Forest certification can demonstrate that forests are used responsibly and sustainably. This means that the management and treatment of forests is ecologically, economically and socially sustainable and does not reduce the viability of future generations. When practicing targeted forestry, the diversity of forest nature and the cultural and recreational values of forests are considered. The purpose of forest certification is to strengthen the sales of Finnish wood-based products on the international market.
Forest certification includes forest management certification and chain of custody certification. Forest certification defines the requirements, the fulfillment of which is assessed annually by an external party. The certificate is issued when forest owners and forestry operators commit to operating in accordance with the certification criteria and the requirements of the criteria are met in the assessment. Verification of the trees’ chain of origin ensures that trees come from certified forests. The chain of origin certificate is issued to forest industry production facilities that have a traceability system. Finland has two major certification systems, PEFC and FSC. About 90 percent of Finland's forests are PEFC-certified and 10 percent are FSC-certified.
In Finland, forest certification is usually implemented as regional group certification. Forest owners participate in the certification either through membership in forest management associations or by registering with the Sustainable Forestry Association directly or through an organization representing them, such as a wood procurement company.