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Drax Biomass receives Sustainable Biomass Partnership certification

Drax Biomass’ pellet mills in Louisiana and Mississippi, US, have achieved certification under the Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP). 

The new certificate comes as an addition to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) acknowledgment Drax has received since it opened its mill less than a year ago. 

In a statement, Drax Biomass CEO and president Peter Madden said the SBP incorporates many elements of the other three certification programmes, but also builds on them “in several important ways”.

The certificate required Drax to conduct an extensive consultation process with the local communities surrounding its mills, which the company completed in early 2016.

“We contacted over 200 individuals and organisations representing environmental interests, landowners, government, academia, and other stakeholders,” Madden said.

“We provided them with an overview of our core principles and sourcing practices, and solicited recommendations to strengthen our risk management framework.”

Based on this consultation, Drax is developing training programmes for its suppliers to reinforce their awareness of federal US laws and practices regarding the environment and sustainability, as well as to inform them of protected and cherished forests that should be left untouched. 

The SBP was launched in 2015 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.

By March 2016, 15 SBP certificates had been issued and a further 70 applications for certification received, Drax Biomass among them.

This article was written by Ilari Kauppila, deputy editor at Bioenergy Insight