The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) has today launched the SBP Framework to representatives of the EU Institutions at an event in Brussels. The Framework consists of standards and independent certification procedures which together provide a tool enabling users of woody biomass for energy production to demonstrate the legal and sustainable sourcing of its feedstock material in compliance with regulatory requirements and to provide the data required to assess properly its carbon footprint.
Energy production from biomass has an important role to play in the future EU energy market and is key to the current Energy Union debate. It has the potential to deliver a meaningful contribution towards meeting the 2020 and 2030 renewable energy targets and the long term goal for decarbonisation, whilst strongly supporting security of energy supply. In order for woody biomass to fulfil this role it is imperative that the biomass feedstock is sourced both legally and sustainably and that it is a low carbon energy alternative. The SBP Framework provides a practical approach to demonstrate that and in doing so will support the work of European policy makers and regulators in integrating woody biomass use for large scale energy production into low carbon energy policy.
The SBP recognises forest-level certification schemes, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). However, in some key forest source areas for the woody biomass typically used for large scale, industrial energy production there is a lack of uptake of these schemes. In addition, the schemes themselves do not cover all the regulatory requirements that users of biomass for energy production must meet, most notably the collection, carriage and calculation of energy and carbon balance data along the supply chain.
The SBP has developed its Framework as a solution to both these issues and as a tool to demonstrate compliance with national regulatory requirements. The Framework draws on the most comprehensive aspects of today’s requirements for legal and sustainable feedstock sourcing and energy and carbon balance calculations. It is adaptive in its approach and will evolve through a process of continuous improvement enabling future regulatory requirements to be incorporated as necessary.
The SBP Framework is ready for implementation and the immediate focus is to encourage Biomass Producers to seek certification of their processes in conformance with the Framework.
Commenting on the launch of the SBP Framework, Dorothy Thompson CBE, SBP Chairman said: “Biomass is only a true renewable if it is sourced responsibly and sustainably. SBP fully recognises that when biomass is used to produce energy it must be sustainable and a low carbon alternative. The SBP Framework is an effective tool enabling users of woody biomass for energy production to demonstrate these credentials in compliance with regulatory requirements.
“We are encouraged by the interest that representatives of the EU Institutions have shown in the SBP and its Framework, and we look forward to working with them and other interested parties to make this a truly multi-stakeholder approach.”
Peter Wilson, Executive Director, SBP added: “The members of the SBP are significant actors in the large scale, industrial wood to energy sector and together have taken the initiative to facilitate the development of an independently certified tool, the SBP Framework, which will enable users of woody biomass for energy production to demonstrate their fuel is sourced in compliance with regulatory, including sustainability, requirements.
“The SBP Framework has used existing forest-level certification schemes as its starting point and has developed additional criteria to ensure compliance with existing regulatory requirements for users of biomass for energy production. It is the intention that the Framework provides a practical approach to support the work of European policy makers and regulators.”