News  |  26.06.2020


The ATIBT certification commission is involved in the study on forest certification systems requested by the European Union

The certification commission participated in the webinar organized on June 18 by Nepcon for the launch of the study on certification and verification systems in the forest sector and for wood-based products which aims to provide an overview of certification systems in relation to the EUTR.

 

The ATIBT certification commission is involved in the study on forest certification systems requested by the European Union

 

In October 2019, the European Commission launched a study on certification and verification systems in the forest sector and for wood-based products. This study, which was entrusted to Nepcon, started in February 2020 and is scheduled to last 12 months.

As a reminder, the EUTR establishes that risk assessment procedures in the context of the application of the DDS should include relevant risk assessment criteria, ‘including assurance of compliance with applicable legislation, which may include certification or other third-party-verified schemes which cover compliance with applicable legislation’.

In the terms of reference, it is specified that this study starts from the observation that “difficulties in understanding certificates and certification and lack of clear information by companies/entities and organisations issuing certificates may result in operators being in breach with legal requirements or at least paying for something with no or limited value. For authorities the same problem might result in waste of enforcement resources or even drawing wrong legal conclusions during inspections.”

The study therefore aims to help the competent authorities and operators concerned by the EUTR to understand the potential strengths and weaknesses of certification systems, and to improve their use, in particular in the context of the implementation of the of the EUTR.

Specific objectives of the study are: 

  • Create an overview of certification and verification schemes and certificates being used in the area of forest and wood-based products  
  • Develop and apply a framework for the evaluation of such certification and third part verification schemes including their respective strengths and weaknesses, in relation to the EUTR 
  • Evaluate the applicability of the framework to other products originating from converted land 
  • Identify options for further work at the EU level/for the Commission

The main output for this project will be a report that will include an overview of certification and verification schemes and certificates being used in the area of forest and wood-based products and an assessment on their respective strengths and weaknesses, in particular in relation to the EUTR.

The phases of the project are:

  • Inception: :
    • Identification of stakeholders;
    • Establishment of stakeholder consultation forum;
    • Selection of certification systems.
  • Development of the evaluation framework
  • Systems analysis;
  • Assessment of the applicability of the assessment framework to other certification;
  • Continuous stakeholders’ engagement.

During the inception phase, Nepcon organized a webinar on June 18 for stakeholders to inform them of the progress of this study and explain how to get involved (the full webinar is available here).

This webinar specified measures taken by Nepcon to guarantee the impartiality of their evaluation, in particular the installation of organs such as:

  • The peer reviewers committee,
  • The stakeholder forum.

During the webinar, it was precised that the result will be to clarify the guarantees of the certification systems, to identify potential gaps, but will not propose any recommendation to the European Commission and / or Competent Authority on the eligibility of a system. There will also be no recommendation to Certification Bodies to improve their system.

To get involved in monitoring this study, you can register here.

Stakeholders will be involved through Webinars (such as the one on June 18), surveys for the selection of systems to be assessed, consultations and workshops for the development and use of the assessment framework. Individual interviews can be organized if necessary.

Currently, the survey for the selection of systems to be evaluated in this study is open until July 2.

All information is available on the Nepcon site study page. The ATIBT Certification Commission will follow this very important study to facilitate the use of forest certification systems within the framework of the EUTR and has registered as a stakeholder and will be involved in all stages of consultation.