What does it mean if a product is PEFC or FSC certified? Antalis explains

July 03, 2019

With the world’s eyes on sustainability and criticism of single use plastic, consumers are realising that paper and paper products can be part of the solution of saving the planet.

In this article we are guiding you through the key certification scheme that are most broadly used when talking about sustainable paper and timber sourcing: Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).

Those two programmes ensure that the forests are managed and harvested responsibly and the paper that comes from them is fully traceable to its place in the forest.

According to the European Environmental agency, 2.1 billion hectares, or 52% of the world’s forests, are under forest management plans. In Europe, between 2005 and 2015, European Forests grew by an area the size of Switzerland, this is partly due to the well-managed, planted forests, used for responsible production of timber products, such as paper.

Why should we use certified products?

There is growing recognition that certified products are making a difference – according to the 2014 PEFC Global Consumer Survey more than 80% of consumers globally want companies sourcing certified material from sustainably managed forests to visibly utilise certification labels – meaning that non-certified products will be less and less accepted by end-users.

This is also an opportunity to differentiate – in the market, where paper is seen as a commodity, certification can offer an important differentiation point and a much sought after selling point.

What is FSC?

The FSC is an international organization that brings people together to find solutions which promote responsible stewardship of the world’s forests. This scheme is more commonly known, and it combines Chain of Custody certification with Forest Management.

Being FSC certified means that the forest, or supply chain of timber, is managed responsibly; that it complies with FSC environmental, social, and economic standards. This includes ensuring that local communities are respected, the habitats of endangered plant and animal species are protected and ensures workers are properly paid.

Seeing the FSC logo on a product means that the product supports the growth of responsible forest management. This logo is recognised worldwide and the FSC undertakes marketing programs and information services that contribute to the mission of promoting responsible forestry worldwide.

The FSC Controlled Wood Standard defines controversial wood sources, which are not allowed to be used for production of certified products from Mixed Sources. This is something the PEFC scheme does not do. Some examples are:

  • Wood harvested from forest areas where traditional or civil rights are violated
  • Wood harvested from not FSC-certified forest areas having high conservation values which are threatened
  • Illegally harvested wood

What is PEFC?

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization which promotes sustainable forest management through independent third party certification. It is considered the certification system of choice for small forest owners.

PEFC ensures that the wood products originating from each national scheme meet equivalent standards and can therefore be traded internationally.

PEFC certification provides:

  1. A fully audited and verifiable supply chain from forest to end use.
  2. Assurances that the fibre used and the products purchased originate from legal and sustainable sources.
  3. PEFC reduces risk and improves the internal efficiency of your business throughout the paper supply chain accounting system by integrating Chain of Custody certification into your company’s quality management and control systems.
  4. PEFC provides a practical demonstration of your company’s corporate, environmental and social responsibility by forming the foundation of a credible paper procurement policy.
  5. PEFC gives access to its trademarked logo for both on and off-product communications.

Antalis brands with FSC certification

Antalis offers a broad range of FSC certified products across various parts of the portfolio – from office papers, to creative papers, through to packaging and hygiene products.

Some examples are:

  • Xerox Colotech+ - premium, digital cut size paper
  • Xerox Premium Uncoated, Tracing and Coated papers
  • Image Digicolour – premium, digital and office papers
  • Conqueror from our creative papers range
  • Keycolor
  • Single Wall Corrugated Box from the packaging portfolio


Both FSC and PEFC certifications ensure that timber used for production of certified products doesn’t come from protected forests, or that protected species have not been used for their production and doesn’t contribute to deforestation or negatively impact on local communities.

Paper used in PEFC and FSC certified virgin fibre products therefore come from well-managed, controlled, audited and certified forests, and don’t contribute to deforestation.

Antalis offer a broad range of certified products across its portfolio, helping our customers differentiate from competition.

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