About certification

Over the last three decades, voluntary social and environmental certification schemes have gained in popularity as market-based mechanisms for demonstrating the sustainable and ethical sourcing and production of a range of commodities and products. Such certification schemes are based on best practice and are globally applied across both regulated and un-regulated markets.

SBP is an independent, voluntary certification scheme developed to provide a formal and recognised means of demonstrating compliance with established requirements for biomass sustainability.

The key components of our certification scheme are:

  • Scheme Owner: SBP is the Scheme Owner and is responsible for developing and maintaining our certification scheme. This involves developing Standards, processes and procedures that need to be met for certification. SBP does not audit companies and does not take certification decisions.
  • Standards: Our Standards define the specific requirements that must be met by an organisation if it is to be eligible for certification. Our Standards are based on industry best practices and regulatory requirements for legal and sustainable sourcing of woody feedstock used in the production of biomass.
  • Certification Body: An independent Certification Body, accredited by an independent Accreditation Body, is responsible for conducting audits to determine if the organisation seeking certification meets the requirements of our Standards. By extension, the Certification Body is responsible for all certification decisions, including issuance, retention, suspension and withdrawal decisions. The Certification Body must comply with ISO 17065, ISO 19011 and SBP Standard 3 when auditing organisations seeking certification.
  • Accreditation Body: An Accreditation Body assesses and accredits Certification Bodies to ensure their competence, impartiality, and adherence to established guidelines. Accreditation provides assurance that the certification process is conducted reliably and consistently. The Accreditation Body must comply with ISO 17011 when assessing and accrediting Certification Bodies. Certification Bodies undergo annual office accreditation audits as well as witness audits when conducting certification audits of companies.
  • Audit Process: The certification process involves the Certification Body conducting a systematic and thorough audit of the organisation seeking certification, and includes on-site inspections, document reviews, and interviews to verify compliance with the requirements of the Standards.
  • Independent Auditor: The auditor responsible for conducting the audit process may be employed or contracted to the Certification Body, and having followed the audit process will report findings, including (if necessary) the identification and grading of non-conformities, and recommendations to issue, retain, suspend or withdraw a certificate. The Certification Body is responsible for ensuring that the auditor is appropriately qualified and that they maintain their qualification for conducting audits. In addition, the Certification Body is responsible for ensuring that the auditor has successfully passed the initial auditor training course(s) approved by SBP  and that they maintain their competence according to strict criteria given in SBP Standard 3. Auditors are expected to maintain impartiality and integrity throughout the audit process, ensuring fair and unbiased assessments, following the relevant requirements of ISO 19011.
  • Certificate Issuance: If the organisation successfully meets the requirements of our Standards the Certification Body issues a certificate attesting to its compliance. The certificate is valid for five years and is subject to annual surveillance. After five years the organisation must be re-certified.

The relationship between a Scheme Owner, Certification Body and Accreditation works as a system of checks and balances to ensure the credibility and reliability of the certification process, helping to build trust in the certification process and the resulting certifications.

Once certified the organisation is known as a Certificate Holder and may be a Biomass Producer, Trader or End-user.