SOUTH AFRICAN FORESTRY ASSURANCE SCHEME (SAFAS)
South African Forestry Assurance Scheme (SAFAS) was officially endorsed
by the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) in
November 2018. The process to get certification bodies accredited to
audit against the SAFAS standard is underway. The goal is to be ready
to certify plantations against the standard during the 1st quarter of 2020.
The objective is to have a National Certification Scheme that is based
on the DAFF Principles Criteria and Indicators for sustainable forest
management that is appropriate for all scales of forestry operations. The goal
is for forestry certification to be a tool for improving forest management and
facilitate access to markets that require certification. Currently about 80% of
South African plantations are certified under the FSC system but very few of these
plantations are on private farms or in communal areas. As the
demand for certified products increases, both abroad and locally, certification
could become a trade barrier to smaller management units. This is a concern for the entire timber
industry as most timber growers supply common markets. In addition, South
Africa's land reform programme is likely to result in a greater proportion of
the plantation estate being managed by smaller scale timber growers. It was
felt that a National Standard that is more sensitive to the needs of the
smaller scale forestry operations is needed.
The standard forms part of the policies and standards of SAFAS which is
administered by a National Governing Body (NGB) which is a member of the PEFC.
The scheme will allow forestry operations of all scales that comply with the
standards and scheme's requirements to be certified under SAFAS and once
endorsed by the PEFC be recognized as certified by the PEFC.
BACKGROUND TO THE STANDARD
Environmental Committee of Forestry South Africa (FSA) tasked a Steering
Committee to develop a certification system that could be endorsed by the PEFC.
This Committee suggested using the National PCI&S Framework as a basis for
developing an auditable standard.
Forest Act of 1998 binds forestry operations to principles of sustainable
forest management and promotes the development of a system of Principles,
Criteria, Indicators and Standards (PCI&S) for sustainable forest
management. The current set of PCI&S is the result of an intensive review
process of the second edition of the manual (2007).
The steps that were followed to develop the certification system include:
Establishment of a
National Governing Body (NGB) responsible for the governance and administration
of the system. This body will include broad stakeholder interests and will
oversee the system. (Figure 1). The NGB will apply to become a member of the
approval from government for the use of the National PCI&S Framework for the purpose of
developing the standard.
PCI&S Framework for public use.
Development of an
auditable standard using PCI&S Framework as a template.
Development of certification,
accreditation and chain of custody procedures.
Development of Group Certification
Procedures that will enable Smallholders to achieve certification (risk based
certification of landscapes).
The complete standard setting process is outlined in the draft Standard
Setting Procedures downloadable HERE
The working group comprises the following members:
- David Everard (Sappi Forests) - Industry Large Scale forestry
- Craig Norris (NCT Forestry Cooperative) - Industry Smallholders and farmers
- Makwena Meleka (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) Government
- Oscar Mokotedi (Department Environmental Affairs) - Government Environment
- Vusi Dladla (NCT) - Communities and Smallholders
- Steven Germishuizen (African Environmental Services) - Environment
- Sanele Khuzwayo (LIMA) - Rural development and communities
Please address any queries or requests for information to either:
Alternatively they can be faxed to (033) 897 8502 or posted to:
P.O. Box 1445