Proofs of sustainability question as schemes proliferate

Editor's note: A timely alert from the European Commision via ISCC, to avoid the problem of double-selling within the ISCC system and between ISCC and national mandates in Indonesia, Malaysia and others. The risk of inadvertent double-selling between ISCC and RSPO was already apparent several years ago. With the relative rise of non-certification traceablity (that has high pledges for "no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation") and shifts among big buyers to accept traceability, apparent preference for tracing to low risk and certified mills also raises similar questions. The jumble of certification rules and markets (including biofuels mandates) as well as non-certification B2B approaches gives rise to concerns with Proofs of Sustainability. The issue is likely to be led by mandatory sustainability (energy sector) while voluntary (non-energy) has had more latitude. Issues of multi-layering or multi-selling also arises in conservation areas and is being reviewed by the ISEAL Alliance with regard to say a conservation area for palm oil being used for logging business. Policy leakages abound in the complex world of sustainability. Note that EU politicians are already considering a single certification scheme.

ISCC System Update - 14 March 2017: Letter from the European Commission on the Issuing of Proofs of Sustainability. The European Commission recently sent a letter to all voluntary schemes recognized by the Commission. In this letter, the Commission clarifies that it is not allowed to count a batch of biofuel towards biofuel quotas in more than one EU Member State. To avoid the risk of such multiple counting it should not be possible under recognized voluntary schemes to issue Proofs of Sustainability (PoS) for deliveries or sales of sustainable biofuel, if the biofuel has already been used for any of the purposes of Article 17 (1) of the RED, including the fulfilment of a national quota obligation. This means, once a batch of biofuel has been counted towards a national biofuel quota it is not allowed to issue a PoS for the respective amount of biofuel. This is also not allowed if the PoS itself includes an explicit statement that the respective amount of biofuel was already used to fulfil a national biofuel quota.

On 9 Mar, European politicians backed (56 to 1) a non-binding report on sustainable palm oil (to be put to full House vote in April for phase-out from biofuel usage of deforestation producst by 2020 and a single certification scheme)... -- In her report  Konečná  calls on the European Commission to strengthen environmental measures to prevent palm oil-related deforestation and phase out the use of palm oil as a component of biodiesel by 2020. Products should also be able to be certified for the socially responsible origin of their palm oil. “I believe that the European Parliament should be very ambitious," she said. "There should not be any palm oil in biofuels." The environment committee votes on the report on 9 March. It will then be up to all MEPs to vote on it during an upcoming plenary session.