Working Group A is responsible for developing Standards 1 and 2, which collectively cover feedstock compliance and verification of compliant feedstock. Amongst other things, the Working Group will review and further develop the criteria and indicators that meet the central principles of legality and sustainability.
In developing the Standards, the Working Group will consider changes in the external environment, such as new or revised legislation, advances in best practice, and ideas and suggestions from our many and varied stakeholders.
Working Group A covers Standards 1 and 2 and has 42 members, with an even split between industry and non-industry representatives. We have also benefited from the input of external experts who have addressed the Working Group on key issues, providing a useful route for hearing from NGOs and other civil society groups that cannot commit to Working Group membership.
We have a number of Sub-groups reporting directly into the Working Group, currently they cover the areas of natural capital and biodiversity, social issues, forest carbon and GHG, feedstocks, supply chain criteria, and risk assurance.
Some fairly hot topics have arisen during our discussions, including what role certification should take in delivering wider benefits and how the Standards can do so. Specifically, consideration has been given to the leverage that Biomass Producers can have over sustainability impacts in the forest and how contracts and due diligence could help the deliver wider impacts.
The discussion of GHG reporting requirements has centred around appropriate calculation methodologies and whether the Standards should go as far as imposing thresholds or limits for acceptable/certifiable GHG balances.
There has also been an interesting debate over the scope of the Standards and getting the balance right, avoiding the pitfall of being too far reaching and overly complicated or unworkable, but still being able to deliver on SBP’s purpose.