Proceedings of NCCF and PEFC International’s Training Course on PEFC Chain of Custody Certification Auditors held on 18th-19th August 2021

NCCF jointly with PEFC International organized Training Course for PEFC Chain of Custody Certification Auditors 18th-19th August 2021

Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF) and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) had jointly organized an online two days PEFC CoC auditor’s training on 18th-19th August 2021. 

The training was attended by 30 auditors and observers representing CBs and accreditation boards from different parts of the world including India, South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, Switzerland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Cambodia, Singapore and Romania. This included subjects like Detailed requirements under PEFC Chain of Custody of forest and tree based products, PEFC trademark rules, Requirements for CBs operating against PEFC Chain of Custody, Accreditation requirements for AB & CBs  and PEFC & CBs engagement etc.  

Day 1, 18th August 2021: 

Mr A.K. Srivastava, Director General, NCCF in his opening remarks welcomed all the participants, while giving a brief about NCCF, objectives of the training and need and benefits of the PEFC Chain of Custody Certification. He mentioned that  CoC is tracking wood flow from forest to consumers and assures use of certified wood from well managed forests and plantations.  PEFC CoC certification is designed for all businesses involved in the supply chain of forest-based products and opens up new opportunities in markets requiring certified products. It covers more than 20,000 companies dealing with furniture, handicrafts, MDF, particle board, plywood, veneer sheets, paper and paper products, packaging material, printing material, sawn wood and many more wood or forest fibre based products. In India, some 45 companies, to name a few, Durian Industries, Birla Cellulosic, Eximcorp, Hindustan Pencils, BILT, Thompson, Welspun, CL Gupta Exports, Greenlam Industries etc. have taken PEFC CoC certificates and many more companies are coming forward for PEFC CoC . 

Mr Srivastava also informed that NABCB has allowed the provisional recognition to be done by NCCF, as the scheme owner and regular accreditation will continue to be accorded by the National Board for Accreditation Bodies (NABCB). He requested the CBs to encourage the potential clients to adopt PEFC CoC to enhance their market share and also brand value. 

Mr Richard Laity, Projects and Development Officer , PEFC  South East Asia, gave a brief introduction about PEFC including the work they perform, benefits of PEFC, strength and modalities, the main drivers pushing for certification and how PEFC is different from other certification systems. He maintained that Forest certification should not be an option but an essential requirement. 

Mr Anil Jauhri, Chairperson, Certification Advisory Group, NCCF (ex-CEO, NABCB) stated that NCCF’s Forest Certification Scheme is endorsed by PEFC, while the  Tree Outside Forest Certification standard is under the process of endorsement by PEFC which is to be appreciated. While such endorsement promotes exports, in the long run, there is a need to look into the  domestic regime which needs to be upgraded because differential standards for domestic market and exports do not work. Further, as the sector is governed by smaller stakeholders, they and small industry need resources for consulting and handholding and scheme owners like PEFC and NCCF should help create such resources to preserve integrity of certification besides training auditors.. He complimented NCCF and PEFC for organizing this important training event. 

Dr Mrutunjay Jena, Director, NABCB, made a detailed presentation on “Requirements of Accreditation Body and Certification Bodies to operate upon NCCF Standard and PEFC CoC Standard” highlighting the accreditation system, different standards, conformity assessments, need for confidence in conformity assessment and its international acceptability,particularly in the context of growing trends in demand for CoC certification. 

The training sessions were conducted by Mr Richard Laity, Chief Trainer along with his colleagues Ms Linda Matole, Technical Officerand Ms Nga Ha, PEFC SEA Coordinator. They introduced trainees the details of PEFC CoC documentation, scope and management system of PEFC, Due Diligence System, Multi-site certification, requirements for CBs operating against PEFC CoC and PEFC trademarks rules etc. 

Second day, 19th August 2021, started with a recap of learnings in the previous day. Modules on “Types of Certification” and “General Trademark Requirements” were presented. In the session on trademark requirements, Ms. Linda Matole talked about the ownership of the trademark, its scope and usage, graphic requirements and other essential criteria necessary for authenticity of the PEFC logo. The participants were provided an insight on requirements for certification bodies to be a PEFC auditor and on the overall certification process. 

The comprehensive training module was a mix of presentations, and case studies and trainees gained immensely through the examples explained during the training sessions encompassing the real scenarios in CoC certification. The trainers shared their deep knowledge in the subject and substantiated the same with their eclectic professional experience. The participants exchanged experiences and valuable feedback on the implementation of the standard.     

Trainees will be required to complete an online Knowledge Test within 15 days after completion of the training.  Successful participation in this training would make the auditors eligible to conduct PEFC CoC certification audits, as attending a PEFC-recognized training is also a precondition to become a qualified auditor. For existing trained auditors, this training was an opportunity to update themselves on the underlying expectations, clarifications and interpretations related to PEFC Chain of Custody Standard. 

Mr A.K. Bansal, Chairperson, Promotions, Communication & Advocacy and Non Wood Forest Resources Groups  of NCCF, in his closing remarks, summarized the proceedings of the training and emphasised the importance of CoC certification being the link between the resource and the consumers, the demand for which is having an increasing trend. He appreciated the case studies presented in the training program as being very illustrative and clarifications offered were of practical use, including how the material other than PEFC certified can enter as input into CoC through application of Due Diligence System.  Mr Bansal was confident that participants must have met their learning objectives including how the PEFC CoC bottom up approach is better than the FSC certification. He concluded with a vote of thanks to all the participants for being a part of the training and appreciated the hard work and coordination of NCCF and PEFC team for an incredibly interesting training.  

The participants appreciated the quality of training and expressed keen interest in attending refresher  training in the future to update their knowledge and skills.