Forest Management and Chain of Custody Certification
Canada’s stringent forest management practices are backed up by internationally-recognized third-party forest management certifications. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has a national standard for Canada. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) endorses two Canadian forest management certifications: Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). These certification programs share the common goals of providing third-party assurance of sustainable forest management.
The forest management certifications are supplemented by third-party certification of chain-of-custody to the standards of FSC, PEFC or SFI. Chain of custody certifications prove that sustainability is maintained as fibre changes hands along the supply chain from the forest to the end customer.
All forest certification programs used in Canada promote principles, criteria and objectives that are viewed around the world as the basis of sustainable forest management. Each has balanced governance, with boards representing environmental, social and economic interests and all revise their standards regularly through an open public process. They also evaluate for basic forest stewardship by ensuring that harvested areas are reforested, that laws are obeyed and that there is no unauthorized or illegal logging.
They ensure biological diversity is conserved, timber is harvested sustainably, and wildlife habitat, soils and water resources are conserved.
Certifications are carried out by independent, internationally recognized certification bodies that annually assess forestry operations against standards for sustainable forest management. This, coupled with strong forest management laws, supports Canada’s reputation as a source of legally and sustainably produced forest products. When it comes to forest certification, Canada leads the world with an estimated 168 million hectares certified.
Sustainable Biomass Program
Europe and Asia are third-party certified to the standards of the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP). SBP was set up in 2013 to provide assurance that woody biomass – mainly wood pellets and wood chips used for large-scale energy production – is sourced from legal and sustainable sources. But rather than replacing established forest certification programs, SBP recognizes FSC and PEFC standards, including those endorsed by PEFC, such as SFI and CSA forest management standards, and chain-of-custody certified fibre through FSC, PEFC and SFI.
While the vast majority of fibre from Canada comes from certified forests, any uncertified fibre must be evaluated against SBP criteria, and the wood pellet manufacturer must carry out a risk assessment to identify the risk of compliance against 38 SBP indicators covering 16 criteria for legality and sustainability.
Regional Risk Assessments (RRAs) are a key part of the Sustainable Biomass Program. RRAs provide Biomass Producers (BP) with a mechanism to identify and manage potential risks in the supply chain. Key areas include biodiversity, water and soils. In Canada, the RRAs focus on the uncertified landbase and provide BPs with the process to identify, manage and communicate to ensure expectations are understood and verified.
RRAs have been completed for a number of European countries, the Canadian Provinces of Quebec and British Columbia (BC), and RRAs are also underway for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and planned for Alberta and Saskatchewan. You can read more about the Regional Risk Assessments at www.sbp-cert.org/documents/standards-documents/ or download the factsheet
SBP also provides a framework for suppliers to report third-party verified energy data associated with biomass production and transportation to the generators that purchase their pellets enabling them to calculate GHG emissions savings. Like the three forest management certification programs, SBP incorporates the use of external audits and third-party certification by independently accredited certification bodies.
To learn more about the Sustainable Biomass Program, visit www.sbp-cert.org.