenpeace, etc)
  • Very large international organisation
    (independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation)
  • Promote responsible management of the world's forests
  • High level of environmental, legal and traceability requirements
    (Principles and Criteria describe how the forests have to be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations)
  • FSC rules are the strictest and FSC's social and environmental requirements are the highest of any certification scheme
  • Strict Chain-of-Custody requirements
  • Certificate holders are subject to annual audits

PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes)

PEFC is an "umbrella" scheme in that it endorses other Forestry Certification Schemes, it currently covers:

  • Australia Forestry Standard (AFS)
  • Canadian Standards (CSA)
  • American Tree Farm System (ATFS)
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)
  • Most of the National Schemes of EU Countries

PEFC maintains a list of standards and any Forestry Scheme that meets these, will then also meet PEFC requirements and can be sold/traded as PEFC Certified, its benefits are:

  • Good levels of environmental requirements
  • High legal and traceability requirements
  • Strict Chain-of-Custody requirements
  • Certificate holders are subject to annual audits


Timspec have both FSC and PEFC
Chain-of-Custody certification.
Timspec The Timber Specialists
Official CertClad Supplier for New Zealand
64c Stoddard Rd, Mt Roskill
Ph: (09) 620-0260
Fax: (09) 620-0261
30 Kent St
Ph: (06) 379-9381
Fax: (06) 379-9382
9B Francella St, Bromley
Ph: (03) 384-5287
Fax: (03) 384-5289

© Copyright CERTeCLAD, all rights reserved. Private information collected for this website is governed by our Privacy Policy Powered by streamSWEET CMS