China Forest Certification Council System (CFCC)

China Forest Certification Council (CFCC) is the top management organisation for China’s forest certification system. It has a technical committee, an arbitration committee and a secretariat that is responsible for routine affairs.

CFCC consists of members from the government, research units, colleges and universities, production enterprises and social groups. It is responsible for:

  • Organising the drafting, approval and issuance of documents
  • Operation and management
  • Dispute, complaint and appeal arbitration
  • Promotion and publicity
  • Participating in international exchanges and cooperation

Standards

The CFCC’s standards formulation group develops China’s forest certification standards under the guidance of the technical committee. The group is composed of experts from social, economic and environmental fields. Standards go through a process of expert consultation, field testing, stakeholder consultation and expert demonstration before being officially issued for implementation.

So far, China has issued and implemented standards for certification of forest operations and for certification of production and chain of custody. The forest operation certification standard involves 9 principles, 45 standards and 118 indicators. The standard for certification of production and chain of custody is equivalent to that of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

Other standards and norms in the process of formulation. The scope of China’s forest certification also covers bamboo certification, carbon sequestration forest certification, non-wooden forest product certification, certification of forest ecological services and certification of rare and endangered species used for production and operation/trade.

Certification

An applicant should apply to the certification organisation, which shall assess conformity by following the procedures specified in the Rules for Implementation of China’s Forest Certification and the relevant certification standard and guidance.

Procedure for forest operation certification: Application; pre-evaluation; main evaluation; appraisal by experts of the same trade; certification decision; issuance of certificate; annual examination. The certificate is valid for five years.

Procedure for production and chain of custody certification: Application; on-the-spot examination; certification decision; issuance of certificate; annual examination. The certificate is valid for five years.

Accreditation

1. Forest certification organisations

According to the Certification and Accreditation Regulation of The People's Republic of China and relevant laws and regulations, any applicants for the qualification to become a forest certification organisation must get the approval from the certification supervision and administration authority, which accredited by the State Council. In the meantime, the applicant must registered with the relevant administration of industry and commerce in accordance with the law, be approved by the accreditation organisation, and file the application with the CFCC.

2. Examiners

Besides meeting the requirements for general knowledge and skill specified in Article 7.3.1 of the Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing (GB/T 19011:2003), the forest certification examiner should also meet special requirements outlined in the Scheme for Accreditation of Forest Certification Organization.

Use of logo

Certified enterprises should apply to the administration authority of China’s forest certification logo and should follow the Rules for Use of China’s Forest Certification Logo.

Handling disputes, appeals and complaints

The CFCC will handle all disputes, appeals and complaints about the forest certification process and certification results. All disputes, appeals and complaints about forest certification accreditation shall be handled by the certification accreditation supervision and administration department under the State Council.

Current situation

By December 2017, some57 forest operation units with a total area of 8.16 million hectares(3.16% of China total forest area) had passed CFCC forest operation certification. The main types of the forests certified were natural forest, forest plantation and mixed natural/plantation forest. The main tree species in these forests are larch, scotch pine, spruce, white birch, poplar and willow in North China and Eucalyptus robusta and long-peduncled alder in South China (according to the website of Zhonglin Tianhe (Beijing) Forest Certification Center).

A total of 31 enterprises have passed CFCC certification of production and chain of custody. A further 300 enterprises have the equivalent PEFC certification. With mutual acceptance between PEFC and CFCC, there are now 331 PEFC/CFCC enterprises with this certification.