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The Sustainable Biomass Partnership

March 14, 2016

By Paul Homewood  




In yesterday’s post, Wood-pellet fuel emits more carbon than coal’: U.S. watchdog to probe shock claims on power giant Drax’s ‘green’ supplier , it was reported in the Mail that the wood pellet supplier, Enviva, was being audited by the Sustainability Biomass Partnership (SBP), chaired by Drax chief executive Dorothy Thompson.

The SBS is now apparently responsible for such certification, following new rules introduced by DECC last year.


According to the SBS:


The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) is an unique certification scheme designed for woody biomass, mostly in the form of wood pellets and wood chips, used in industrial, large scale energy production.

SBP’s vision is an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable solid biomass supply chain that contributes to a low carbon economy.

SBP recognises fully the credibility of existing and well proven forest certification schemes, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) schemes, and does not wish to compete with or replicate them. However, there is limited uptake of certification in some key forest source areas and the aforementioned schemes do not yet cover all the key requirements of biomass users. Therefore, SBP is working to develop solutions, short term and long term, to address these issues and is in discussion with both FSC and PEFC to determine how these challenges might be overcome.

To date, SBP has developed a certification framework to provide assurance that woody biomass is sourced from legal and sustainable sources allowing companies in the biomass sector to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.


All very reassuring, I’m sure.

Until you find out that the members who make up SBS are all energy companies, who all have a vested interest in their biomass operations:




Each member company is represented on the Board. The only Board Member is Peter Wilson, ex Chief Executive of the Timber Growers Association and Executive Director of the Forest Industries Development Council. (A new MD has been appointed, but does not start till May).


It is ludicrous to expect energy companies such as Drax to put genuine forest sustainability ahead of their own interests. You might just as well put the fox in charge of the henhouse.

  1. March 14, 2016 12:19 pm

    “In yesterday’s post, Wood-pellet fuel emits more carbon than coal’: U.S. watchdog to probe shock claims on power giant Drax’s ‘green’ supplier”. Yes, boys and girls. And another little tidbit: burning wood produces more carcinogens than burning fossil fuel.

  2. Jack Broughton permalink
    March 14, 2016 1:32 pm

    Brilliant to set-up a self-certifying body to encourage wood burning: you could not make it up, (except in car emissions etc of course).

    Have just received an interesting “Sales doc” from Eur-observer on the great success of the EU greening. Lot of useful data summarised on each type of green project. Well worth downloading (free).

  3. John Smith permalink
    March 14, 2016 3:45 pm

    I have seem it stated many times that burning wood emits more carbon than coal, but we are told that the carbon from burning wood does not count because it will be absorbed by the new trees planted to replace the ones cut down. Great, except that the forests near where I live are not being replanted with anything like the same number or type of trees. The trees being cut & burned are closely planted pine whereas the new trees are sparsely planted broad leaf and much of the former forest area will be open space in future.

    • March 14, 2016 4:58 pm

      Its not just spacing. Southern Yellow Pine (a mix of about 20 species) is fast growing. Pulp wood in 20 years, saw timber in 30, and plywood peeler blocks in 40. Broadleaf hardwood depends on species. To reach peeler plock equivalent diameter, ‘fast’ growing ‘soft hardwood’ tupelo (tulip poplar) in the same area (se US, southern Appalachians) takes 80-100 years. For oaks, figure 150.

  4. March 14, 2016 4:47 pm

    a bit like expecting MPs to police themselves when the chairman breaks the rules! The degree of outright fraud is shocking

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