Proceeds of NCCF & NABCB Webinar on “NCCF Forest/ToF Certification Schemes, PEFC CoC Certification, and Accreditation Requirements for the Certification Bodies”

16th April 2021, Friday: Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF) and National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB, jointly organized a webinar for the certification bodies (CBs) on NCCF’s Forest Management, and ToF  Certification Schemes, PEFC CoC Certification and accreditation requirements for CBs. 68 participants, representing leading CBs, qualified auditors, natural resource management experts, and consultants attended. The participants appreciated that certification is an important management tool to promote the sustainability of resources. Third-party assessment, through credible CBs with trained and experienced auditors and experts, is demonstrable evidence to ensure that we are managing our forests, ToF, and other natural resources sustainably. The participants expressed keen interest in understanding NCCF’s certification schemes and business potential for CBs, CoC certification, and the requirements for provisional recognition of the CBs to conduct certification audits against these schemes.

The panel comprised Mr. Rajesh Maheshwari, CEO, NABCB, Mr. Mrutunjay Jena, Director, NABCB, Mr. Anil Jauhri, Chairperson, Certification Advisory Group, NCCF, Mr. A.K. Srivastava, DG NCCF, Mr. Avani K Varma, Chairperson, NCCF’s SDG on Forest Management Certification, Mr. A.K. Bansal, Chairperson, SDG NWFP and PCA Group of NCCF, Dr. Devendra Pandey, Chairperson, SDG for Trees Outside Forest and Mr. Varun Grover, Assistant Director, NCCF. Dr. Indu Dwivedi coordinated the proceedings of the webinar. The participants expressed keen interest in understanding the scheme-related details.

Mr. A K Srivastava, DG, NCCF in his welcome remarks gave an overview of the mandate and activities of NCCF and the significance of NCCF’s Forest Management and ToF certification schemes. He expressed thanks to NABCB for collaborating with NCCF in organizing this webinar and appreciated the potential role of Cbs in promoting certification. It was mentioned that NCCF’s sustainability standards have a great potential to contribute towards achieving SDG goals, sustainable forest management, our international commitments for climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, and land restoration and trade benefits to the wood-based industries. He highlighted that pandemic has re-emphasized the need for making peace with nature.  As the health of people and the planet are interdependent, we have to adopt sustainable lifestyles and focus on green growth, climate justice, biodiversity conservation, and nature-based solutions. Certification could contribute in a small way to keep at bay COVID-like situations in the future and wished the participants full safety and good health.

Mr. Rajesh Maheshwari, CEO of, NABCB  in his remarks emphasized that forests/ ToF is an important sector from the perspective of trade and sustainability. NCCF has been endeavoring to promote forest certification in India and the government and stakeholders need to look into the sustainable utilization of forest and timber resources and the underlying legality issues. NCCF certification scheme, endorsed by the PEFC, will assure the consumers that a product is coming from the certified source. He assured that NABCB would be playing the role of a robust and supportive Accreditation Board for NCCF Schemes and for the certification bodies.

Mr. Anil Jauhri, the Chairperson, complimented NCCF for developing an Indian-specific scheme of certification that has been endorsed by PEFC, giving it international recognition. He encouraged the CBs to take up provisional recognition to perform certification against the NCCF FM/ToF Certification schemes and later may get formal accreditation of NABCB For ToF Scheme, NCCF would be giving provisional recognition to CBs for 2 years and later take regular accreditation of NABCB.

Mr. A K Varma, Co-chairman, NCCF, and Chairperson, NCCF’s FM and Ecotourism Certification Groups, made a presentation on the NCCF FM Certification Scheme (with a focus on the perspective of CBs). He mentioned that a certification is a tool for the sustainable management of forests. He discussed different types of forest certifications and their benefits. Also, highlighted requirements for the FM auditors and the forest certification challenges faced in India.

Dr. Devendra Pandey, Chairperson, SDG for ToF, emphasized the NCCF ToF Certification Scheme. He talked about various categories of wood sources,  most of which are from the trees grown outside the forested area. He discussed the need and benefits of the ToF certification standard and the requirements for the accreditation of CBs for the ToF scheme.

Mr. A K Bansal, Chairperson, SDG NWFP and PCA Group of NCCF explained the details ofPEFC Chain of Custody Certification, and how it provides a credible assurance to all stakeholders from source to consumers and ensures legality and traceability. He also talked about the benefits of PEFC CoC certification to the industries along with the PEFC trademark usage requirements.

Mr. Mritunjaya Jena, Director, NABCB provided comprehensive insights on Accreditation and Provisional Approval Requirements for the NCCF-PEFC FM Certification Scheme. He briefed about the technical competencies involved for CBs to take up accreditation from NABCB.

Mr. Varun Grover, Assistant Director, NCCF covered the business potential of NCCF FM and ToF schemes for the CBs by highlighting potential income projections for them. He also briefed about the technical competence involved for personnel involved in certification.

The queries of participants were responded through Q&A in the chatbox. The presentations were followed by an intense and lively interaction. The webinar helped the participants to have a good overall understanding of certification using NCCF Schemes, processes, and requirements for provisional recognition and business potential of certification. The participants felt that the intended objective of the webinar was by and large achieved and such joint NCCF/ NABCB events could be a regular feature to update their professional skills.

Mr. A K Bansal, in his closing remarks, thanked all the participants who took time and participated in the webinar and mentioned that unanswered queries can be sent to us via mail.

He also apprised about the current situation that globally focus is shifting more and more towards sustainability, sustainable management, and natural resources and how we can showcase that we are managing our resources sustainably although we have a system of a working plan for the last 150 years, and the impact of it should be looked upon as per the suggestions.

But it also raises the questions of how do we satisfy the public at large that we are managing our forests sustainably; maybe certification has the answer because certification is the only third-party verification system which is available and which assures to the various stakeholders that the forests are being managed sustainably and it talks not only in terms of sustainable management of forests but also the rights of the local communities, the rights of the laborers, rights of the people living in the vicinity of forest and dependent on forests, health and safety aspects, environmental regulation, use of restricted chemicals and the whole lot of other things which also gets certified in the process, so the third-party credible certification system is perhaps the only demonstrable evidence to show to the world at large that we are managing our resources sustainably.

CBs have also a role to play because they have huge outreach through their clientele, maybe not only in terms of FM, ToF, or CoC but also in other sectors and making sustainability a consumer mantra. Consumers should ask for whatever they are using, be it forest produce or otherwise, whether such products are made from sustainably managed resources.  So CBs can greatly help in promoting responsible consumerism and creating demand for certified products and drive sustainability of natural resources.

Presentations presented by NCCF and NABCB can be seen as under:

Accreditation & Provisional Recognition SystemsBusiness Potential for the CBsNCCF CoCNCCF FMNCCF ToF