What We Do
What We Do
Australian Forest Certification Scheme
Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (AFS Ltd) oversees the operation of the Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFCS) which applies to forest management and chain of custody certification in Australia. The AFCS is endorsed by PEFC, the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification.
AFS Ltd is the scheme owner and is responsible for periodic review of the Standards and governance of the AFCS. AFS Ltd is also responsible for overseeing the development of Directives, Rulings and Guidance Notes from time to time when the need for clarification on any issue arises.
The implementation of the AFCS is administered by JAS-ANZ, the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand. JAS-ANZ provides accreditation to a number of certification bodies, who in turn are responsible for providing verification that certified organisations meet the requirements of the respective Standards.
The AFCS includes Standards, Rulings, Scheme Rules and Directives which collectively provide the mandatory requirements for certification bodies and scheme participants.
The AFCS is supported by Guidance Notes which provide additional information. Guidance notes are usually not mandatory.
Documents relevant to the implementation of the AFCS Forest Management Standard include:
Forest Management Standards
The Standard applicable to Sustainable Forest Management in Australia is:
- AS 4708:2013 - the Australian Standard® for Sustainable forest management, which applies to forest managers operating in Australia.
This Standard is updated every 5 years.
Forest Management Systems Scheme Rules
The principal document that establishes the manner in which the AFCS is implemented is:
- JAS-ANZ FMS Scheme for Australia and New Zealand - Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of Forest Management Systems.
This document replaces the former JAS-ANZ Procedure 26. It applies to certification bodies and describes processes for determining the scope of certification, establishing the frequency of audits, calculating audit duration and conducting audits. It has implications for forest managers.
Documents relevant to the implementation of the AFCS Chain of Custody Standard include:
Chain of Custody Standard
Chain of Custody Scheme Rules
The document that governs the implementation of the Chain of Custody Scheme is:
These rules apply equally to all PEFC Internationally endorsed schemes, including the AFCS and are applied in Australia to organisations providing Chain of Custody Certification to AS4707.
From time to time, AFS Ltd may issue a Directive which aims to clarify issues, provide an interpretation of the requirements of the Scheme Rules, or provide instruction on how certain aspects of Standards are to be applied within the context of the Scheme Rules. Specific requirements covered by Directive are likely to be included at the next update of the Scheme Rules or in some cases, referred to the relevant Standards Reference Committee.
At present, there are three Directives relevant to Forest Management and Chain of Custody.
- DIR 2013-01 Group Certification Directive- May 2014
- DIR 2015- 01 Directive to Certification Bodies providing Chain of Custody Certification- July 2015
- DIR 2017-01 Scope of Certification
Rulings are mandatory interpretations of Standards and are provided by the relevant Standards Reference Committee (SRC). The AS 4708 Standards Reference Committee has provided two mandatory rulings as follow:
- December 2014- Chemical Use
- October 2015- Recovery of Forest Products from Water Bodies
- January 2017 - Chain of Custody Documentation
Guidance notes have been developed to provide additional information to assist forest managers and certification bodies in the implementation of the Standard.
The current guidance notes are:
- GN01- 2013 Guidelines for the Certification of Forest Management
- GN02- 2013 Guidelines for the Certification of Group Forest Management
Note: (1) The effect of Directive DIR 2013-01 above is to make GN02-2013 a mandatory document when applied to Group Forest Management Certification
With the exception of GN02-2013 above, these guidelines are not mandatory and do not include any normative requirements for certification bodies, forest managers or other scheme participants.
AFS Ltd recognises that some of the guidance material in GN01-2013 requires review following the release of the recent update of the JAS-ANZ AFCS Rules. AFS Ltd intends to fully review and update the guidance material when the Standards are next reviewed.
For the most current guidance, certification bodies, forest managers and other scheme participants should refer to the JAS-ANZ FMS Scheme Rules, and any relevant Directives.
Sustainable Forest Management in New Zealand
AFS Ltd oversees the operation of the Sustainable Forest Management Scheme in New Zealand on behalf of the New Zealand Forest Certification Association (NZFCA). The NZFCA Scheme is comprised of two Standards
- NZS AS 4708:2014 New Zealand Standard® for Sustainable Forest Management
- PEFC ST 2002:2013 Chain of Custody for Forest Based Products- Requirements
Unlike Australia, New Zealand has not developed a National Standard for Chain of Custody and had adopted the PEFC International Standard for Chain of Custody. NZS AS 4708 is a National Standard developed by Standards New Zealand with Standards New Zealand being responsible for amendments, rulings and interpretations.
The New Zealand Scheme, like the Australian Scheme, is endorsed by PEFC, the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification.
As JAS-ANZ is the Government appointed accreditation body with responsibility for both Australia and New Zealand, the same Scheme Rules for Sustainable Forest Management and Chain of Custody apply in both Australia and New Zealand. Certification Bodies operating in Australia are usually JAS-ANZ accredited to provide certification in New Zealand.
The Directives identified above, as they relate to operational aspects of the Schemes are applicable in both Australia and New Zealand.