SBP Welcomes New Technical Director

SBP has today announced the appointment of Nicolas Viart as Technical Director. Nicolas will take up the appointment from 1 January 2022.

A senior sustainability professional with extensive agriculture and international supply chain experience, Nicolas has proven technical and strategic competencies in advancing sustainable agendas. Through the development and management of complex projects, Nicolas understands the challenge of tackling complex issues, creating momentum, trust and achieving goals for lasting and thriving communities and businesses.

Nicolas has considerable experience of working with sustainability certification. Prior to joining SBP, Nicolas spent ten years with Bonsucro, a global membership organisation promoting sustainable sugarcane production, processing and trade, where he played an instrumental role in the growth of the organisation to become the leading certification scheme in the sector.

Nicolas joined Bonsucro as its Head of Sustainability and after five years was promoted to the role of Director, Standards and Innovation. Key amongst his responsibilities were overseeing the maintenance of Bonsucro’s three standards, recognition of the standards by the European Commission and the Netherlands’ regulatory body, strengthening the certification and accreditation systems, and developing the impact evaluation and reporting system, in particular in relation to carbon accounting.

Nicolas started his career in the dairy industry, with a focus on quality management, technical specification and compliance audits, before moving on to the seafood industry, including two years at the Marine Stewardship Council, a leading global certification scheme for sustainable seafood.

Commenting on Nicolas’ appointment, Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, said, “I am delighted to welcome Nicolas to SBP. Nicolas brings with him a wealth of experience that will complement and strengthen the skill set of the Secretariat.

“Nicolas joins us at a critical time in the Standards Development Process as we plan the roll-out of our revised Standards. I am confident that, amongst other things, Nicolas will be influential in implementing our revised Standards in an efficient and timely manner”.

SBP Publishes Response to Public Consultation on Revision Draft v1 of the SBP Standards

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today published the Standards Development Process Working Groups’ response to the public consultation on Revision Draft v1 of SBP Standards 1 to 6.

In the response document, each of the comments received during the first public consultation is presented along with a response summarising how the comments have been taken into account in the development of Revision Draft v2 of the Standards.

The public consultation on Revision Draft v2 is now open and all stakeholders are invited to participate. All documents are available via the Feedback Platform; please use the platform to submit your comments. The consultation closes on Wednesday, 24 November 2021.

SBP Launches Public Consultation on Revision Draft v2 of the SBP Standards

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today launched its public consultation on Revision Draft v2 of Standards 1 to 6.

Our Standards Development Process is designed to facilitate an open, inclusive and constructive sharing of views amongst our stakeholder community. This is the second and final public consultation on proposed revisions to our suite of six Standards and is the outcome of many hours of stakeholder participation.

In this public consultation, SBP is seeking stakeholder feedback on Revision Draft v2 of:

• Standard 1: Feedstock Compliance
• Standard 2: Feedstock Verification
• Standard 3: Certification Body Requirements
• Standard 4: Chain of Custody
• Standard 5: Collection and Communication of Data
• Standard 6: Energy and Carbon Balance Calculation

In addition to Revision Draft v2 of the six Standards, we have also published an updated Glossary. Our Response to Consultation, which sets out the feedback received from the first public consultation and our response, will be published shortly.

All documents are available via the Feedback Platform, please use the platform to provide your feedback and comments. The consultation closes on Wednesday, 24 November 2021.

SBP Publishes Updated Regional Risk Assessment for Estonia

SBP has today published the updated Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for Estonia. RRAs are a key part of SBP’s focus on identifying and mitigating risks associated with sourcing feedstock for woody biomass pellet and chip production.

In accordance with the SBP RRA Procedure, SBP-endorsed RRAs remain valid for a period of five years from the approval date. The RRA for Estonia was first published on 22 April 2016 and consequently its validity expired on 22 April 2021. In the light of the ongoing Standards Development Process, it was decided to conduct a minor update of the RRA for Estonia with a focus on those indicators where new data had become available. In line with the RRA Procedure, the original RRA has remained valid up to today’s publication of the minor update.

The Standards Development Process currently underway is reviewing each of the SBP Standards. Standard 1 is the foundation of the SBP RRAs and any revisions to that Standard will trigger the need to update all existing SBP-endorsed RRAs.

Following publication of the revised Standards, scheduled for the end of 2021, 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.

In addition to the minor update, the validity of the RRA for Estonia has been extended to coincide with the end of the transition period for the revised SBP Standards (v2.0).

In June 2021, SBP sought stakeholder feedback on the proposed minor updates and the extension of the validity of the RRA. The updates and the extension were subsequently recommended by the SBP Technical Committee and formally approved by the SBP Chief Executive Officer. A response to consultation has been published alongside the updated RRA; both documents may be viewed at: https://sbp-cert.org/documents/standards-documents/risk-assessments/estonia/.

SBP Celebrates Becoming an ISEAL Community Member

SBP has today announced that it has been accepted as an ISEAL Community Member.

ISEAL is the global membership organisation for ambitious, collaborative and transparent sustainability systems. Through driving collective efforts to tackle the most pressing sustainability issues, ISEAL strives to create a world where markets are a force for good.

To qualify as an ISEAL Community Member, SBP had to demonstrate that it meets a number of exacting eligibility criteria and commit to meeting improvement criteria to maintain Community Member status.

ISEAL’s Executive Director, Karin Kreider said, “I would like to congratulate the Sustainable Biomass Program on becoming an ISEAL Community Member. This exciting step reflects SBP’s commitment to ongoing improvement and deepening their credible practices as they work to make a net positive contribution to national and international climate goals”.

Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are delighted to have been accepted as an ISEAL Community Member. In aspiring to introduce best practice across our operations we have been greatly influenced by ISEAL’s credibility principles and codes. We are committed to continual improvement of all that we do to ensure we deliver an effective and efficient certification system that is accessible to our users and understood by our stakeholders”.

As a Community Member, SBP joins a growing number of well-respected sustainability systems that are driving positive social and environmental change across multiple sectors. We look forward to becoming an active participant in the ISEAL community.

For more information on ISEAL visit: isealalliance.org

RED II Update

The following provides an update on the status of the recast EU Renewable Energy Directive 2018/2001 (REDII) and sets out the activities underway to secure the recognition of the current SBP Standards under REDII.

To recap, EU Member States had until 1 July 2021 to transpose REDII into national law. Compliance with REDII requirements may be demonstrated via voluntary certification schemes that are approved by the European Commission. Only a few EU Member States implemented REDII on time, and the European Commission has not yet been able to fully complete the approval process for the voluntary certification schemes. The Commission has informed us that the approval process will be completed following finalisation of the implementing acts, which is expected by the end of the year.

SBP submitted an application for the approval of our current Standards under REDII back in October 2020. Since then we have engaged with the European Commission (the Commission) and its consultants responsible for evaluating all voluntary schemes.

Following an initial evaluation of our Standards, a number of gaps were identified. Those gaps have been addressed in the form of a new Instruction Document (currently in draft form) that will accompany the current Standards. That draft document was submitted to the Commission for evaluation in June and we await feedback before the document is put through our internal Document Development Procedure and ultimately published and made effective.

Instruction Documents to bridge the gaps between the SBP Standards and the requirements of specific countries/jurisdictions have been used already to good effect, for example, in the Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium. We are adopting a similar approach with REDII, which means that in order for biomass to be REDII-compliant and carry a REDII-compliant claim, it must be compliant with our current Standards and the normative requirements stipulated in the new Instruction Document (Instruction Document REDII).

There are two aspects to Instruction Document REDII. The first covers the REDII-specific sustainability requirements. If a Biomass Producer with a Supply Base Evaluation in its SBP certification scope is sourcing primary feedstock and wishes to produce and sell biomass that is REDII-compliant it must comply with the REDII-specific sustainability requirements. If a Biomass Producer without a Supply Base Evaluation in its SBP certification scope is sourcing primary feedstock and wishes to produce and sell biomass that is REDII-compliant it must comply with the REDII-specific sustainability requirements and implement a Supply Base Evaluation mechanism (as detailed in Standard 2) to do so.

The second aspect covers requirements for demonstrating the origin of the feedstock. If a Biomass Producer is sourcing secondary or tertiary feedstock it must demonstrate the origin of the feedstock in accordance with Instruction Document REDII. Note that secondary/tertiary feedstock does not have to meet any sustainability criteria to be REDII-compliant, therefore, the sustainability requirements of Instruction Document REDII are not applicable.

On the assumption that our current Standards and the new Instruction Document are approved, the following illustrates various scenarios for SBP-certified Biomass Producers regarding REDII compliance:

Sourcing primary feedstock

Sourcing secondary/ tertiary feedstock Supply Base Evaluation Instruction Document REDII REDII-compliant
Biomass Producer A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Biomass Producer B Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Biomass Producer C Yes No Yes No No
Biomass Producer D Yes No No Yes1 No
Biomass Producer E No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Biomass Producer F No Yes No Yes2 Yes

Notes:

1                Biomass Producer D must extend its scope in accordance with Instruction Document REDII and implement a Supply Base Evaluation mechanism to meet the sustainability criteria of Instruction Document REDII if it wishes to produce and sell REDII-compliant biomass.

2                Biomass Producer F must comply with the requirements of Instruction Document REDII for demonstrating the origin of the feedstock.

As noted above we have submitted our current Standards only for evaluation. We will integrate the specific REDII requirements into the revised Standards that are being developed as part of the ongoing Standards Development Process. Therefore, any claims under the revised Standards will be REDII-compliant by default, that is, without the need to meet any additional requirements.

As soon as we have news of our application, which we understand will not be before the end of August, we will let you know and clarify next steps, which will likely include a webinar for Certificate Holders and additional training for Certification Bodies.

SBP-Endorsed Regional Risk Assessment for the Province of British Columbia, Canada Published

SBP has today published the SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for the province of British Columbia, Canada.

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) initiated the RRA in 2018 to verify the legality and sustainability of uncertified feedstock in the province. Hopkin Forest Management Consulting Ltd and a team of independent natural resource and certification professionals formed the Working Body responsible for developing the RRA. The RRA was developed in accordance with the SBP RRA Procedure.

SBP-endorsed RRAs are a key part of SBP’s focus on identifying and mitigating risks associated with sustainably sourcing feedstock for biomass pellet and woodchip production. RRAs evaluate an entire geographic region and determine the risks associated with sourcing feedstock from that region. Thus, the need for individual Biomass Producers to conduct risk assessments is avoided and consistency between Biomass Producers’ risk assessments is guaranteed.

The SBP RRA Procedure also ensures active engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders in the region, as well as an SBP public consultation for all stakeholders.

The SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessment for the province of British Columbia, Canada and the SBP response to consultation, summarising the comments received from stakeholders, can be found at: https://sbp-cert.org/documents/standards-documents/risk-assessments/british-columbia/.

Consultation on Minor Update and Extension of the Validity of the Regional Risk Assessment for Estonia

SBP has today opened a public consultation on a minor update and extension of the validity of the Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for Estonia. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments.

In accordance with the SBP RRA Procedure, SBP-endorsed RRAs remain valid for a period of five years from the approval date. In April 2021, the RRA for Estonia reached the end of its validity. In the light of the ongoing Standards Development, SBP has decided to conduct a minor update of the RRA for Estonia focusing on several indicators where new data has become available. The Working Body (WB) responsible for conducting the original RRA, Preferred by Nature (formerly NEPCon), was assigned to undertake the update.

Since the validity of the original RRA has expired but the minor update is still in progress, the validity may be extended for up to six months in accordance with the SBP RRA Procedure, Clause 7.1.4a). Therefore, the original RRA will remain valid until the minor update has been completed or six months has expired, whichever comes first.

SBP is seeking stakeholder feedback on the proposal to make minor updates to the existing SBP-endorsed RRA for Estonia and extend its validity to coincide with the end of the transition period for the revised SBP Standards (v2.0) that are being developed as part of the Standards Development Process.

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.

The consultation draft RRA may be viewed at: https://sbp-cert.org/documents/consultation-documents/live-consultations/minor-update-and-extension-of-the-validity-of-the-regional-risk-assessment-for-estonia/. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments to info@sbp-cert.org by the close of business on Friday, 16 July 2021.

SBP Publishes Updated Regional Risk Assessment for Lithuania

SBP has published the updated Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for Lithuania. RRAs are a key part of SBP’s focus on identifying and mitigating any risks associated with sourcing feedstock for woody biomass pellet and chip production.

In accordance with the SBP RRA 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 expired on 14 June 2021.

The Standards Development Process currently underway is reviewing each of the SBP Standards. Standard 1 is the foundation of the SBP RRAs and any revisions to that Standard will trigger the need to update all existing SBP-endorsed RRAs.

Following publication of the revised Standards, scheduled for the end of 2021, 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.

In the light of the Standards Development Process it was proposed to extend the validity of the RRA for Lithuania to coincide with the end of the transition period for the revised SBP Standards (v2.0). SBP consulted Preferred by Nature (formerly NEPCon), the Working Body responsible for developing the original 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 of the original RRA. It was, therefore, proposed to extend the validity of the RRA without further revision.

In early 2021, SBP sought stakeholder feedback on the proposal. Extension of the validity was subsequently recommended by the SBP Technical Committee and formally approved by the SBP Chief Executive Officer. A response to consultation has been published alongside the updated RRA; both documents may be viewed at: https://sbp-cert.org/documents/standards-documents/risk-assessments/lithuania/.

SBP Launches Public Consultation on Revision Draft v1 of Standards 1 and 2

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today launched its public consultation on Revision Draft v1 of Standards 1 and 2.

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 1 and 2 follows the public consultation on Standard 3 to 6 and is the outcome of many hours of stakeholder participation.

An Explanatory Note accompanies each of the Standards providing background and details on the proposed revisions to the Standard, including adaptations of the requirements and their structure, as well as raising some specific questions. Please read the Explanatory Notes before providing feedback.

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

• Standard 1: Feedstock Compliance
• Standard 2: Feedstock Verification

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the Standards as a whole or to limit their comments to specific sections.

All documents are available via the Feedback Platform, please use the platform to provide your feedback and comments. The consultation closes on Monday, 2 August 2021.