SBP Standards Committee Members Named

Today, SBP Chief Executive Officer, Carsten Huljus, named the members of the SBP Standards Committee who will take up their positions in January 2019.

Commenting on the new Standards Committee and its members, Carsten Huljus said: “The Standards Committee is a representation of SBP stakeholders, with the membership split 50:50 between those representing civil society and those representing commercial interests.

“The role of the Committee is to make decisions concerning certification system standard-setting and to provide views, advice and recommendations on the operation of SBP to the Board, other SBP Committees and the SBP Secretariat.

“The members of the Committee have been chosen to reflect diverse experiences, geographies and interests in relation to the work of SBP. All 12 members of the Standards Committee have now been selected.

“I am delighted to announce that representing civil society interests we have: Gary Bull, a Professor and Head of the Forest Resources Management Department at the University of British Columbia; Richard Donovan, a senior forestry specialist and advisor; Pedro Faria, a strategic advisor at CDP, the global disclosure system for managing environmental impacts; Nina Haase, an experienced certification practitioner and Board member of the Rainforest Alliance; Martin Junginger, a Professor of Bio-based Economy at the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University; and Dave Tenny, the founding President and CEO of the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO).

“Representing commercial interests we have: Sune Balle Hansen, the Biomass Sustainability Lead at HOFOR, Greater Copenhagen Utility; Mihkel Jugaste, the Head of Quality and Certification Systems at Graanul Invest, one of the biggest pellet producers in Europe; Gordon Murray, the Executive Director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC); Gaby Rahn, Manager Biomass Business Development at Vattenfall Energy Trading, one of the leading energy trading companies in the European energy industry; Yves Ryckmans, the Chief Technology Officer, Biomass at ENGIE Laborelec, a leading expertise and research centre in electrical power technology; and Mike Williams, the Project Director for The Westervelt Company, a land resource company and forest owner in the Southeast US.

“We are fortunate to have populated the Committee with such a wealth of experience, and I am certain that SBP will benefit greatly from the breadth of informed perspectives that the members will bring.

“Across the 22 members of the Board and Standards Committee, we have representation from nine countries, giving an excellent geographic balance for the organisation SBP is today.”

SBP Announces New Board

Today, SBP Chair, Francis Sullivan, announced the nominated, new members of the SBP Board who will take up their positions in January 2019.

Commenting on the nominations, Francis Sullivan said: “The vision of a balanced Board representing multi-stakeholder views will become a reality in January 2019. Much work has gone into devising the right organisational structure that will completely transform SBP and align it with best practice as demonstrated by leading sustainability standards.

“At the head of our new structure sits the Board. Collectively, the Board members will steer the future course for SBP through providing good governance, with a mixture of oversight, insight and foresight.

“The Board will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of SBP’s objective to promote and maintain internationally, an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable biomass supply chain through the development and operation of an independent, third-party certification system. As well as setting the overall strategy, direction and budget for the organisation. Decisions on standard-setting are to be delegated to the SBP Standards Committee, and decisions on certifications remain with the independent, accredited Certification Bodies.

“During 2018, procedures for nominations and appointments to the Board were agreed and the search and selection process began. Nine seats were to be filled with an equal split between the interests of civil society, biomass producers and those of biomass end-users.

“Now, all nine of the nominated, new Board members have been selected. Once formally appointed the new Board members will serve, from January, in a personal capacity to represent their particular stakeholder interest group, and not their affiliated organisations. Each member has been chosen for his or her knowledge, integrity, expertise and support for SBP’s objective.

“I am delighted to announce that representing civil society we will have: Arnie Bercov, a recently retired President of a Canadian pulp and forestry union; Martin Porter, the recently appointed Executive Chair of CISL, Brussels; and Kathy Willis, a Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Oxford.

“Representing biomass producers will be: Vaughan Bassett, from Canadian pellet producer, Pinnacle Renewable Energy; Arnold Dale, the Vice President Bioenergy at Ekman & Co, a leading sales and marketing organisation in the forestry industry; and John Keppler, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Enviva, the World’s largest producer of wood biomass fuels.

“And representing biomass end-users will be: Thomas Lyse, Director and Head of the Fuel and Logistics teams in Ørsted Bioenergy; Peter-Paul Schouwenberg, the Head of Environment, New Energy, Regulatory Affairs and Stakeholder Management at RWE; and Will Gardiner, Chief Executive Officer of Drax Group, the UK’s largest renewable energy company.

“I am confident that we will have achieved a good balance of interests across the Board and I very much look forward to a positive and fruitful working relationship as, together, we embark on a new chapter in SBP’s development.”

SBP Prepares for Change

As SBP readies itself for the transformational step towards becoming a multi-stakeholder governed organisation. SBP’s independent Chair, Francis Sullivan, talks about the making the vision a reality:

“Moving to a multi-stakeholder governed certification scheme was always the shared vision of SBP’s founding members. In 2013, there was some urgency to develop a solution enabling energy producers using biomass to keep pace, and demonstrate compliance, with emerging biomass sustainability requirements. With an eye on the future, members were keen that SBP would ultimately become self-funding.

“Towards the end of 2016, it was clear that SBP was ready to make that bold move. A fully operational set of standards was in place and the organisation was in a position to secure sufficient income from its activities to cover its running costs.

“Following the recommendation of the Advisory Board, an independent forum chaired by Julia Marton-Lefèvre, SBP undertook the task of determining an appropriate long term, multi-stakeholder governance structure and transitioning towards it. That new structure will be implemented in January 2019.

“The transition is in line with best practice as demonstrated by leading sustainability standards and aligns with the principles of codes of ISEAL, a recognised global membership association for sustainability standards.

“The new governance arrangements bring together stakeholder groups representing civil society interests, biomass producer interests and those of biomass end-users. The involvement of a range of interest groups at Board and Committee level will foster dialogue, decision-making and implementation of solutions to common goals.

“Through the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, decisions will gain more legitimacy and better reflect a set of perspectives rather than a narrow view.

“Over the coming weeks, we will introduce the new faces that will be steering SBP on its future course. We will start with the nine members of the Board, who with me will govern SBP, overseeing the implementation of our mission and vision, as well as setting the overall strategy, direction and budget.”

Statement on Accreditation Status of DNV GL Business Assurance Finland Oy Ab

The Certification Body, DNV GL Business Assurance Finland Oy Ab (DNV GL Finland), has been suspended by Accreditation Services International (ASI) for SBP certification (effective 15 October 2018).

Details on the grounds for suspension can be viewed on the ASI website.

DNV GL has six months within which to clear the suspension. Failure to do so will result in termination.

Until the suspension is lifted, DNV GL Finland shall not enter into new agreements for certification, or conduct main (initial) certifications. DNV GL Finland shall, however, continue to conduct surveillance audits for existing clients during the period of suspension.

If you are a Certification Body or SBP Certificate Holder, see ASI’s FAQs on suspensions for further information.

SBP Approved for SDE+ Category 5 and Chain of Custody

SBP has today announced that its certification system has received approval from the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy for secondary feedstock (biomass category 5) and chain of custody, making SBP the first certification scheme recognised by the Netherlands as offering an end-to-end solution for secondary feedstock under the SDE+ subsidy regulation.

Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very pleased with the Minister’s decision. Recognition of SBP is important to us as a certification system and to our Certificate Holders who wish to do business in the Dutch biomass market and make an important contribution towards decarbonisation of the energy sector”.

The SBP certification system underwent a rigorous benchmarking exercise and was found to meet the relevant sustainability and management criteria. The latter evaluating SBP’s processes and procedures against requirements on transparency and openness, decision-making, stakeholder engagement and expert knowledge.

SBP is now working with the Dutch regulator,, to ensure efficient and effective practical implementation of the requirements.

In July, SBP submitted a second application for benchmarking against the requirements for primary feedstock (biomass categories 1 to 4). A decision is not expected until the end of the year.

SBP Consults on Solution for Primary Feedstock Compliance with SDE+

SBP has considered the likely market demand for biomass produced from primary feedstock meeting the Netherlands SDE+ biomass sustainability requirements and has determined that there should be sufficient interest to merit an SBP solution. Accordingly, SBP has published Instruction Document 2D, which specifies the requirements for the evaluation and certification of Group Schemes for the purpose of demonstrating compliance with the Netherlands’ requirements for primary biomass.

The Instruction Document has been approved by the SBP Stakeholder Committee, but in addition SBP is seeking the views of a wider range of stakeholders before allowing certification against its requirements.

Instruction Document 2D may be viewed at: Interested parties are invited to provide written comments on Instruction Document 2D. All comments should be sent to by the close of business on Monday, 30 July 2018.

SBP Directorate Changes

SBP has today announced the appointment of Francis Sullivan as its independent, non-executive Chair, effective from 1 July 2018. The appointment marks the first step in the implementation of SBP’s new, multi-stakeholder governance model.

Francis, currently a Senior Adviser at HSBC Holdings plc, will replace Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President of Ørsted and CEO of Ørsted Energy Thermal Power, who has held the office of Chair since October 2016. Thomas will step down as an SBP director and Chair of the SBP Board coincident with Francis taking up his appointment.

Francis has a background in environmental science, specialising in forestry and land use, and spent the first 16 years of his career with WWF, the conservation organisation, in various leadership roles, during which time he played a major role in establishing the Forest Stewardship Council. He then moved to HSBC, the multinational bank, to lead its work on integrating sustainability and climate change mitigation perspectives into the business. After 14 years at HSBC, Francis brings with him a wealth of experience and understanding of delivering sustainability solutions in a commercial setting.

Commenting on his appointment, Francis Sullivan said: “I am delighted to be appointed as SBP’s first independent Chair. The transition SBP is making towards a multi-stakeholder governed organisation is in line with best practice as demonstrated by leading sustainability standards. It is a bold and positive step to balance environmental, social and commercial interests on the Board. I look forward to playing a full part in the implementation of the new arrangements to achieve SBP’s vision”.

Thomas Dalsgaard, who led the search and selection process, commented: “I am pleased that Francis has accepted the role of independent Chair. Francis’ strong background and experience make him well equipped to provide leadership to the SBP Board during the transformation to a multi-stakeholder organisation. I am confident that I shall be leaving SBP in safe and competent hands”.

SBP Temporarily Withdraws Application from Dutch SDE+ Subsidy Scheme Assessment Procedure

In August 2017, SBP submitted its certification system to the Dutch regulator for benchmarking against the requirements of the Dutch SDE+ subsidy scheme. ADBE, the Commission responsible for carrying out the benchmarking, has concluded their preliminary assessment. The assessment, whilst positive, identified several areas that would need to be addressed should SBP wish to achieve full compliance with the requirements of SDE+.

The assessment procedure was developed on the assumption that certification schemes would not be modified as a result of the findings. However, having received the preliminary assessment and considered its findings, SBP has taken the decision to modify its certification system to incorporate certain specific requirements of SDE+.

The nature of the assessment procedure means that SBP must first withdraw its current application and then make a new submission, which incorporates the necessary modifications. The new submission will focus on biomass produced from secondary feedstock only, with the aim of enabling the Dutch market to be supplied with biomass carrying an SBP claim. The modifications are not expected to have any material impact on companies in the supply chain.

In parallel, SBP will determine the market demand for biomass produced from primary feedstock, and should there be sufficient demand SBP will consider further modifications to meet the SDE+ requirements specific to primary feedstock.

The Dutch regulator has confirmed that, for the interim period, which is expected to run until the end of 2018, the SBP Chain of Custody system in combination with FSC and PEFC endorsed Forest Management claims, can be used to demonstrate compliance with the Dutch sustainability requirements.

DNV GL Business Assurance Finland Accredited for SBP Certification

DNV GL Business Assurance Finland Oy Ab (DNV GL) has become the fourth Certification Body to be accredited by Accreditation Services International (ASI) for SBP certification services.

ASI, the appointed accreditation body for the SBP certification system, has undertaken a thorough assessment of the processes and procedures in place at SCS and is satisfied that the accreditation requirements for the SBP certification system have been met. Further details and the accreditation certificate can be found at:

The ASI accreditation process starts with a desk review of supporting documentation from the Certification Body, and is followed by an on-site head office assessment. The last stage is a witness assessment of a Certification Body audit. A recommendation decision is then submitted to the ASI Accreditation Committee, with the final accreditation decision taken by the ASI Managing Director.

Carsten Huljus, Chief Executive Officer of SBP, commented: “I congratulate DNV GL Business Assurance Finland on their achievement. There are now four Certification Bodies accredited for SBP certification, representing a solid foundation for our ongoing work with ASI and that of delivering assurance of quality certification”.

SBP Consultation on Final Draft Regional Risk Assessment for Portugal

SBP has today published the final draft Regional Risk Assessment for Portugal. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments on the draft.

Regional Risk Assessments are a key part of SBP’s focus on identifying and mitigating risks associated with sourcing feedstock for biomass wood pellet and woodchip production. The SBP certification system is designed to provide assurance that all feedstock is sourced legally and sustainably.

Feedstock certified at the forest level through FSC® or PEFC schemes and feedstock from recycled sources is automatically SBP-compliant. All other feedstock must be evaluated using a risk-based approach.

Typically, the Biomass Producer – a pellet or woodchip mill – is responsible for carrying out the risk assessment and putting in place mitigation measures to manage any specified risks such that they can be considered as controlled and hence low risk. It is the role of an independent, third-party Certification Body to check that the feedstock evaluation has been correctly undertaken.

The purpose of a Regional Risk Assessment is to evaluate an entire geographic region and determine the risks associated with sourcing feedstock for biomass wood pellet or woodchip production from that region. Thus, the need for individual Biomass Producers to conduct risk assessments is avoided. Further, Regional Risk Assessments are particularly valuable where statutory protection for forested land is limited.

Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Identifying and managing any risks so as to prevent illegal and unsustainable feedstock entering the supply chain of biomass used in energy production is central to the role of SBP.

“We encourage interested parties to take part in the consultation”.

The final draft Regional Risk Assessment for Portugal may be viewed at:  Interested parties are invited to provide written comments on the final draft to by the close of business on Friday, 16 February 2018.