Melanie Williams Consulting

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Sustainability schemes: better safe than sorry

The recognition of some Voluntary Sustainability Schemes for verifying compliance of biofuels with the Renewable Energy Directive is due to expire this summer. The lesson from the Schemes which were in this position in 2016, is that the process of re-recognition is longer than people realise. Last year, only those Schemes whose main focus is bioenergy  avoided  a gap in recognition. Other Schemes’ recognition remained expired for months or are yet to be approved, leaving certificate holders inconvenienced  and even losing sales. 

It looks like history might repeat itself this year. Of the Schemes that expire soon,  Red Tractor (6th August), REDcert (15th August ), NTA8080 (21st August), only REDcert seems on track  to be reapproved on time. The REDcert  decision has been published for consultation, which is a formality prior to official re-recognition. At the time of writing, neither of the others has reached this stage, which doesn’t bode well for a timely re-recognition. 

The reason the process takes so long is that Voluntary Schemes are being required to improve transparency, make their Schemes more robust and take account of regulatory changes. 

So what is the advice for companies who don't want to risk their biofuel being turned away by customers? They should make sure they are part of a scheme that covers all bioenergy and has already been re-recognised (ISCC, 2BSvs, RSB) or soon will be (REDcert). 

Update: REDcert has been re-recognised without any gap in recognition.

Published: 3 July 17

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