SBP Annual Review 2020 Published

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today published its 2020 annual review. The review is available at: www.sbp-cert.org/documents/annual-reviews.

Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, commented: “In a year that was characterised by the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to adapt to a new normal and negotiate our way through worldwide lockdowns re-thinking our approach to our assurance operations to maintain confidence in the SBP claim, the meeting arrangements of our governing bodies and the significant task of reviewing our Standards.

“Despite the challenging times, I am pleased to report that we continued to see growth in our Certificate Holder base during 2020, an increase of almost 50% on 2019 numbers, and we extended our geographic reach to 31 countries, up six on 2019. The volume of SBP-certified biomass in the market place reached a record high at 14.95 million tonnes, with every tonne produced and sold carrying the promise of good biomass.

“On the theme of data, new to the review is an analysis of the feedstock data we collect from our Biomass Producers. For 2020, the breakdown of feedstock by type and origin reveals that the vast majority of feedstock used in biomass production came from the stems of trees that were non-merchantable as saw timber, tops and branches, and processing residues.

“We made solid progress in what was the first year of our three-year work plan to deliver our strategy, including our three key priorities for the year of standards development, monitoring and evaluation, and digitalisation.

“Our Standards Development Process was launched in May 2020, and by the end of the year some 1,500 hours of stakeholder participation had been chalked up through the various Working Group and Sub-group meetings. In support of the Process a series of workshops, attracting over 650 participants in total, was held to explore the key issues in detail. The Process continues and is scheduled to conclude with the publication of a set of revised Standards at the end of this year.

“During 2020, we took the first steps to evolve our existing key impacts that we report against into a more sophisticated monitoring and evaluation system commensurate with the certification scheme that we have become. And our new audit management platform – the Audit Portal – was launched in October 2020, representing a significant leap in realising best practice across our operations. Through digitalising the routine aspects of certification, in terms of reporting requirements and processes, data entry and collection is much simpler and more robust.

“We have come out of 2020 stronger than we were before, taking ourselves to the next level as we explored different ways of functioning under the restrictions and constraints that were placed on all businesses.”

SBP Launches Public Consultation on Revision Draft v1 of Standards 3 to 6

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today launched its public consultation on Revision Draft v1 of Standards 3 to 6.

Our Standards Development Process is designed to facilitate an open, inclusive and constructive sharing of views amongst our stakeholder community. This first public consultation on Revision Draft v1 of Standards 3 to 6 marks a significant milestone in our Standards Development Process and is the outcome of many hours of stakeholder participation.

An Explanatory Note gives an overview of the Standards Development Process, its decision-making and the proposed revisions to the Standards. It is suggested that stakeholders read the note before providing feedback.

In this public consultation, SBP is seeking stakeholder feedback on the Revision Draft v1 of:

  • Standard 3: Requirements for Certification Bodies
  • Standard 4: Chain of Custody
  • Standard 5: Collection and Communication of Data
  • Standard 6: Energy and Carbon Balance

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the Standards as a whole or to limit their comments to specific sections. The opportunity is also provided for stakeholders to comment on the Explanatory Note and on whether Revision Draft v1 of Standards 3 to 6 meets the Standards Development Process Terms of Reference.

All feedback must be submitted via the Feedback Platform, which is open until Friday, 30 April 2021.

Standards 1 and 2 are not included in this public consultation. Revision drafts of both Standards are currently being developed for public consultation in early June 2021.

Consultation on extending the validity of the Regional Risk Assessment for Lithuania

SBP has today opened a public consultation on extending the validity of the Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for Lithuania. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments.

In accordance with the SBP Regional Risk Assessment Procedure, SBP-endorsed RRAs remain valid for a period of five years from the approval date. The RRA for Lithuania was first published on 15 June 2016 and consequently its validity will expire on 14 June 2021.

SBP is seeking stakeholder feedback on the proposal to extend the validity of the existing SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for Lithuania to coincide with the end of the transition period for the revised SBP Standards (v2).

Once the revised Standards are published there will be a transition period allowing time for Certificate Holders to comply with the revised requirements. From the end of that transition period it will be mandatory for all Certificate Holders to comply with the revised requirements. The RRAs will require updating in line with the revised Standards and that will be undertaken in a timely fashion within the same transition period, such that complying with the requirements of the updated RRAs will also be mandatory from the end of the transition period.

SBP has consulted with Preferred by Nature (formerly NEPCon), the Working Body responsible for developing the current RRA for Lithuania, on the proposal to extend its validity. On the basis that there have been no major changes in relevant legislation and/or forestry practices, and that there is no additional information to suggest otherwise, Preferred by Nature has recommended that no changes are made to the risk designations in the current RRA.

The consultation draft may be viewed at: https://sbp-cert.org/documents/consultation-documents/live-consultations/risk-extending-lithuania/. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments to info@sbp-cert.org by the close of business on Friday, 19 February 2021.

SBP Announces its new Audit Portal

SBP has today announced the launch of its new Audit Portal. Over the last year, we have been working on the new Portal, which provides all our Certificate Holders and accredited Certification Bodies with a dedicated system to manage all SBP audit-related activities. The Portal is part of our drive to make the whole certification process more efficient and smarter.

Through the use of digital tools and automation we are unlocking a host of benefits, not least the reduced level of effort required to complete and submit the various audit reports Further benefits include improved data integrity and security, and the facilitation of impact monitoring, which will track the progress and contribution made by our certification system.

We are pleased to announce that the Audit Portal is now available and we invite all our Certificate Holders and Certification Bodies to start making use of the tool.

Some of the Portal’s exciting features include:

  • Online SBP certification applicant registration
  • An overview of all applicants
  • Online forms with smart validations and automation
  • Automatic form/template version control
  • Access to all certificate details, audit schedules and checklists
  • Connecting with suppliers and buyers (if you are a Certificate Holder)
  • Ability to run aggregated data reports (if you are a Certificate Holder)
  • and much more!

Use of the Portal will be mandatory from January 2021. If you are a Certificate Holder or an accredited Certification Body and would like to start exploring the Portal now, please email us at portal@sbp-cert.org. More information is available on our website at https://sbp-cert.org/accreditations-and-certifications/audit-portal/.

SBP Celebrates 300 Certifications

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today announced that 300 organisations now currently hold SBP certificates. The organisations have been certified in accordance with the SBP certification system, which provides assurance that woody biomass is sourced from legal and sustainable sources.

Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, commented: “This is an important milestone for SBP. Our purpose is to facilitate the economic, environmentally and socially responsible management of biomass resources to enable climate goals to be met.

“Our Certificate Holders are spread across 30 countries and last year nearly 12 million tonnes of biomass were produced and sold with an SBP claim.”

SBP Certificate Holders are either Biomass Producers, Traders, or the End-users of SBP- certified biomass, such as large-scale utilities producing heat and power. A list of Certificate Holders may be viewed at: http://www.sbp-cert.org/approvals-and-certifications/certificate-holders. The SBP claim enables End-users to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements for biomass.

Forest Certification Accredited for SBP Certification

Forest Certification LLC (Forest Certification) has become the fifth Certification Body to be accredited by Assurance Services International (ASI) for SBP certification services.

Forest Certification is accredited for the following scope: SBP Biomass Producer (excluding Supply Base Evaluation) and Supply Chain, both in Russia.

ASI, the appointed accreditation body for the SBP certification system, has undertaken a thorough assessment of the processes and procedures in place at Forest Certification 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: https://www.asi-assurance.org/s/find-a-cab.

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, which is publicly available at: https://www.asi-assurance.org/s/map. A recommendation decision is then submitted to the ASI Accreditation Committee, with the final accreditation decision taken by the ASI Managing Director.

SBP Consultation on the Final Draft Regional Risk Assessment for the Province of British Columbia, Canada

SBP has today opened a public consultation on the Final Draft Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for the Province of British Columbia, Canada. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments on the draft.

The Final Draft RRA for the Province of British Columbia, Canada has been prepared at the request of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC), which provided financial support for developing the RRA in accordance with SBP RRA Procedure v1.0. The risk assessment work was facilitated by Hopkin Forest Management Consulting Ltd.

The Final Draft RRA may be viewed at: https://sbp-cert.org/documents/consultation-documents/live-consultations/risk-britishcolumbia/. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments to info@sbp-cert.org by the close of business on Monday, 5 October 2020.

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 accredited Certification Body to determine, amongst other things, 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.

SBP Launch of Standards Development Process

SBP will today officially launch its Standards Development Process. Stakeholders are invited to participate in a webinar at 3pm (BST) to hear more about the Process and how they can get involved. Webinar registration details below.

Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Our Standards Development Process is an important and significant piece of work that will shape our future as a sustainability certification system. We will be conducting a thorough review of all our standards and, where necessary, revising them.

“Stakeholder engagement is a key theme of the Process and we urge our stakeholders to get involved and make a difference”.

Simon Armstrong, SBP Chief Technical Officer, commented: “Our standards were first launched in 2015. Over the last five years we have learnt lessons around practical implementation and received valuable feedback from certificate holders and other stakeholders.

“Our external landscape in that time has not stood still, there have been advances in good practice, changes in legislation and awareness of key topics, such as forest carbon and biodiversity, has developed. We must now respond to all those factors”.

As with most things in life there is good and bad, right and wrong. Only sustainably sourced biomass is good biomass and the right way to contribute to achieving climate goals. SBP is the promise of good biomass and our aim is to ensure that our standards are fit-for-purpose, not only for the markets they already serve, but for emerging biomass markets across the globe.

We are calling on all our stakeholders to be a part of that promise and get involved at the start of the Standards Development Process by taking part in today’s webinar.

Please register at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4371730106088746509. For those unable to participate in the webinar, the presentation may be viewed at: https://sbp-cert.org/standards-development/events/ after the close of the event.

For more information on the Standards Development Process, including how to get involved and how to sign-up for updates, please go to: sbp-cert.org/standards-development/.

SBP Consultation on the Final Draft Regional Risk Assessment for the Province of Québec, Canada

SBP has today opened a public consultation on the Final Draft Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for the Province of Québec, Canada. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments on the draft.

The Final Draft RRA for the Province of Québec, Canada has been prepared at the request of the Québec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) and the Québec Wood Export Bureau (QWEB), which together provided financial support for developing the RRA in accordance with SBP RRA Procedure v1.0.

The Final Draft RRA may be viewed at: https://sbp-cert.org/documents/consultation-documents/live-consultations/risk-quebec/. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments to info@sbp-cert.org by the close of business on Thursday, 7 May 2020.

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 accredited Certification Body to determine, amongst other things, 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.

SBP Annual Review 2019 Published

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today published its 2019 annual review. The review is available at www.sbp-cert.org/documents/annual-reviews.

Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, commented: “I am pleased to report that 2019 was another successful year for SBP. We have seen continued growth in the number of our certificate holders, furthered our geographic reach and, above all, put into practice our new governance arrangements.

“We have also reviewed our strategy, developed a three-year work plan to deliver that strategy, and made solid progress on aligning our operations with best practice, as demonstrated by leading sustainability standards. All of which puts us in good shape to make SBP future-fit and realise our ambition to position SBP as the certification system of choice for biomass.

“Looking ahead, we have some important and significant pieces of work to undertake. The preparations for our standards development process are well advanced and the launch is scheduled for Wednesday, 20 May. The programme of work will call on all stakeholders for their views, ideas and experience to ensure that our standards are credible and robust.

“Essential to our credibility and reputation is the impact we, as a certification system, are having in the marketplace. We plan to develop a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to demonstrate our impact. And in our quest to introduce best practice across all our operations we will be embarking on a digitalisation project to enable a more efficient audit process and smarter data collection.

“Through our credible and robust certification system, assuring responsible practice throughout the biomass supply chain, SBP is the promise of good biomass and is an integral part of the solution for tackling climate change.”