SBP Publishes Final REDII Documents

SBP has published the suite of REDII documents that, in conjunction with our current Standards, have received formal recognition from the European Commission under the recast Renewable Energy Directive (EU) 2018/2011 (REDII).

REDII lays down requirements for, amongst other energy sources, biomass, to ensure that they can be counted towards the targets set in the Directive only if they have been sustainably produced and save significant greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels.

Our systems have now been updated to allow the SBP certification scheme to be used to demonstrate REDII compliance. Any Certificate Holders wishing to extend the scope of their SBP certificate and make use of the REDII claim must comply with the REDII requirements, whilst maintaining compliance with the core SBP requirements.

All the REDII documents be found on our website at: https://sbp-cert.org/documents/standards-documents/redii-documents/.

Our Assurance Manager, Roman Polyachenko, will be on hand to provide support to all parties, as necessary.

SBP Launches Public Consultation on Final Revision Draft of SBP Standards

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today launched the public consultation on the final revision draft of the SBP Standards and the SBP Glossary of Terms and Definitions.

Our Standards Development Process is designed to facilitate an open, inclusive and constructive sharing of views amongst our stakeholder community. At the request of our Standards Committee, we are conducting a third and final round of public consultation to ensure that any remaining critical issues are identified and addressed.

The objective of the public consultation is to inform stakeholders of the near final version of the SBP Standards and to gather stakeholder feedback and comments on critical aspects of the current Standards that would jeopardise the long term strategic interests of our Certificate Holders and SBP itself.

An Explanatory Note gives the background to the consultation and identifies the key changes made to each of the Standards.

The following documents form the scope of the consultation:

SBP Standard 1: Feedstock Compliance

SBP Standard 2: Feedstock Verification

SBP Standard 3: Requirements for Certification Bodies

SBP Standard 4: Chain of Custody

SBP Standard 5: Collection and Communication of Data

SBP Standard 6: Energy and Carbon Balance Calculation

SBP Glossary of Terms and Definitions

All documents are available via the Feedback Platform, please use the platform to provide your feedback and comments. The consultation closes on Sunday, 6 November 2022.

SBP Receives Formal Recognition as a Voluntary Scheme under REDII

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) is pleased to announce that on 26 September, the European Commission published the legal text of SBP’s recognition under the 2018 Renewable Energy Directive (REDII). The Decision entered into force on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), and so became effective as of 27 September.

REDII lays down requirements for, amongst other energy sources, biomass, to ensure that they can be counted towards the targets set in the Directive only if they have been sustainably produced and save significant greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels. SBP welcomes the Commission’s endorsement of our Standards’ reliability, transparency and independent auditing as being in line with the requirements of the Directive.

As Europe’s largest independent certification scheme for woody biomass in large-scale industrial heat and power production, steps will now be taken to activate SBP’s systems to allow the scheme to be used to demonstrate compliance with REDII.

It should be noted that Certificate Holders must take action to comply with SBP’s specific REDII requirements in order to be REDII-compliant; recognition of our scheme does not mean biomass carrying an SBP claim is automatically REDII-compliant. SBP will host a webinar on 25 October 2022 for Certificate Holders and Certification Bodies to outline the REDII requirements and the actions to be taken to ensure compliance with REDII. Certificate Holders and Certification Bodies are invited to register for the webinar here.

The link to the Commission’s publication of the Implementing Decision can be found here, while the publication of the Decision on the OJEU can be found here.

Standards Committee Decides Compliance with EU REDII will Become Mandatory

In November 2021, SBP met with End-users to discuss the treatment of the EU REDII requirements, specifically whether they should be mandatory for all Certificate Holders, that is, included as a core requirement to obtain the SBP certification. That discussion was followed, in December 2021, by a survey sent to all Biomass Producers and Traders seeking their opinion on the matter. The responses from both the discussion and the survey were mixed, with no clear consensus.

As part of the current Standards Development Process, the SBP Standards Committee is responsible for approving the revised Standards. In that role, the Committee is tasked with taking the decision on the treatment of the REDII requirements. Specifically, whether all Certificate Holders, regardless of producer or consumer country, should be required to comply with EU REDII.

After much deliberation, the Standards Committee has decided that the EU REDII requirements will be mandatory for all Certificate Holders certified against the revised Standards, when available. That means all organisations wishing to be SBP-certified, will be required to implement and demonstrate compliance with the EU REDII requirements in order to achieve SBP certification, irrespective of their destination markets. The decision ensures alignment of our Standards with the requirements of EU REDII and, importantly, maintains fungibility in our sector through facilitating international trade.

Guidance on the transition arrangements will be given to all existing and prospective Certificate Holders. In the meantime, for those wishing to understand more about what the EU REDII requirements entail, it is recommended that you refer to the draft Instruction Documents that have been developed to sit alongside the current Standards, namely, Instruction Document REDII: Bridging Requirements for Meeting REDII and Instruction Document 6D: Methodology for the Calculation and Certification of GHG Emissions Savings for REDII. Whereas those documents will need to be updated, they will nevertheless provide a good indication of the requirements.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat (info@sbp-cert.org) should you have any questions in relation to EU REDII compliance and what it means for your organisation.

Termination of Certificates in Russia and Belarus

All SBP certificates in Russia and Belarus were suspended on 8 April 2022. As a result, it has not been possible to source SBP-certified biomass from either country since that date.

In May, SBP announced that it was transitioning to a new assurance service provider, ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB). ANAB has confirmed that due to the ongoing geopolitical situation it cannot provide services in Russia and Belarus, which means that approved SBP Certification Bodies will not be able to carry out SBP audits in Russia and Belarus.

Due to the lack of auditing and independent oversight thereof, it is unlikely that the existing suspensions will be lifted in the short to medium term. Under these conditions, SBP certification in Russia and Belarus cannot be maintained and all currently suspended certificates will be terminated by 15 August 2022.

SBP will maintain necessary communications with all affected stakeholders and continue to monitor the situation. SBP also 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.

SBP Launches Public Consultation on Principle 3 of Draft SBP Standard 1

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today launched a public consultation on Principle 3 of draft SBP Standard 1: Feedstock Compliance.

Our Standards Development Process is designed to facilitate an open, inclusive and constructive sharing of views amongst our stakeholder community. At the request of our Standards Committee, we are conducting a public consultation focusing on Principle 3, Biomass sourcing contributes to climate change mitigation.

The objective of the public consultation is threefold:

  1. To inform stakeholders of the status of Principle 3;
  2. To gather expert input and suggestions to ensure clarity of the requirements; and
  3. To identify the need for the development of specific guidance for Principle 3, once the Standard has been approved.

The consultation is accessible via the Feedback Platform, please use the platform to provide your feedback and comments. The consultation closes on Thursday, 30 June 2022.

ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) Launches Assurance Program for SBP

Following agreement with its current assurance services provider, Assurance Services International (ASI), SBP is preparing to transition to the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB). SBP has worked with ASI as a valued assurance partner since 2016.

Already well-recognised internationally, ANAB is (amongst other things) a signatory of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) multilateral recognition arrangements. The IAF is a worldwide association of accreditation bodies and other bodies involved in conformity assessment across a number of fields, providing assurance that certification in the market place is a reliable tool. As SBP prepares for expansion into new geographies, ANAB will help manage the risks associated with the geographic growth strategy.

The transition to ANAB is expected to be completed by mid-July 2022. SBP is providing full support to its Certification Bodies throughout the transition to ensure that there is no loss of service to any of its Certificate Holders.

More on what the transition means for SBP’s Certification Bodies and Certificate Holders is available on the SBP website here.

Extending the Validities of the Regional Risk Assessments for Denmark and Latvia

SBP has today announced that the validities of the Regional Risk Assessments (RRAs) for Denmark and Latvia have been extended to coincide with the end of the transition period for the forthcoming, revised SBP Standards (v2).

SBP-endorsed RRAs remain valid for a period of five (5) years from the approval date. Both the RRA for Denmark and the RRA for Latvia were first published in 2017, consequently both are due to expire this year.

Our Standards Development Process is expected to complete in the second half of this year, culminating in the publication of a set of revised Standards. A transition period will follow allowing time for Certificate Holders to comply with the revised requirements; at the end of the 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.

Mindful of the implications of the Standards Development Process on existing SBP-endorsed RRAs, the SBP Secretariat proposed extending the validities of the two RRAs to coincide with the end of the transition period of the revised Standards. In accordance with the SBP RRA Procedure1, a proposal was submitted by the Secretariat to the SBP Technical Committee seeking a recommendation for such an exception. The SBP Technical Committee agreed with the proposal and submitted a recommendation for approval to the SBP Chief Executive Officer. The recommendation was approved on 2 May 2022.

Notes:
1 SBP RRA Procedure, version 1.2, Section 8.

ASI Suspends Certification Body, Forest Certification LLC

Assurance Services International (ASI) has suspended Certification Body, Forest Certification LLC (FC) for Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) certification services in Russia, with effect from 18 November 2021. Details of the suspension may be viewed here. Publication of the suspension decision was put on hold pending an appeal lodged by FC. The ASI Appeal Process found in favour of the suspension.

During the suspension period, FC shall not issue any new certifications or scope extensions, and shall not enter into new agreements for certification. However, FC shall continue to conduct surveillance audits for existing clients during the period of suspension. Read more about the impact of suspension on Certification Bodies and Certificate Holders here.