The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has launched the Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme. This national forest certification scheme offers voluntary third-party certification designed to promote sustainable forest management and agroforestry in the country. The scheme includes forest management certification, tree outside forest management certification, and chain of custody certification.
The Indian Forest and Wood Certification Scheme can provide market incentives to various entities that adhere to responsible forest management and agroforestry practices in their operations. This includes state forest departments, individual farmers, or Farmer Producer Organizations engaged in agroforestry and farm forestry, as well as other wood-based industries in the value chain.
The Forest Management certification is based on the Indian Forest Management Standard, consisting of 8 criteria, 69 indicators and 254 verifiers, which is an integral part of the National Working Plan Code 2023, launched earlier this year. A separate Trees Outside Forests Standard, is now introduced as a part of the newly launched Indian Forest & Wood Certification Scheme.
The Indian Forest and Wood Certification Scheme, will be overseen by the Indian Forest and Wood Certification Council, which will act as a multistakeholder advisory body. The Council is represented by members from eminent institutions such as Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Forest Survey of India, Quality Council of India, Indian Institute of Forest Management including representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Ministry of Commerce and Industry, State Forest Departments, Forest Development Corporations, and representatives from wood-based industries.
Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal will act as the scheme operating agency and will be responsible for overall management of the Indian Forest and Wood Certification Scheme.
The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies under the Quality Council of India will accredit the certification bodies which will carry out independent audits and assess adherence of various entities on the standards prescribed under the scheme.