SBP Publishes its Annual Review for 2021

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today published its annual review for 2021. The review is available here.

Commenting on the events of 2021, Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, said: “With COVID-19 restrictions still very much in evidence during 2021, the new ways of working we embraced the year before continued and our operations were unaffected.

“I am pleased to report that there was no deterioration in the assurance provided by our certification scheme, giving all stakeholders confidence in the SBP claim and the associated promise of good biomass.

“We saw another year of growth in our Certificate Holder base. By the end of the year, our Certificate Holder number had increased to 353, representing a 12% increase on 2020. Our geographic reach also increased with the addition of Guadeloupe, Martinique and the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of countries with an SBP presence to 33.

“At 16.70 million tonnes (2020: 14.95 million tonnes), the volume of SBP-certified biomass in the market place increased for the fourth consecutive year since our records began. We also increased our share of European industrial pellet consumption market1 to 82.5%, up from 76.8% in 2020.

“The wide range of data that we collect also gives visibility on exactly what is used to make wood pellets and chips. Our verified data for 2021 reveals that the vast majority of feedstock used in the production of biomass came from low grade roundwood that was not merchantable as sawtimber, and sawmill and wood industry residues.

“We made good progress in what was the second year of our three-year work plan to deliver our strategy, and delivered on our three key priorities for the year of core systems development, external recognition and presenting the case for SBP certification.

“We reached a milestone in our Standards Development Process, which saw the culmination of the Working Groups’ input. A significant piece of work that spanned a period of some 80 weeks, during which time around 90 stakeholders spent almost 3,000 hours in over 180 meetings, with many hours of preparation, discussion and follow-up in addition.

‘We were accepted as an ISEAL Community Member, joining a growing number
of well-respected voluntary certification schemes that are driving positive social
and environmental change across multiple sectors.

“And our Standards received a preliminary positive assessment against the biomass sustainability requirements of the recast EU Renewable Energy Directive (REDII).

“Our efforts to inform policy and the biomass debate were focused on the EU policy agenda. Through our EU engagement programme we continued to build relationships across
the EU Institutions, positioning SBP as a key stakeholder.

“Finally, we successfully strengthened our technical team with the recruitment of Nicolas Viart as our Technical Director and László Máthé as our Standards Manager. Between them bringing considerable knowledge and experience to SBP”.

1 Industrial pellet consumption in Europe data supplied by Hawkins Wright (2021 industrial pellet demand estimates for Combined Heat and Power, and dedicated power). Europe refers to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France (and French territories), Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom and Other EU27.

Update on SBP Certification Operations in Russia and Belarus

SBP has expressed its condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine. We remain gravely concerned by the unacceptable actions directed against that country and its people, which are entirely at odds with our values and those of our stakeholders. We have previously warned of the impact these actions, and consequential sanctions on trade and transport activities, as well as disruption to the finance sector, will have on the supply and certification of SBP-certified biomass from Russia and Belarus.

The combination of current circumstances, the already actioned and pending withdrawals of services from key technical and operating partners mean we are unable to ensure the integrity and continuation of certification of SBP-certified biomass originating in Russia and Belarus. SBP is therefore notifying suspension of SBP certificates in Russia and Belarus from 8 April 2022. This means that once suspension becomes effective woody biomass can no longer be sourced in Russia and Belarus as SBP-certified.

SBP will maintain communications with all impacted stakeholders and reiterates its commitment to supporting and certifying good biomass from all parts of the globe, where it is in line with our values and technically and operationally possible to do so. We will be monitoring the situation and providing further updates as circumstances require.

Please note that a separate communication will be issued shortly with further detail.

SBP Certification Operations in Russia and Belarus

SBP condemns the invasion of Ukraine. The consequences of military action and decisions to be made as a result are, and will be, far reaching, and have humanitarian and economic impacts, as well as implications for European energy security. Failure or loss of auditing, assurance and certified feedstocks in combination with sanctions on trade and transport activities as well as disruption to the finance sector will impact the supply and certification of SBP-certified biomass.

We recommend that SBP Certificate Holders monitor the situation and take precautionary measures as appropriate. We are currently assessing our position relative to the continuation of certification operations in Russia and Belarus. We continue to closely monitor and assess developments in conjunction with our stakeholders, service providers and recognised certification schemes. We will advise on any changes to our current operations in due course.