Forest certification was introduced to Chile twenty years ago, to promote sustainable forest management, address the degradation of natural forests, and ameliorate social issues associated with an economically-successful industrial plantation forestry industry. Adoption of certification in Chile offers an informative case study of competition between the two international schemes, FSC and the PEFC-endorsed CERTFOR. This qualitative study explores the reasons why forestry businesses in each of the plantation and native forestry sectors sought, promoted and maintained certification under one or both schemes. Results show that their motivations to adopt and maintain a particular certification scheme depend not only on market access or social licence to operate but also on contextual factors, including the structure of the forest industry and historical land tenure disputes. The current situation reflects the history of certification: notwithstanding that the schemes have converged, the FSC still dominates the SFM discourse, but Chile's forestry industry has maintained CERTFOR for political reasons.