We all want to live in a world where our forests are managed sustainably, ensuring they will be around for generations to come. At PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, we use forest certification as the means to realize this vision.

Forest certification works through market demand. The market wants to know it is buying products originating from sustainably managed forests. Forest certification provides this assurance, acting as an important driving force in eliminating illegal logging and improving the management of the world’s forests.

But market demand alone is not enough. Improving forest management practices in all regions of the world requires new approaches, local motivation and new forms of partnerships.

Helping to realize local innovation is what the PEFC Collaboration Fund set out to do when it was launched 6 years ago. The Collaboration Fund, managed in Geneva as part of PEFC International’s operations, invests annually in projects that show real promise in developing forestry solutions that are both locally and internationally relevant.

What all the projects funded over the years have in common is the ability to deliver real impact on the ground, while also showing potential for eventual replication or impact at the international level.  It’s in this way that the Fund brings to life the PEFC spirit of think global – act local.

Since 2011, the Fund has awarded around 600,000€ across 30 projects in 25 countries and involving 70 organizations. Obviously no comparison to investment of the Global Environment Facility or European Commission! But our small investments have helped to mobilize new partnerships and move some really great ideas into action. Through the co-funding requirement of the Fund, it has also helped to unlock other sources of funding, leveraging 800,000€ co-funding into the projects.

To illustrate some of the exciting innovations that the Fund is supporting, last year alone the Fund invested in projects designed to:

  • Advance forest certification in the rubber sector of Thailand
  • Deploy landscape-level forest certification for small forest owners in the USA
  • Engage the Italian fashion industry to create a sustainable collection made with PEFC-certified forest-based products
  • Develop practical certification solutions for small landowners in South Africa
  • Support the Philippines in developing their national forest certification system
  • Promote certified forest products to consumers in Korea

Every year we are flooded with great project proposals from all over the world and have to make tough choices about where to invest our funding. This is a hard process but it fills us with optimism:  recognizing just how much inspiration, innovation and commitment exists at the grassroots level and the promise it holds in safeguarding the world’s forests.

Want to join us in our efforts?


Writer: Sarah Price, Head of Projects & Development at PEFC International