SAFAS is a not-for-profit organisation with the goal to provide support for sustainable, responsible wood production for all scales of producers. Our strength lies in our collaboration between private and government organisations that are concerned with sustainable forestry and land use. In developing our standards and policies we worked closely with the Department of environment, Forestry and Fisheries, forestry experts representing growers of all scales and environmental and social organisations. Our partnership with SANBI and the UNDP has been invaluable to this mission. SAFAS developed a forest certification system that was endorsed by PEFC in 2018.
SAFAS and the PEFC
SAFAS identified a need for a certification system that was relevant to the African context. The system would need to work for smallholders as well as large corporates, would need to address local forest management risks and provide assurance of sustainability to the market. With this in mind PEFC provided the perfect partner. Apart from being the largest forest certification system in the world, PEFC’s greatest strength is that it recognizes the global importance of sustainable forest management while realising its implementation is local. That is why PEFC works “through national forest certification systems, enabling countries to tailor their sustainable forest management requirements to their specific forest ecosystems, the legal and administrative framework, the socio-cultural context and other relevant factors.” PEFC strongly emphasises balanced stakeholder involvement in the development of national systems. This is what allows small and private forest owners to access certification and makes the system able to address the key risks to responsible forest management.