How to achieve Responsible Wood Sustainable Forest Management Certification

Forest management is a long-term process. The results of good practice can often only become apparent after decades.

Independent certification against the Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (provides a clear and unambiguous statement that wood production in a defined forest area (whether native or planted forest) is managed in accordance with a set of predetermined and clearly defined criteria that supports sustainable management of forests.

As consumers, businesses and governments become more concerned with their environmental footprints, markets for certified wood, paper and wood products continue to grow.

Through its link with PEFC, Responsible Wood certification provides forest owners and managers – families, communities and companies – with access to the global marketplace for certified products.

Key steps to obtain and maintain certification include:

1. Put in place management systems that comply with the Standard

Ensure that forest management practices meet the sustainable forest management requirements set out in the relevant Standard:

  • Australian Standard® for Sustainable Forest Management (AS4708) [LINK]
  • New Zealand Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (NZS AS 4708:2014) [LINK]

2. Contact the most appropriate accredited certification body

Locate the most appropriate accredited certification body and establish initial contact by phone, email or personal meeting.

3. Fees

Costs of certification are determined by individual certification bodies; due to the competitive nature of the certification business prices may vary. You will also be required to pay an annual Responsible Wood/PEFC notification fee in Australia OR PEFC Notification Fee in New Zealand.

4. Apply for Certification

Arrange for an accredited certification body to assess your forest management practices against the Standard and check that all requirements are fulfilled. This is done by making a formal application for certification with the certification body of your choice. Based on this application, you will receive a proposal, including a cost estimate.

5. Submit Relevant Documentation

Provide all relevant documentation as requested by the certification body.

6. Field Visit conducted by Auditors

The certification body will arrange a field  visit which includes visits to selected sites in the forest, further documentation reviews, and interviews with relevant staff.

7. Audit Report

The certification body will provide an audit report that details if anything needs to be rectified to achieved compliance. The onus is on the forest manager to resolve any non-compliance issues and provide evidence that they have done so. This is a prerequisite before a sustainable forest management certificate can be issued.

8. Certification Issued

If your management practices are found to be compliant with certification requirements, you will be issued a Responsible Wood certificate. The certificate is valid for a period of three years.

9. Annual Surveillance Audits

You will be required to submit your forests to a regular verification audit to ensure that your operations continue to comply with requirements.

10. Inclusion in Responsible Wood database of certificate holders

Subject to the payment of all fees the forest manager’s certificate will be registered on the Responsible Wood and PEFC certification registers as evidence to customers and stakeholders that the forest manager has met the requirements of the Standard.

11. Request to use the Responsible Wood and/or PEFC logos

If you wish to use the Responsible Wood and/or PEFC logos you will need to enter into a logo licence agreement with Responsible Wood. Fees for the use of the Responsible Wood and PEFC Logos are covered by the “notification fee” invoiced by your Certification Body.

12. Renew Certification

Upon expiry of your certification, you will be required to undergo a re-qualification audit in order to renew your certification.