SBP accepts SCS Global Services as applicant

SBP has today announced that Certification Body, SCS Global Services has been accepted as an applicant and is now able to progress towards achieving SBP-approved status.

The SBP Framework of standards and processes enables producers of woody biomass to demonstrate that they source their raw material responsibly and that it complies with the legal, regulatory and sustainability requirements applicable to European power generators. It also facilitates the carriage of energy and carbon data along the supply chain to the end-user. Under the SBP Framework the Biomass Producer, typically a pellet mill, is certified by a SBP-approved Certification Body and is responsible for ensuring that its feedstock meets the SBP standards.

To become SBP-approved, a Certification Body must first provide evidence that it meets the SBP requirements regarding its existing accreditations and it must also demonstrate that it has sufficient resources and competence to manage the certification programme.

The next step for an applicant Certification Body is to satisfy SBP of its competence to undertake an audit of a Biomass Producer against the SBP standards in a real-life situation.

Peter Wilson, Executive Director of SBP commented: “We are pleased to accept SCS Global Services as an applicant and look forward to progressing the application towards SBP-approved status.

“SBP has now accepted six Certification Bodies as applicants which is a key step towards establishing the SBP Framework as an effective scheme enabling users of woody biomass for energy production to demonstrate that the biomass is both legally and sustainably sourced.”

SBP Appoints Chairman of Advisory Board

The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) has today announced the appointment of Julia Marton-Lefèvre as the Chairman of the new Board being established to provide advice to the SBP.

Ms Marton-Lefèvre has been prominent in the scientific and environmental community and has recently stepped down as Director General of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) following eight years’ service. The IUCN is a unique global membership organisation bringing together governments and non-governmental organisations, scientists and experts to seek pragmatic solutions to the most pressing environment and development challenges.

The role of the new Advisory Board to the SBP will be to give advice to the SBP Board on, for example, the strategic direction of the SBP, the credibility of the SBP Framework, as well as on specific technical and policy issues. With the Chairman in post, work is now underway to fill the remaining positions on the Advisory Board. The composition of the SBP Advisory Board will ensure that key stakeholder groups are represented.

Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President of DONG Energy and SBP Board Member, who led the search and selection process on behalf of the SBP Board, commented: “I am pleased that Ms Marton-Lefèvre has accepted the role of Chairman of the SBP Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will play a critical role in the future development of the SBP and it is very important that its Chairman has a solid track record of bridging the gap between business and civil society.

“Ms Marton-Lefèvre has impeccable credentials and the necessary intellectual curiosity to be an effective Chairman. I believe she will be a tremendous asset to the SBP.”

Welcoming Ms Marton-Lefèvre to the role, Dorothy Thompson, Group Chief Executive of Drax and Chairman of the SBP, said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Ms Marton-Lefèvre as Chairman of the SBP Advisory Board. My fellow Board members and I look forward to working with her to make SBP a truly multi-stakeholder approach.”

Julia Marton-Lefèvre commented: “I am delighted to accept the role of Chairman of the SBP Advisory Board. I strongly believe that the SBP will benefit from a collaborative approach involving key stakeholder groups to help it achieve its vision of an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable solid biomass supply chain that contributes to a low carbon economy. My first task will be to assist in populating the Advisory Board and then we will begin our work as a group providing the best advice possible to the Partnership.”

EU Launch of SBP Framework

The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) has today launched the SBP Framework to representatives of the EU Institutions at an event in Brussels. The Framework consists of standards and independent certification procedures which together provide a tool enabling users of woody biomass for energy production to demonstrate the legal and sustainable sourcing of its feedstock material in compliance with regulatory requirements and to provide the data required to assess properly its carbon footprint.

Energy production from biomass has an important role to play in the future EU energy market and is key to the current Energy Union debate. It has the potential to deliver a meaningful contribution towards meeting the 2020 and 2030 renewable energy targets and the long term goal for decarbonisation, whilst strongly supporting security of energy supply. In order for woody biomass to fulfil this role it is imperative that the biomass feedstock is sourced both legally and sustainably and that it is a low carbon energy alternative. The SBP Framework provides a practical approach to demonstrate that and in doing so will support the work of European policy makers and regulators in integrating woody biomass use for large scale energy production into low carbon energy policy.

The SBP recognises forest-level certification schemes, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). However, in some key forest source areas for the woody biomass typically used for large scale, industrial energy production there is a lack of uptake of these schemes. In addition, the schemes themselves do not cover all the regulatory requirements that users of biomass for energy production must meet, most notably the collection, carriage and calculation of energy and carbon balance data along the supply chain.

The SBP has developed its Framework as a solution to both these issues and as a tool to demonstrate compliance with national regulatory requirements. The Framework draws on the most comprehensive aspects of today’s requirements for legal and sustainable feedstock sourcing and energy and carbon balance calculations. It is adaptive in its approach and will evolve through a process of continuous improvement enabling future regulatory requirements to be incorporated as necessary.

The SBP Framework is ready for implementation and the immediate focus is to encourage Biomass Producers to seek certification of their processes in conformance with the Framework.

Commenting on the launch of the SBP Framework, Dorothy Thompson CBE, SBP Chairman said: “Biomass is only a true renewable if it is sourced responsibly and sustainably. SBP fully recognises that when biomass is used to produce energy it must be sustainable and a low carbon alternative. The SBP Framework is an effective tool enabling users of woody biomass for energy production to demonstrate these credentials in compliance with regulatory requirements.

“We are encouraged by the interest that representatives of the EU Institutions have shown in the SBP and its Framework, and we look forward to working with them and other interested parties to make this a truly multi-stakeholder approach.”

Peter Wilson, Executive Director, SBP added: “The members of the SBP are significant actors in the large scale, industrial wood to energy sector and together have taken the initiative to facilitate the development of an independently certified tool, the SBP Framework, which will enable users of woody biomass for energy production to demonstrate their fuel is sourced in compliance with regulatory, including sustainability, requirements.

“The SBP Framework has used existing forest-level certification schemes as its starting point and has developed additional criteria to ensure compliance with existing regulatory requirements for users of biomass for energy production. It is the intention that the Framework provides a practical approach to support the work of European policy makers and regulators.”

SBP accepts four more Certification Bodies as applicants

SBP has today announced that a further four Certification Bodies have been accepted as applicants and are now able to progress towards achieving SBP-approved status. The applicant Certification Bodies are: Forest Certification, KPMG Performance Registrar Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and SGS.

The SBP Framework of standards and processes 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 European power generators burning woody biomass to produce energy.

Under the SBP Framework the Biomass Producer, typically a pellet mill, is certified by a SBP-approved Certification Body. To become SBP-approved, a Certification Body must first provide evidence that it meets the SBP requirements regarding its existing accreditations and it must also demonstrate that it has sufficient resources and competence to manage the certification programme.

The next step for an applicant Certification Body is to satisfy SBP of its competence to undertake an audit of a Biomass Producer against the SBP standards in a real-life situation.

Peter Wilson, Executive Director of SBP commented: “Significant interest has been shown by Certification Bodies in becoming SBP-approved and we are pleased to accept Forest Certification, KPMG Performance Registrar Inc., PwC and SGS as applicants. We will now work with each of them as they progress towards SBP-approved status.

“This is a significant step in establishing the SBP Framework as an efficient tool for users of biomass for energy production to demonstrate compliance with regulatory, including sustainability, requirements.”

SBP welcomes PEFC GHG emission data transfer initiative

The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) welcomes the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) initiative to develop a voluntary mechanism for the transfer of GHG emission-related data along the PEFC-certified supply chain.

The SBP had identified this as an important opportunity for PEFC given that wood-for-energy producers need to collect and provide GHG data to regulators in European markets. SBP recognises forest-level certification schemes, such as PEFC, and does not intend to compete with, or replicate, them. The development of a GHG emission data transfer mechanism under the PEFC scheme is an important step towards PEFC providing a complete certification solution for woody biomass users. SBP is pleased to be a part of the PEFC Task Force charged with taking the initiative forward.

SBP Executive Director, Peter Wilson commented: “Woody biomass has an important role to play in the future energy mix of the EU. The SBP is keen to encourage greater uptake of certification in key forest source areas and this includes helping forest-level certification schemes to provide a complete certification solution for wood-to-energy producers.

“SBP had been in discussion with PEFC to encourage the development of a mechanism to enable the transfer of GHG emission data along the supply chain. We are delighted to see this initiative is now underway and are pleased to be playing a full part in its development.”

SBP approves first Certification Body

09SBP has today announced that NEPCon has become the first ‘SBP-approved’ Certification Body. NEPCon has provided evidence that it meets the SBP requirements regarding its existing accreditations and has demonstrated sufficient resource and competence to manage the SBP certification programme under the SBP Framework.

The SBP Framework of standards and processes 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 power generators burning woody biomass to produce energy.

NEPCon has been approved for worldwide certification of Biomass Producers, typically pellet or woodchip mills, and the biomass supply chain, for example, Biomass Producers and components of the downstream supply chain, such as trade, transport and processing that require Chain of Custody certification.

Peter Wilson, Executive Director of SBP, commented, “NEPCon has been through a rigorous approval process, which amongst other things has included the witness by SBP assessors of a NEPCon audit of a Biomass Producer and SBP’s approval of NEPCon’s audit team through training and examination. Finally, SBP’s independent Technical Committee undertook a review of the whole assessment process and confirmed a recommendation for approval. On behalf of SBP I am pleased to confirm that NEPCon’s application is approved.

“This approval marks a major step in implementing the SBP Framework throughout the woody biomass supply chain”.

SBP consultation on draft regional risk assessments

SBP has today published draft Regional Risk Assessments for the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments on the drafts.

Regional Risk Assessments are a key part of SBP’s focus on identifying and mitigating any risks associated with sourcing feedstock for biomass pellet and wood chip production. The SBP Framework 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 wood chip 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 Certification Body, approved by SBP, to check 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 pellet or wood chip 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.

Following a successful pilot, SBP commissioned Regional Risk Assessments for the three Baltic States. Existing FSC® risk assessments formed the basis of the Regional Risk Assessments, which were then supplemented with the additional elements required by SBP.

Peter Wilson, SBP Executive Director, commented: “Identifying and managing any risks so as to prevent illegal and unsustainable sourcing of feedstock for the production of biomass pellets and wood chips used in large scale energy production is central to the role of SBP and its Framework.

“Having successfully concluded a pilot Regional Risk Assessment in Lithuania, we extended the approach to Estonia and Latvia. We believe the Regional Risk Assessment approach provides a framework for identifying woodlands with high conservation values and safeguarding them through appropriate management strategies.

“We encourage interested parties to take part in the consultation with the aim of building on the work to date and informing the consideration of the wider adoption of the Regional Risk Assessment approach”.

The draft Regional Risk Assessments can be viewed at: http://www.sustainablebiomasspartnership.org/documents/consultation-documents/draft-regional-risk-assessments. Interested parties are invited to provide written comments on the drafts and the Regional Risk Assessment Procedure to Melanie Wedgbury at mkwedgbury@sustainablebiomasspartnership.org by Friday, 16 October 2015.

NSF International becomes SBP-Approved Certification Body

SBP has today announced that NSF International (NSF) has become an ‘SBP-approved’ Certification Body. NSF has provided evidence that it meets the SBP requirements regarding its existing accreditations and has demonstrated sufficient resource and competence to manage the SBP certification programme under the SBP Framework.

The SBP Framework of standards and processes enables Biomass Producers, typically pellet and wood chip mills, to demonstrate that they source their feedstock responsibly and that it complies with the regulatory, including sustainability, requirements applicable to power generators burning woody biomass to produce energy.

NSF has been approved for the certification, in Canada and the United States of America, of Biomass Producers and the biomass supply chain, for example, Biomass Producers and components of the downstream supply chain, such as trade, transport and processing that require Chain of Custody certification.

Peter Wilson, Executive Director of SBP, commented, “On behalf of SBP I am pleased to confirm that NSF’s application is approved. NSF has been through a rigorous approval process, culminating in a final review and recommendation for approval by SBP’s independent Technical Committee.

“This is the second such approval of a Certification Body, and the first in North America. This progress provides a good foundation for implementation of the SBP Framework throughout the woody biomass supply chain”.

SBP welcomes announcement of first Biomass Producer Certification

SBP has today welcomed news of the first Biomass Producer certification. NSF International (NSF), an SBP-approved Certification Body, has announced that it has certified the Aliceville, Alabama facility of US pellet producer, Westervelt Renewable Energy LLC (Westervelt).

The SBP certificate issued to Westervelt covers the manufacture of woody biomass pellets, transportation of the pellets to the Port of Mobile, Alabama and the trading of woody biomass pellets.

Commenting on the certification of Westervelt, Peter Wilson, Executive Director of SBP, said, “We are delighted at the news of Westervelt’s certification, as the first of its kind this is a landmark in the implementation of the SBP Framework”.

Under the SBP Framework the Biomass Producer, typically a pellet or wood chip mill, is the first point of certification. The Biomass Producer is assessed for compliance with the SBP requirements, specifically that the feedstock it uses, for example, roundwood, sawdust and/or wood chips, is compliant with SBP requirements – essentially that it is sourced both legally and sustainably.

That assessment must be carried out by an independent, third-party Certification Body. A Biomass Producer that satisfactorily demonstrates compliance receives a certificate and is entitled to make the claim that the biomass it produces is SBP-compliant.

SBP welcomes announcement of Europe’s first biomass producer certification

SBP has today welcomed news of Europe’s first Biomass Producer certification. NEPCon, an SBP-approved Certification Body, has announced that it has certified Latvian pellet producer, SBE Latvia.

The SBP certificate issued to SBE Latvia covers the use of FSC®-certified feedstock only. SBE Latvia also holds FSC® Chain of Custody certification.

Commenting on the certification of SBE Latvia, Peter Wilson, Executive Director of SBP, said: “We welcome news of SBE Latvia’s certification. The use of FSC®-certified feedstock has played a key role in enabling the Biomass Producer to meet SBP’s sustainability requirements and has facilitated its route to SBP certification”.

Under the SBP Framework the Biomass Producer, typically a pellet or woodchip mill, is the first point of certification. The Biomass Producer is assessed for compliance with the SBP requirements, specifically that the feedstock it uses, for example, roundwood, sawdust and/or wood chips, is compliant with SBP requirements – essentially that it is sourced both legally and sustainably.

That assessment must be carried out by an independent, third-party Certification Body. A Biomass Producer that satisfactorily demonstrates compliance receives a certificate and is entitled to make the claim that the biomass it produces is SBP-compliant.