At the end of November 1997 the European Forest Institute signed a contract with DG VIII of the European Commission to provide an information system about activities on forest certification. This information system was intended to provide free, balanced and open information about the whole range of forest certification activities. Based at EFI headquarters in Finland the CIS used the Internet and publications as its primary means of communication to forestry institutions and organisations world wide and especially in ACP countries. Its aim was to provide a clear and coherent source of data on growing issues on certification and other tools and processes for sustainable forest management. Such a service was needed due to an increasing attention found on this subject; conflicts have often arisen on the issues of forest management standards, terminology, certification procedures, implementation, international case studies, reaction to trade, types of schemes, sovereignty rights, etc.