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Ireland’s first sawmill achieves PEFC Chain of Custody certification

May 02 2017

“Achieving PEFC certification further enforces our commitment to sustainable forestry and provides our customers with a complete range of fully certified timber products,” said Daryl Fahy, Managing Director of Earrai Coillte Chonnacht Teoranta (ECC), the first sawmill to achieve PEFC Chain of Custody certification in Ireland.

“PEFC certification is a natural fit with our expanding business and obtaining PEFC certification proved to be a fairly seamless and straightforward process, achieved with little difficulty and few changes to our existing management and quality control systems,” added Conor Fahy, ECC Quality Manager.

ECC was established in 1992 in a remote rural location in the west of Ireland in Connemara, Co. Galway and has grown to become one of the largest and most innovative sawmills in the country.

Today ECC processes about 450,000 cubic meters of timber annually. It provides direct employment for 120 full-time staff at the mill, and for a further 190 full-time staff contracted externally in the areas of timber harvesting, extraction and haulage.

A boost for PEFC forest management certification too

“While every new certificate is welcome, ECC’s certification comes at a particularly important time for PEFC Ireland’s development,” said William Merivale, National Secretary of PEFC Ireland.

“Coillte Forest, which represents just over half the national forest estate, has held PEFC certification since 2014. We have been striving to convince the sawmilling sector of the benefits of adding PEFC to their other accreditations. This latest development opens up the field for the private sector to actively seek PEFC forest management certification as well.”

“PEFC Ireland is delighted with this development and looks forward to establishing closer links with ECC in the years ahead.”

Extraordinary Assessment of the PEFC Ireland Scheme for Sustainable Forest Management and the PEFC Irish Forest Management Standard

May 2014

This Extraordinary Assessment was undertaken by the Interpretation Panel during the period January to May 2014 in order to ensure that both the scheme and standard complied with revision to the PEFC International Standard relating to rules for Standard Setting and Sustainable Forest Management. The changes were minor and where independently approved by the Finnish Company Indufor Oy.

Further details are available from PEFC Ireland.

Irish Forests Owners to Benefit from Accredited PEFC Certification

Jan 06 2014

NSAIThe National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), Ireland’s official standards body, now counts the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) in its portfolio of standards, following official accreditation by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) last month.

This is a significant development for forest certification in Ireland as it enables forest owners for the first time to apply for PEFC Sustainable Forest Management certification.

As the only global forest certification system to strictly separate its activities in standards development from certification and accreditation, PEFC requires third-party, certification bodies to independently verify that forests are managed in compliance with PEFC’s Sustainability Benchmarks. Certification bodies, in turn, must be accredited by a national accreditation body such as INAB.

“We welcome the news that NSAI has been awarded PEFC Forest Management accreditation by the INAB,” said William Merivale, National Secretary of PEFC Ireland. “This follows the equally welcome news last September of NSAI’s accreditation for PEFC Chain of Custody certification, which NSAI is already actively implementing.

“Now, for the first time, Ireland has an accredited certification body deemed competent to conduct PEFC forest management certification audits of forest owners and their managers – both State and private. This comes at a time when especially private forest owners are becoming increasingly aware of the need to certify their sustainable forest management practices in order to continue to access those vital markets which demand certified timber and wood based products.”

The demand for certification of wood products is expected to increase in Ireland as a result of the Irish Government’s Green Public Procurement Programme. In line with EU directives, the public sector must take steps to ensure that a minimum 50% of all EU tendering procedures be green, so materials such as timber, wood and wood based products must be purchased from sustainable sources, such as PEFC certified products.

“The forestry market is getting more competitive and PEFC certification will allow Irish timber growers access to tender, trade and operate effectively in global markets,” said Fergal O’Byrne, Head of Business Excellence, NSAI Certification. “This standard consolidates NSAI’s position as a global provider of a broad variety of certification services and demonstrates Ireland’s concern for the environment and sustainable forestry. Adding forest management to the already accredited quality, health & safety, environmental, food and energy management systems standards, ensures that Irish companies can have a certified presence and operate efficiently anywhere in the world.”

NSAI’s PEFC certification provides cost-effective options to smallholders and forest owners associations through group certification, which is especially relevant for the almost 20,000 private forest owners in Ireland, many of whom are farmers.

“PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system, and the only one that strictly separates standard-setting, certification and accreditation, ensuring complete independence and impartiality.  This strict separation comes at a price – it is not an easy task to meet PEFC International’s exacting standards, and PEFC Ireland applauds all at NSAI on this very important development for the Irish forestry industry,” concluded Mr. Merivale.

Further Information

From Wild Food to Spruce Syrup: PEFC’s 2013 Collaboration Fund Supports Local Initiatives Promoting Sustainability

Jul 24 2013

What do cooperatives, mushrooms, spruce syrup, rare tree species and wood pellets have in common? They are the focus of the six new projects selected to receive funding from the PEFC 2013 Collaboration Fund!

Through the Fund PEFC has awarded a combined total of 105,000CHF to the projects, leveraging a further 104,000CHF from co-funding. These projects – in seven countries and across three continents – cover a wide range of activities to advance sustainable forest management and forest certification. The grantees of the winning projects are Forest Research Institute Malaysia, PEFC Latvia, PEFC Slovakia, PEFC Spain, PEFC UK and Pinchot Institute for Conservation (USA).

“Each year the Collaboration Fund receives a high number of applications, presenting us with extremely diverse project ideas which seek to improve society’s ability to understand, manage and value forests for multiple benefits,” said Sarah Price, Head of Projects & Development at PEFC International. “This year’s winning projects demonstrate great potential for creating positive impact on the ground while simultaneously contributing to a global community of knowledge.”

The PEFC Collaboration Fund was developed to encourage locally relevant advancements in the sustainable management of forests and foster collaboration and dialogue amongst different actors. It is part of PEFC’s work to stimulate the uptake of sustainable forest management, innovate new approaches for forest certification and promote certified products in the marketplace.

Since its conception in 2011, the Fund has awarded over 350,000 Swiss Francs to seventeen projects with impacts realized in forests and communities all over the world.

This year’s winning projects are:

  • Enhancing Rural Development in Spain through Wild Food Production

Project objectives

  • Promote PEFC certification among the wild food products sector;
  • Increase number of producers of PEFC certified non-wood products;
  • Raise the demand of PEFC certified products within the gourmet food sector;
  • Improve PEFC awareness among the global society.
  • Implementing organization
  • PEFC Spain is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management through independent third-party certification. It joined PEFC in 1999.


  • Spruce Syrup – the Next Big Thing?

Project objectives

  • Supporting supply chain development to establish production of spruce syrup from spruce tips (a waste material from tending and harvesting operations);
  • Promotion of PEFC certification through the use of the PEFC logo on this innovative product;
  • Increase the area of PEFC certified forests in Slovakia.
  • Implementing organization
  • PEFC Slovakia is an independent, voluntary, professional association of legal entities conducting its activities relating to forest land on the territory of Slovakia. It was endorsed by PEFC in 2005.


  • Promoting Sustainable Forest Management Among Latvian Forest Owners

Project objectives

  • Pilot test group certification within the forest owners’ cooperative “Mežsaimnieks”;
  • Raise awareness of group certification among forest owners;
  • Increase area of PEFC certified private forests.
  • Implementing organization
  • PEFC Latvia ensures the forest certification process in Latvia’s forests according to the requirements of the PEFC Latvia scheme, promoting sustainable forest management and supporting Chain of Custody Certification. It was established in 1999.


  • Going Online to Modernize and Expand Group Forest Management Certification in the British Isles

Project objectives

  • Develop an English language online group registration and management system for private forest owners;
  • Encourage uptake of the system to increase the area of PEFC certified forest in the UK and Ireland;
  • Roll the template out across all PEFC member countries where English is the main/common language.
  • Implementing organization
  • This is a joint venture between PEFC UK and PEFC Ireland.


  • Protecting Rare Tree Species in Malaysia: Strengthening Procedures for Monitoring in Jerangau HCVF Area and Beyond

Project objectives

  • Reduce the population decline of rare species;
  • Improve forest management practices and advance sustainable forest management;
  • Contribute towards the fine-tuning of national level guidelines for managing HCVFs.
  • Implementing organization
  • The Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) was founded in 1929 as a department under the Forest Department Headquarters Peninsular Malaysia. In 1985 it became a statutory body governed by the Malaysian Forestry Research and Development Board.


  • Exploring Criteria, Pathways and Stakeholder Expectations to Deliver Sustainable Woody Biomass to International Markets

Project objectives

  • Promote dialogue and cooperation between US and European stakeholders in the wood biomass for energy sector;
  • Facilitate the compliance of US wood pellet production with EU sustainability criteria;
  • Produce a synthesis of research on greenhouse gas accounting as related to certified forest management in the US south.
  • Implementing organization

The mission of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation (Pinchot Institute) is to strengthen forest conservation thought, policy, and action by advancing sustainable forest management, developing conservation leaders and providing science-based solutions to emerging natural resource issues.