ToF Certification Scheme
GICIA India Pvt. Ltd. is an accredited entity to perform third-party certification audit under Trees Outside Forest (ToF) certification scheme developed by NCCF. ToF certification can be availed by forest based industries, government-owned plantations, individual landholders and groups of small landholders.
Trees outside Forest (ToF) resource in India plays a very important role in meeting the requirements of wood fibre of the country, especially the pulp and paper, plywood and composite products, handicrafts and furniture industry. Currently, ToF resource is estimated to meet maximum of industrial wood requirements. Trees outside Forests (ToF) in India have been planted along the roads, in parks and gardens, places of worships, in farms, in tea/coffee estates. Such trees mainly grow on private or common lands and have remained an integral part of the cultural ethos and rural land use. ToF have contributed in meeting domestic needs and providing income to local people but have remained as an invisible resource to land use agencies.
NCCF has indigenously developed the Certification Standard for Trees Outside Forest through multi-stakeholder Standard Development Group. Trees outside Forest mostly occur in below two forms:
Block Formations (Urban trees and forests, Agroforestry)
- Non-Block Formations (Scattered Trees, Avenue Plantations/Multipurpose lots and Along highways, railway lines, etc.
Benefits of ToF Certification:
- Environmental Benefit: Helps in Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change mitigation; Helps in conserving soil and water through sustainable Forest Management Practices.
- Economic Benefit: Getting Premium on the certified timber.
- Certified timber enables Indian Manufacturers to tap the global market.
Representatives of the Land Management operation fill out an application or provide a request for proposal to undergo the certification evaluation process.
GIPL evaluates the application and prepares an audit plan and proposal, including the costs and a timeline for the evaluation process. The work order including quotation is sent to the applicant and on its acceptance, agreement is prepared and sent to the applicant. The applicant then authorizes the work order, signs the agreement and the certification process begins.
Pre-assessment generally provides the client with a status of readiness for the main evaluation audit. It is carried out to assess & confirm, scope and objectives of main evaluation audit. (This is not a mandatory step in TOF certification)
GIPL team conducts stakeholder consultations to acquire outside input regarding the applicant’s management performance in relation to the certification criteria.
On-Site Audit/Full Evaluation Audit
The audit team conducts an on-site audit to determine if the applicant’s management system is being implemented in conformity with the applicable standards. Plantation condition are also assessed. A report is produced that details the results of the evaluation. Client is informed of nonconformities, if any, observed during the on-site audit and information is provided regarding additional evaluation task needed to verify that corrections have been made and corrective action taken on nonconformities.
The audit report is reviewed by the applicant for factual accuracy, and then submitted to independent peer review to validate the appropriateness of the team’s analytical methodology and conclusions. A public summary of the report is prepared and sent to the client for placing on its web site.
Following peer review, the GIPL reviews the report and other relevant information to decide whether to approve certification. If certification is not approved, reasons thereof are communicated to the applicant.
Requisite Annual Surveillance Audit
A surveillance audit is confirmed (via Work Order) and conducted; Audit Report is prepared by Auditor and reviewed by GIPL. The public summary is updated with the results of the Surveillance audit.
Note: For renewal of the certificate, similar procedure, as applicable, is followed.