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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, 16 October 2015.