Södra has been granted renewed forestry and chain of custody certification under the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) for the next five years. An external audit has been performed and nearly 60 properties were inspected in 2014. The audit encompasses social, environmental and production-related issues.
PEFCTM certification provides assurance that forest management activities are conducted in accordance with the requirements stipulated in the PEFC's forestry standard and that the timber can be traced back to the original forest where it grew. PEFC-certified raw material is a sought-after commodity by many customers active in the areas of pulp, sawn timber and interior wood products.
"We are proud of the work that all of our members and employees put in to maintain a high level of quality in forest management activities, in terms of both production and the environment. This certification represents acknowledgement of the progress we are making," said Hökan Larsson, President, Södra Skog.
As part of its commitment to comply with the requirements of the certification scheme, Södra's members have set aside an average of 8 per cent of their forest land area for nature conservation purposes. This is equivalent to about 200,000 football pitches. Furthermore, in conjunction with harvesting operations in production forests, consideration is given to various nature conservation values, such as dead wood, old trees and valuable microhabitats.
To obtain certification, it is also necessary to meet social requirements in relation to, for example, employment terms and conditions, work environment and outdoor life.
Between them, Södra's members own 22,000 smallholdings totalling 1.7 million hectares of forest land. Södra has offered them the opportunity to gain PEFC acceditation since 2000.Södra has also offered FSC certification since 2009 and holds one of the world's largest group certificates.