SBP Appoints ASI as Accreditation Body

The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) and Accreditation Services International (ASI) have today announced that SBP has appointed ASI as an accreditation body for the SBP certification scheme. The agreement between ASI and SBP enhances the integrity of the scheme through introducing another level of independent, third-party oversight at an important point in its development.

Carsten Huljus, Chief Executive Officer of SBP, commented: “In the interests of getting the SBP certification scheme to market in a timely fashion, SBP undertook the approvals role. It was always the intention that, in time, that role would be managed by an external accreditation service provider. The agreement with ASI marks a positive next step in the development of the SBP certification scheme”.

During the transition period, which runs from 2 August 2016 to 31 December 2017, existing SBP-approved Certification Bodies (CBs) will be required to transition to ASI accreditation. More on what that means for SBP-approved CBs and SBP Certificate Holders, that is, certified Biomass Producers and biomass traders, is available on the SBP website (

ASI Managing Director, Guntars Lagūns, emphasised: “ASI has long-standing experience in wood fiber commodities and we are looking forward to using our expertise and capacity to support the development and integrity of the SBP certification scheme”.

SBP is a unique certification scheme designed for woody biomass, mostly in the form of wood pellets and wood chips, used in industrial, large-scale energy production. The SBP Framework consists of a set of standards and processes allowing companies in the biomass sector to demonstrate compliance with regulatory, including sustainability, requirements.

ASI is the sole accreditation body for sector-specific certification scheme owners that develop multi-stakeholder standards to address pressing environmental, social and/or economic issues, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

SBP consultation on draft Instruction Documents 5A, 5B and 5C v1.1

SBP has today published the pre-approval drafts of Instruction Documents 5A, 5B and 5C v1.1 for consultation. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments on the drafts.

Following the consultation on draft Instruction Document 5A v1.1 earlier in the year, SBP has been working on revising the document to bring it in line with the developing regulatory requirements and the SBP Data Transfer System that will become mandatory for SBP Certificate Holders from 1 October 2016. To help bring clarity to the multiple functions that the DTS will perform, Instruction Document 5A has been split into three Instruction Documents – 5A, 5B and 5C – each covering a different topic. In addition, three templates have been developed to ensure consistency in data collection and communication.

The draft Instruction Documents 5A, 5B and 5C v1.1 can be viewed at: Interested parties are asked to tabulate their responses into three columns headed: Section Number; Comments; and Suggested Solution, and to clearly state to which document or template the comments refer. All written comments should be sent to Melanie Wedgbury at by the close of business on Friday, 23 September 2016.

SBP approves its first 50 certifications

A year on from celebrating the first Biomass Producer certification, the Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) has today announced that 50 organisations have now been certified in accordance with the SBP certification scheme. SBP is a unique certification scheme designed for woody biomass, mostly in the form of wood pellets and wood chips, used in industrial, large-scale heat and power production.

The scheme consists of a set of standards and processes and enables producers of woody biomass to demonstrate that they source their raw material responsibly and that it complies with the regulatory, including sustainability, requirements applicable to generators burning woody biomass to produce heat and/or power.

Carsten Huljus, SBP Chief Executive Officer, commented: “SBP has made much headway since the launch of the certification scheme at the end of March 2015. The scheme is already recognised in the UK and Denmark, and SBP is working towards recognition in Belgium and The Netherlands. On top of that, reaching the milestone of 50 certificates issued – a work rate of nearly one certificate issued per week – firmly establishes SBP as an effective certification scheme for biomass users to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements”.

Wood pellet producers, wood chip producers and biomass traders are all amongst the 50 organisations that have been certified to date. A list of Certificate Holders may be viewed at:

Deferral of the introduction of fees for Certificate Holders

On 1 April 2016 SBP published two proposed fee schedules, one for Certificate Holders and one for Certification Bodies, which were scheduled to be effective from 1 October 2016.

In September, the SBP Board decided to defer the introduction of fees for all Certificate Holders. The level of interest shown by organisations wishing to become certified is high and the Board considers that it would be more equitable to introduce fees when a greater proportion of the current applicants have successfully completed the certification process. SBP will use the period of deferral to expand its stakeholder engagement and ensure that there is a greater understanding of the SBP certification scheme throughout the biomass supply chain. It is proposed to publish a fee schedule for all Certificate Holders (that is, wood pellet and woodchip producers, and biomass traders) on 1 April 2017 to be effective from 1 October 2017.

The fee schedule applicable to Certification Bodies covers the costs associated with maintaining Certification Body approval. The applicable fee schedule published on 1 April 2016, which is available on the SBP website, will be effective from 1 October 2016.

SBP Directorate Changes

SBP has today announced that Dorothy Thompson is to retire as a director and Chairman of the Board. Thomas Dalsgaard, who has been a director of the Company since 2013, succeeds Dorothy Thompson as Chairman.

Thomas Dalsgaard commented: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to chair the SBP Board. I should like to thank Dorothy for all the work she has put into SBP from its origination to where it is today.

“I look forward to continuing the roll-out of SBP in the market and, in close dialogue with our stakeholders, including the Advisory Board, biomass producers, regulators and NGOs, seeking continuous improvement and development of the system. SBP is a unique certification system for woody biomass, mostly in the form of wood pellets and woodchips, used in industrial, large-scale energy production. When it comes to meeting regulatory requirements for legal and sustainable sourcing of feedstock I am committed to ensuring that the system is fit-for-purpose and robust”.

Dorothy Thompson added: “I’m extremely proud to have chaired the Sustainable Biomass Partnership over the three years since its creation. So much has been achieved, in particular establishing a certification framework providing assurance that woody biomass is sourced from legal and sustainable sources.

“Biomass will continue to play a vital role in enabling the transition to a low carbon future and I wish Thomas well in taking SBP forward at a vital time for the industry”.

SBP Welcomes Consultation on the Introduction of an FSC Carbon Footprint Procedure

The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) welcomes the FSC’s consultation on the possible introduction of a voluntary FSC Carbon Footprint Procedure. SBP believes that such an instrument, capable of measuring the carbon footprint of the full range of wood products, would have a positive impact on production and consumption behaviours.

The SBP certification system was introduced in 2015 to provide a tool allowing energy producers using woody biomass to demonstrate compliance with regulatory, including sustainability, requirements. The importance of forest-level certification, such as FSC, is fully recognised by SBP and it has never been the intention of SBP to compete with or replicate such systems. However, limited uptake of forest-level certification in some key forest source areas or wood baskets coupled with the fact that, to date, such systems themselves do not yet cover all the key regulatory requirements faced by users of woody biomass for energy production necessitated the introduction of the SBP certification system.

SBP Chief Executive Officer, Carsten Huljus commented: “SBP is keen to encourage greater uptake of forest-level certification in key forest source areas and this includes encouraging such certification systems to provide a complete solution for wood-to-energy producers.

“We are pleased to see FSC propose the introduction of a mechanism to measure the carbon footprint of the full range of wood products along the supply chain”.

Statement on Deletion of Record of Suspension Decision for NEPCon OÜ

On 1 December 2016 (effective date), NEPCon OÜ’s FSC accreditation for Forest Management and Chain of Custody certification in Russia was suspended by FSC’s accreditation organisation, Accreditation Services International (ASI).

It is an SBP requirement that a reduction in scope or suspension of a relevant accreditation, such as for FSC® or PEFC, by an accreditation body leads to the corresponding suspension of an SBP approval. Consequently, approval for SBP biomass producer (including Supply Base Evaluation) and supply chain certification for Russia was suspended as of 6 January 2017 (effective date).

On 21 April 2017, ASI announced that the suspension had been lifted. Following a review to ensure that the other SBP requirements were still fully met, SBP also lifted its suspension (effective 21 April 2017).

In accordance with the ASI accreditation procedures, the ASI suspension decision was subject to arbitration and as a result of that arbitration process the suspension decision has been deleted from ASI’s records.

SBP’s decision to suspend the approval of NEPCon OÜ in Russia was based solely on the requirement that a reduction in scope or suspension of a relevant accreditation by an accreditation body leads to the corresponding suspension of an SBP approval. In the light of the outcome of the ASI arbitration process, SBP has also taken the decision to delete the suspension decision from its records.

SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessment for Latvia Published

SBP has today published the SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessment for Latvia. The publication of the Regional Risk Assessment follows a period of public consultation and internal review by SBP, including an approval recommendation from the independent Technical Committee. SBP has also published a response to consultation, which summarises and considers comments received from stakeholders.

SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessments are a key part of SBP’s focus on identifying and mitigating risks associated with sustainably sourcing feedstock for biomass pellet and woodchip production. The SBP certification system is designed to provide assurance that feedstock is sourced legally and sustainably.

Feedstock certified at the forest level through FSC®, PEFC or PEFC-endorsed schemes is considered SBP-compliant. Other feedstock must be evaluated using a risk-based approach if it is to count towards an SBP-compliant claim.

Typically, the Biomass Producer – a wood pellet or woodchip producer – is responsible for carrying out the risk assessment and putting in place mitigation measures to manage any specified risks such that the risks can be considered to be controlled and hence low risk. It is the role of an independent, third-party Certification Body, approved by SBP, to check that the feedstock evaluation has been correctly undertaken and that any mitigation measures are being effectively implemented.

The purpose of an RRA is to evaluate an entire geographic region and determine the risks associated with sourcing feedstock for biomass pellet or woodchip production from that region. Thus, the need for individual Biomass Producers to conduct risk assessments is avoided and, therefore, consistency between Biomass Producers’ risk assessments guaranteed. The SBP RRA procedure also ensures active engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders in the region.

The SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessment for Latvia and the SBP response to consultation can be found at:

SBP Announces New Member

SBP, the unique certification system for woody biomass used in industrial, large-scale energy production, has today announced the addition of a new member company, MGT Teesside Ltd (MGT Teesside). The application for membership was approved at the SBP Board meeting held on 12 September 2017.

MGT Teesside is building the Tees Renewable Energy Plant, a 299MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) biomass plant at Teesport, in the north-east of England, UK. The plant is the largest thermal-combustion power plant under construction in the UK.

Thomas Dalsgaard, Chairman of SBP, commented: “I am pleased to announce that MGT Teesside has joined the membership of SBP. MGT Teesside will be represented on the Board and I look forward to the contribution the company will make to our work.

“We are at an important stage in the development of the certification system. Our plan to transform SBP into a multi-stakeholder organisation is gaining momentum and the new arrangements are on schedule for implementation in early 2019.

“I am also pleased to report that our certification system is progressing well. We now have 115 Certificate Holders and independent scrutiny is at the heart of our certification decision-making.

“SBP has an important role to play in demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements for the legal and sustainable sourcing of biomass feedstock and we are committed to continuous improvement and development”.

For more information, please contact:

Statement on SBP Approval Process

The Certification Body, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), became an ‘SBP-approved’ Certification Body in May 2016.

On 23 January 2017 (effective date), PwC was suspended for the delivery of SBP Supply Chain and Biomass Producer Certification in Canada and the USA.

Following the six month suspension period (23 January 2017 – 22 July 2017) and the subsequent SBP and independent Technical Review process, the following can be confirmed:

The suspension of PwC has been lifted for SBP Supply Chain and Biomass Producer Certification in Canada and the USA, excluding certification that includes Supply Base Evaluation.

The suspension of PwC for certification for Biomass Producer Certification in Canada and the USA including Supply Base Evaluation has not been lifted. As the six-month suspension period has come to an end, PwC is now terminated for Biomass Producer Certification including Supply Base Evaluation.

PwC may continue to offer certification in Canada and the USA for both Chain of Custody and for Biomass Producer excluding Supply Base Evaluation.