SBP Launches Public Consultation on Revised Theory of Change

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today launched the public consultation on its revised Theory of Change.

The updates reflect our refreshed purpose and strategic aims. We have aligned each focus area identified in our core strategy with our impact pathways. These pathways clearly delineate the causal relationships between our strategic aims, inputs, activities, resultant outputs, intended outcomes, and overall impact. This comprehensive framework ultimately supports and fulfils our organisational purpose.

We explain how each element – from inputs to impact – interconnects to drive meaningful progress. Stakeholder feedback will be invaluable in refining this framework to ensure it accurately represents our aims and the steps we need to achieve them.

We invite all interested parties to engage in this dialogue, share your perspectives, and contribute to the continuous improvement of our certification scheme. Together, we can enhance the clarity and effectiveness of our approach, ensuring it resonates with and benefits all stakeholders involved. Thank you for your participation and commitment to our shared purpose.

For the consultation draft and more details on how to participate in the public consultation please follow the link. The deadline for feedback is Monday, 8 July 2024.

SBP Standards (v2.0) Found Compliant with Relevant GB Legislation

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today announced that the GB energy regulator, Ofgem, has completed an assessment of the revised SBP Standards (v2.0) and concluded that they align with the Land Criteria set out in the legislative framework of the following schemes:

  • Renewables Obligation
  • Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive
  • Feed-in Tariffs
  • Smart Export Guarantee
  • Green Gas Support Scheme

Following a comprehensive review and revision process, the revised SBP Standards (v2.0) became effective in August 2023. The revised Standards underpin the SBP promise of good biomass and go beyond legislative requirements. In their entirety, they require that SBP-certified biomass is deforestation-free, that biodiversity is maintained or enhanced through protecting key species, habitats and ecosystems, that water quality and soil quality are maintained or enhanced, that carbon stocks are stable or increasing, and that workers and their rights, local communities, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples are protected.

Our revised Standards also mandate compliance with the EU REDII requirements. Certificate Holders have until November 2025 to transition to the revised requirements.

SBP Publishes Annual Review for 2023

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today published its annual review for 2023. The review is available at: www.sbp-cert.org/documents/annual-reviews.

Commenting on the events of 2023, Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, said: “The conclusion of 2023 signifies a significant milestone, marking a decade since the inception of SBP as a not-for-profit organisation. Importantly, for half of that decade, our operations have thrived under the umbrella of multi-stakeholder governance, fostering collaboration and shared responsibility.

“Our future path is guided by a clear strategy, launched in 2023 and tailored to the demands of 2030. This strategic vision is cognisant of the opportunities presented by the global bioeconomy. As we navigate our path, we aim to leverage those opportunities and contribute to a sustainable and thriving future.

“We achieved another noteworthy milestone during the year with the successful completion of our first Standards review and revision, which is a testament to our commitment to excellence. We made significant strides towards the implementation of our revised Standards (v2.0), and throughout the year, our team remained dedicated to this crucial initiative.

“We undertook a comprehensive review of our first Standards review and revision process with the intention of informing the governance and oversight arrangements of our Standards. Thus ensuring that our organisation remains agile, resilient, and aligned with evolving best practices in our industry.

“Following the decrease in Certificate Holder numbers reported for 2022, resulting from terminations due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, I am pleased to report that during 2023 we saw an upward trajectory in our number ending the year with 272 Certificate Holders, an 11% increase. Encouragingly, our pipeline of applicants as at the end of December was very healthy at 75 in number.

“Our geographic reach decreased during the year to 31 countries in total, following the loss of Australia, Chile, and China.

“The volume of SBP-certified biomass produced and sold was down slightly year-on-year at 15.60 million tonnes (2022: 15.95 million tonnes). Our share of the European industrial pellet consumption market1 increased slightly to 82.8% (2022: 78.9%).

“Amid our evolving landscape, continuous improvement is our one unwavering principle. We are committed to learning from yesterday as we plan for tomorrow. There is always room for improvement and we have delivered much that we can learn from. It is that thought that we will carry with us as we embark on our next decade.”

Notes:
1. Industrial pellet consumption in Europe data supplied by Hawkins Wright (2023 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.

SBP Regional Forums Launched

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP), as part of our strategy to renew efforts to deliver meaningful engagement, has today launched the SBP Regional Forums, a programme of relationship-building across all our stakeholder groups.

The Regional Forums aim to broaden and deepen our relationships with diverse stakeholder groups, with particular emphasis on Civil Society Organisations. The Forums are established to facilitate meaningful and constructive dialogue among stakeholders, individuals, representative bodies, and other commercial and not-for-profit organisations involved in or with an interest in the sustainable biomass sector.

We believe that everybody’s voice should be heard, and with the launch of the Forums we aim to create a collaborative platform for sharing insights, discussing challenges, and collectively assessing and shaping the advice that can be extended from a Forum to SBP from time to time.

Initially, three Regional Forums have been launched across our key operational areas:

  • the Americas Forum, covering countries in North and South America,
  • the Asia Forum, which covers all the countries in Asia, and
  • the Europe Forum, which covers European countries.
Anyone with an interest in any matters within the scope of SBP and commitment to the advancement of the sustainable biomass sector is welcome. If you are interested in participating please let us know here and we will contact you.

We are planning two Forum meetings for 2024, the Asia Forum and the Americas Forum, with the Europe Forum following in early 2025.

SBP Directorate Change

Peter-Paul Schouwenberg, Head of Stakeholder Management and Sustainability at RWE, has with effect from 3 April 2024 stepped down from his role as a board member of the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP). Mr Schouwenberg has had a long association with SBP, having served on the board from June 2014 to December 2018 as a representative of RWE (one of the founding members of the organisation), and in a personal capacity since December 2018. We thank him for his valuable contribution to our organisation. We will look to filling his seat over the coming months and will provide an update in due course.

Meeting the Requirements of EU REDII

SBP has today published v1.1 of Instruction Document REDII: Bridging Requirements for Meeting REDII and supporting documents, and launched a recorded webinar to provide guidance and assistance to Certificate Holders and Certification Bodies when implementing the requirements.

In December 2023, the European Commission confirmed that, following assessment, the SBP certification scheme was found to meet the existing standards in force on reliability, transparency and independent auditing (for demonstrating compliance with Articles 29(2-7) and 29(10) of Directive (EU) 2018/2001(REDII)), taking into consideration the rules set out in Implementing Regulation 2022/996 and Implementing Regulation 2022/2448.

Instruction Document REDII, v1.1 is applicable to both v1.0 and v2.0 of the SBP Standards. Note that to produce REDII-compliant biomass, Biomass Producers must comply with the relevant SBP Standards and Instruction Document REDII: Bridging Requirements for Meeting REDII. Compliance with REDII requirements is mandatory for all Certificate Holders certified against the SBP Standards v2.0.

The suite of REDII-related documents published today is as follows:

  • Instruction Document REDII: Bridging Requirements for Meeting REDII, specifying the bridging requirements between the normative SBP Standards and REDII
  • Instruction Document REDII: Scheme principles for management of REDII scheme, specifying the SBP certification scheme principles and internal management system for REDII
  • Instruction Document 6D: Methodology for the calculation and certification of GHG emissions savings for REDII, mandatory for Certificate Holders that are required to perform greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings calculations in accordance with REDII, otherwise optional
  • Audit Checklist for REDII scheme, checklist to be used by Certification Bodies when evaluating compliance with REDII requirements

If you have any questions about EU REDII compliance, please contact our Assurance Manager, Roman Polyachenko.

SBP Public Consultation on the Revised Regional Risk Assessments for Denmark and Latvia

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today launched public consultations on the revised Regional Risk Assessments (RRAs) for Denmark and Latvia.

As a result of the Standards Development Process launched in May 2020, both SBP Standards 1 and 2 were revised, thus triggering the review of all existing SBP-endorsed RRAs. Indufor Oy was appointed as the Working Body responsible for reviewing and revising the existing SBP-endorsed RRAs for Denmark and Latvia.

Both revised RRAs have already been subject to a public consultation held by the Working Body. This SBP public consultation is the second and final round of consultation and all stakeholders are invited to comment.

All documents are available via the Feedback Platform for the respective RRAs, as follows:

  • For the revised RRA for Denmark, please use the Feedback Platform to provide your comments.
  • For the revised RRA for Latvia, please use the Feedback Platform to provide your comments.

Both consultations close on Friday, 8 March 2024.

RRAs are a key part of SBP’s focus on identifying and managing risks associated with sustainably sourcing feedstock for biomass production. With an RRA covering an entire geographic region, and determining the risks associated with sourcing feedstock from that region, the need for individual Biomass Producers to conduct risk assessments is avoided, leading to an efficient and consistent risk assessment process. RRAs also ensure active engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders in the region.

Global Sustainability Organisations Form Alliance to Share Risk Information

A group of organisations, including the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Preferred by Nature, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), and the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP), are joining forces as the Risk Information Alliance (RIA).

Increasing regulatory requirements such as the EU Regulation on Deforestation-free Products (EUDR) and market pressure for responsibly produced products are posing a serious challenge to businesses, certification schemes and producers in agricultural and forest-based sectors. The RIA will develop and maintain credible risk assessments with a range of partners and across commodities offering value beyond the EUDR. Through an innovative and collaborative approach, the Alliance will encourage risk data sharing in a pre-competitive sphere and cut through the complex and costly landscape facing companies and sustainability systems.

“Historically, businesses, certification schemes and other stakeholders have worked in isolation to evaluate risks. Without coordination, it is easy to imagine how they may come to different conclusions for the same indicators, wasting time, resources, and potential impact,” said David Hadley, Regulatory Impact Programme Director at Preferred by Nature.

“This alliance will create a common language, making sure that businesses, authorities and stakeholders in forestry and agriculture are working effectively towards the same goal. The more organisations that contribute, the greater the impact will be,” said Kim Carstensen, FSC Director General.

The RIA benefits from the award of a grant under the ISEAL Innovations Fund, which receives generous support from principal donor, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The ISEAL Innovations Fund supports ISEAL members to join forces in exploring new, ambitious solutions to key sustainability challenges. The grant has been awarded to SBP and Preferred by Nature and covers the two years to the end of 2025. It is matched in-kind by SBP and Preferred by Nature.

“This funding will play a pivotal role in gathering and sharing high quality risk data. We are excited to be working with Preferred by Nature and other organisations to bring about positive change,“ said Carsten Huljus, CEO of the Sustainable Biomass Program.

With a steering group in place to coordinate the initial development of the Alliance, it is intended to quickly extend the invitation to other organisations and over time attract a much broader circle of stakeholders.

“RSB supports the call for collaboration in navigating the challenges of increasing regulatory requirements and market pressure for responsibly produced products. Taking a risk-based approach is deeply embedded in our theory and practice, so we are encouraged by the formation of the RIA. We are proud to join this coalition of organisations to share risk information, and together, advance the transition to a bio-based and circular economy,” said Elena Schmidt, RSB Executive Director.

RIA encourages stakeholders and potential members and donors to connect for further information.

Members of the Risk Information Alliance (RIA)

Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®)
FSC is a non-profit organization that provides a proven sustainable forest management solution. Currently, over 160 million hectares of forest worldwide is certified according to FSC standards. It is widely regarded as the most rigorous forest certification system among NGOs, consumers, and businesses alike to tackle today’s deforestation, climate, and biodiversity challenges. The FSC forest management standard is based on ten core principles designed to address a broad range of environmental, social and economic factors. FSC’s “check tree” label is found on millions of forest-based products and verifies that they are sustainably sourced, from forest to consumer. www.fsc.org.

Preferred by Nature
Preferred by Nature is a non-profit organisation working to support better land management and business practices that benefit people, nature and climate in 100+ countries. www.preferredbynature.org

Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB)
The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) is a global membership organisation that drives the sustainable transition to a bio-based and circular economy. RSB’s sustainability framework has been developed by its multi-stakeholder membership, and is a uniquely robust and credible foundation for supporting innovative solutions to the climate crisis. RSB uses this foundation to develop projects, new knowledge and solutions that equip key decision-makers to deliver positive impacts for people and the planet. https://rsb.org/

Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP)
SBP is an independent, multi-stakeholder certification scheme initially designed for biomass used in large-scale energy production. We have achieved international recognition as a solution for Biomass Producers, Traders and End-users to demonstrate responsible sourcing practice. As a sourcing standard, we focus on the legality and sustainability aspects and attributes of feedstock used in biomass production. Our unique Data Transfer System tracks woody biomass transactions along the supply chain, collecting and collating data to enable life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions calculations to be made. https://sbp-cert.org/

SBP Welcomes First Certification under SBP Standards v2.0

SBP has today welcomed news of the first Biomass Producer to be certified under the revised SBP Standards (v2.0).

Danish-based, DSHwood A/S, is a dedicated wood trading company dealing in woody feedstock from the region of Puglia in Italy, and managing the supply chain from harvest to End-user. The certificate has been issued by Preferred by Nature.

Carsten Huljus, SBP CEO, commented, “We welcome the news of DSHwood A/S’s certification under our revised Standards (v2.0). With our current focus very much on the implementation of v2.0, we are encouraged by the progress being made by Certification Bodies and Certificate Holders alike”.

Rasmus Grønborg Bak, DSHwood CEO, commented, “We are pleased to receive the SBP certificate (v2.0). The SBP certificate provides transparency through complex verification and audits. Good certified biomass is our licence to operate today and in the future”.

Following a comprehensive review and revision process, the revised SBP Standards (v2.0) became effective in August 2023. The revised Standards underpin the SBP promise of good biomass. They require that SBP-certified biomass is deforestation-free, that biodiversity is maintained or enhanced through protecting key species, habitats and ecosystems, that water quality and soil quality are maintained or enhanced, that carbon stocks are stable or increasing, and that workers and their rights, local communities, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples are protected.

Our revised Standards also mandate compliance with the EU REDII requirements. Certificate Holders have until November 2025 to transition to the revised requirements.

SBP Public Consultation on the Revised Regional Risk Assessments for Estonia and Lithuania

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) has today launched public consultations on the revised Regional Risk Assessments (RRAs) for Estonia and Lithuania.

As a result of the Standards Development Process launched in May 2020, both SBP Standards 1 and 2 were revised, thus triggering the review of all existing SBP-endorsed RRAs. Indufor Oy was appointed as the Working Body responsible for reviewing and revising the existing SBP-endorsed RRAs for Estonia and Lithuania.

Both revised RRAs have already been subject to a public consultation held by the Working Body. This SBP public consultation is the second and final round of consultation and all stakeholders are invited to comment.

All documents are available via the Feedback Platform for the respective RRAs, as follows:

  • For the revised RRA for Estonia, please use the Feedback Platform to provide your comments.
  • For the revised RRA for Lithuania, please use the Feedback Platform to provide your comments.

Both consultations close on Monday, 18 March 2024.

Regional Risk Assessments (RRAs) are a key part of SBP’s focus on identifying and managing risks associated with sustainably sourcing feedstock for biomass production. With an RRA covering an entire geographic region, and determining the risks associated with sourcing feedstock from that region, the need for individual Biomass Producers to conduct risk assessments is avoided, leading to an efficient and consistent risk assessment process. RRAs also ensure active engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders in the region.