Progress update

We are now seven months into the Standards Development Process and already over 1,200 hours of stakeholder participation have been chalked up through Working Group and Sub-group meetings alone. Our remote working arrangements have fared well and have facilitated an inclusive process, allowing all voices to be heard. We have also invited recognised experts to address Working Groups, which has stimulated discussion around some of the more thorny issues.

In addition to our comprehensive meetings schedule, our complementary biomass workshop series, organised in collaboration with IEA Bioenergy and ETIP Bioenergy, has proved hugely successful in informing the Standards Development Process. Some 500 delegates in total, from a variety of stakeholder groups, have joined the first four in the series of five. And through use of an interactive platform we have fostered a spirited exchange of thoughts and perspectives. We have benefited first-hand from great insights into the key issues we are dealing with, including biodiversity and forest carbon. Still to come is our workshop on social impacts and already we see a healthy number of delegates registered to take part.

Initially, each of the three Working Groups spent time identifying and grouping the issues to be addressed. Then a Sub-group structure was devised to tackle each of them and report back to the Working Groups with proposals. We started this Process with the attitude that everything was ‘up for discussion’ and we have not been disappointed with the breadth of the issues put forward by our stakeholders for discussion.

The Sub-groups tackled the difficult or more contentious topics first, giving plenty of time to explore the issues. On those areas where consensus has been reached, proposals have been made to the Working Groups, which in turn has made recommendations to the Secretariat.

Where decisions have been made, we have begun to draft the relevant aspects of the Standards and have developed an outline draft, Revision Draft v0.1. The draft, which is a pre-cursor to Revision Draft v1.0, gives an indication of the direction of travel and is with all Working Group members for a ‘sense check’.

In summary, after considerable discussion of wide-ranging issues we are now turning our attention to drafting and where decisions are yet to be taken we are sharpening our focus and anticipate that our Theory of Change process will help to resolve some of the questions.

Looking ahead, in February we will host three workshops for our Working Group members and members of our Committees and SADG to further the work on the Standards. The first one, on our Theory of Change, will explore how we will achieve our purpose and the role of the revised Standards in that. The following two will focus on the implementation of key areas of the Standards.

Until then our work on the Standards continues.

December 2020