PEFC forestry certification in 2023: a leader in forestry management and sustainability

Over the past year, PEFC forestry certification saw continuous growth, with 80,220 hectares, 10,231 foresters and 70 companies becoming certified in Spain.

Treetops seen from the ground.
Photo: Angela Benito/Unsplash.

As 2023 drew to a close, the certified forest surface area under the PEFC system totalled 2,769,490 hectares, managed by 66,345 foresters and managers committed to the sustainable management of forests. These figures represent an increase of 3% in the certified surface area and 18% in the number of foresters compared to the previous year, reflecting how stakeholders in the sector have recognised forest certification as a fundamental tool in driving sustainable practices that contribute to the preservation of our woodlands and the mitigation of climate change. The criteria and indicators that are audited under the PEFC system in accordance with Standard UNE 162.002 on Sustainable Forest Management consider all the resources and biodiversity of forests as well as their ecosystem services.

Galicia and Castilla y León are the regions that have seen the sharpest growth, with increases of 33,015 and 32,680 ha respectively, contributing significantly to net national growth. Catalonia (Δ13,108 ha) also saw notable growth in certified surface area. The highest increase in the number of foresters was in Galicia, with 8,715 followed by Asturias with 850 sign-ups.

In terms of the type of property, 61% of the surface area was under public management and 39% under private management. This distribution varies between Autonomous Communities, with Castilla y León leading the way in terms of public management and Galicia in private management.

PEFC forest certification continues to contribute to the accessibility of diverse types of certified areas, large and small, with 38 different Sustainable Forest Management certificates in force. These certificates are divided into 9 regional, 21 group and 8 individual certificates, managing a total of 1,866,069 ha, 513,474 ha and 389,946 ha, respectively. AENOR and GFA are the accredited certification entities for granting these certificates.

Increase in PEFC certification in construction, printing and pulp and paper sectors.

PEFC Chain of Custody certification remains crucial to companies involved in the value chain in the forestry sector, ensuring sustainable origin of forestry products and guaranteeing the highest environmental, social and economic requirements in line with the targets set by the European Union and indeed the demands of new consumers. In 2023, 70 new companies were awarded certification, with the total number of PEFC-certified companies rising to 1,745. Andalusia (△17), Madrid (△14) and Catalonia (△12) lead the way in net growth of certified companies. In sectoral terms, the growth figures stand out in the wood and construction (Δ22), printing (Δ19) and pulp and paper sectors (Δ16).

In 2023, the combined turnover of PEFC certified companies exceeded 21 million euros, with significant weight in the Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Aragón and Galicia. The pulp and paper sector accounts for close to 50% of this figure, while the wood and construction sector accounts for 24%, reaffirming their strategic role in forest certification.

In 2023, the forestry sector maintained its firm commitment to sustainability, with PEFC forest certification leading the way in recognising the importance of caring for our forests and using their products responsibly to build a sustainable future.

Because forests matter

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PEFC Spain
PEFC Spain is a non-profit organisation, founded by public organisations, private and public forest owners, private industries and professional organisations to provide a forest certification instrument that is adapted to a European context and meets the needs of owners to flexibly implement ecologically appropriate management.