RSB reaccredited weeks after EU court slams certification system

By Ron Kotrba | September 13, 2016

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials announced in September that the European Commission reaccredited RSB’s EU Renewable Energy Directive sustainability program for demonstrating compliance with sustainability criteria under Directives 98/70/EC and 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. 

The EC’s decision was published Aug. 9 and is valid for five years. The reaccreditation process was necessary as RSB’s previous recognition was expiring.

The re-recognition in August came just weeks after the European Court of Auditors issued a special report in which it concluded that “because of weaknesses in the Commission’s recognition procedure and in the subsequent supervision of voluntary schemes, the EU certification system for the sustainability of biofuels is not fully reliable.”

“We are aware of the European Court of Auditors report that stated there are weaknesses in the EU certification system for biofuels,” said Helena Tavares Kennedy, RSB’s director of marketing and communications. “There are some EU-approved certification systems that require bare minimum criteria and therefore do not guarantee truly sustainable practices, so we can see why they say there are weaknesses.” She said RSB is unique compared to other voluntary schemes. “It is the only scheme that ensures all the issues are addressed,” Tavares Kennedy told Biodiesel Magazine.  

She noted that one extract from the report states the auditors found that the EC did not require schemes to verify whether biofuel production carried risks such as conflict over land ownership, forced or child labor, poor working conditions for farmers and dangers to health and safety.

“The RSB principles and the RSB standard provide assurance on all these important elements, and users of the RSB system are therefore ensured the highest level of risk management and credibility,” Tavares Kennedy said, adding that RSB is also the only scheme to provide dedicated principles to food security and water. Moreover, she said, RSB has developed a concept for dealing with low indirect land use change.

“The RSB is further unique in that it has a transparent governance system, which ensures the participation and voice of all actors—including companies, trade unions, social and environmental nongovernmental organizations, to name a few,” she said. “The RSB’s upcoming Assembly of Members meeting in November will again illustrate the power of dialogue and all actors coming together to find common and workable solutions to ensure sustainability.”

Ultimately, Tavares Kennedy said RSB is proud of its reaccreditation and its ability to offer credible solutions for all users. “RSB is considered the strongest and most trusted of its kind, and furthermore it contracts Accreditation Services International, an international accrediting agency, to provide and monitor independent accreditation of all certification bodies offering RSB certification services, including SCS Global Services, and Control Union Certifications B.V.,” she said. “ASI’s expertise ensures that audits towards the RSB system are conducted with competence and consistency, regardless of where in the world they take place. RSB also applies global best practice as a full member of ISEAL, a global alliance conferring the highest credibility on sustainability standards.” 

 

 
 
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