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PEFC study looks into synergies between Ghana’s FLEGT VPA requirements and PEFC certification

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has conducted an analysis of Ghana’s FLEGT VPA requirements compared to requirements of Ghana’s National Forest Certification System, which is expected to obtain PEFC-endorsement in early 2019. The study identified significant synergies and complementarity between FLEGT and certification requirements and concluded that, while “working at different levels in many regards”, the ultimate outcomes would be complementary: “improving forest management and combating illegal logging and associated trade”.

Some of the findings have now been published on the PEFC website, with a full “PEFC National Standard and VPA Gap Analysis“ as well as the “PEFC National Standard and VPA CoC Gap Analysis“ possibly to be published at a later stage.

Highlights from the analysis show that VPA requirements cover “a wide range of environmental, social and economic requirements outlined in the national standards for sustainable forest management and chain-of-custody certification”. At the same time, several specific areas were identified in which the National Certification Standard goes “significantly further”. In general, it was found that voluntary third-party certification would require timber companies to take on more direct responsibility for fulfilling requirements. The National Certification Standard would also go beyond “ensuring the outcome or performance” by “detailing the process and procedural requirements to ensure that the outcome is delivered on a consistent basis”.

The report suggests that "The FLEGT VPA focusing on legal enforcement of forest law gives a good foundation for companies and forest managers to expand their internal procedures and due diligence systems to incorporate PEFC requirements with the appropriate proof mechanisms". The report concludes, "FLEGT VPA serves as a great opportunity for timber companies willing to obtain PEFC certification to build on their traceability, due diligence, compliance and documentation systems with sustainability considerations to comply with PEFC requirements".

Download the full narrative report here.

Download the study synopsis here.

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