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Seal of approval: Recognizing an ecological manufacturer

28 abr. 2014

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28 abr. 2014
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PEFC und FSC certifications for plywood

Ecological and sustainable developments have also played an increasingly important role in the construction sector. Manufacturers, planners and construction companies are taking on more responsibility towards the environment and society as a whole. A positive example of this is the formwork and scaffolding manufacturer PERI, whose material for its plywood sheets originates from sustainable forests. The forest areas where the raw materials come from are reforested after every harvest – this is verified through the PEFC and FSC certifications.

Private building owners are increasingly demanding that environmentally friendly building materials are being used in the construction of their property. Many attach great importance in obtaining certification which makes the sustainable construction techniques transparent. Also for property developers and suppliers involved, it has become increasingly important to act more ecologically, socially and future-oriented. As a result, 16 initiators from the construction and real estate industry founded the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen e.V. (German Sustainable Building Council) in 2007. This independent, non-profit organization, together with the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, developed a new system for evaluating the sustainability quality of buildings and urban districts. Its counterpart in the United States is the LEED qualification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for classifying environmentally-sound construction which was set up in 1998.

Legislation has also contributed to the fact that the green economy is growing in many countries. Through the Timber Trade Regulation (EU Timber Regulation , EUTR ) and the Timber Trade Act (HolzSiG) – whereby the EUTR and the FLEGT Action Plan (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) were converted into national law – the placing of illegally harvested timber or timber products on the European single market has been prohibited since March 2013. The EUTR requires importers to ensure a due diligence system is in place: on the basis of the information provided, e.g. type of wood, country of origin or the certification, the risk can be classified thus indicating to what extent it is illegally harvested timber. In addition, one institution in each EU member state is required to verify whether the market participants are complying with the regulations. In Germany, this is the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food. So-called Monitoring Organizations also assume a supervisory function. The FLEGT Action Plan was adopted by the EU in 2005 and stipulates that the timber-producing countries sign a voluntary partnership agreement with the EU by which they undertake to import only legally-harvested timber or timber products into the EU.

Considering that 80 % of the world's virgin forests have already been destroyed, it is high time to promote sustainable forest management in all regions of the world. Fortunately, there are companies that have proceeded in setting a good example for many years now. Thus, PERI uses certified plywood for producing its formlining sheets. PERI has PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) as well as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. Both internationally recognized seals of approval are proof that the company purchases its timber requirements from legal and sustainable sources, and is committed to following the guiding principle of ecological , economic and social forestry. The difference between the two certifications is that PEFC 's main focus is more on plantations or nursery forests whilst the FSC is concerned with the tropical regions. On those forests which have been certified by the two organizations, logging operations should be managed so that the harvested areas are always re-forested. In so doing, the renewable volumes should even exceed the quantities taken. Whoever wishes to display the seal must, among other things, respect biotopes and protected areas as well as ensuring compliance with social standards, and safeguard human rights. The entire timber flow from the forest through to the customer should meet the defined criteria. Independent organizations monitor forest owners and local businesses.

Thus, PERI guarantees to utilize only timber which comes mainly from certified growing areas in Norway, Sweden, Finland and various other countries. In addition, the company has all raw and auxiliary materials inspected by its own environmental auditor before being purchased. The presence of hazardous and harmful additives can therefore be ruled out. As a result, waste products such as wood chips and the end products themselves, e.g. formlining sheets, can be re-used or recycled. Symbolic for this is that PERI supplies the company´s headquarters, including the production facilities, through the on-site biomass power station. The wood chips and shavings from the production are processed to produce process heating and electricity for use at the company. What is left flows into the public power grid.