Melanie Williams Consulting

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Biofuels Sustainability Schemes update

After eight years of sustainability certification, ISCC, the market leading EU approved Voluntary Scheme, dominates certification of biofuels refineries, traders, and storage. ISCC has not recognised waste based biofuels certified by other sustainability schemes up to now, apart from REDcert, which is also based in Germany. The reason given was to control traceability and prevent fraudulent declarations of waste derived biofuels. A recent announcement shows that things are changing, with RSB and ISCC reaching an agreement on mutual recognition. This allows their certificate holders to accept waste derived biofuels certified by either scheme. 

Although this move alone is unlikely to change much, with RSB having issued only 34 certificates compared with ISCC’s 17000, it does remove one of the barriers to trading of waste derived biofuels in Europe. If this is the start of increased collaboration between the biofuels sustainability schemes, it will benefit operators who won’t have to hold multiple certificates.  This was one goal of the European Commission, when they forced Schemes accepting wastes and residues to adopt a common approach to traceability in 2014/2015.

In further news, two other Voluntary Schemes have allowed their approval by the European Commission to lapse. RSPO EU RED and NTA8080/Better Biomass have yet to be re-approved several months after their approval expired. Local ‘work-arounds’ are no doubt in place to enable these Schemes’ certificate holders to continue trading, however, previous experience has shown that trading can still be disrupted if Schemes don’t act quickly.  As the different sustainability schemes compete with each other for recognition and uptake, neglecting the needs of certificate holders brings consequences.

Published: 10 April 18

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