The world's leading certification scheme for wood pellet quality, ENplus has opened the next stage of its multi-stakeholders’ revision process with a Public Consultation. The revised version of the ENplus procedures and requirements are expected to be published in the Spring of 2020.
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With recent studies highlighting the rapid expansion of the wood pellet market with a global production increase of 11 percent and Bioenergy Europe estimating a European consumption increase of 8 percent as well as a rapid rise in trade (within various means of transportation) and handling processes, it is clear that certifications ensuring quality within the supply chain must also adapt and evolve to meet the needs of this ever-changing sector.
According to the European Pellet Council (EPC), a network within Bioenergy Europe, it has become apparent that a broader range of user responses are needed to gain a broader perspective on the needs of the market. From industry specialists such as pellet producers, traders, technology manufacturers to end-users will enable both the sector and the certification schemes to grow, adapt and succeed in reaching higher levels of quality and performance within the marketplace.
Second public consultation
As a world-leading pellet quality certification scheme, ENplus, currently undergoing a major overhaul of its requirements and procedures, has now opened for a second public consultation to meet the demands of the sector through its newly drafted standards. This consultation will allow the scheme to offer a unique opportunity for every market actor to voice their opinion on the way in which its standards operate.
Having started its third revision process at the end of 2018, with the final revised standards to be published in the Spring of 2020, the scheme has already processed over one thousand comments through its multi-stakeholder group, encompassing an array of sector expertise forming both an Advisory and Editorial Committee to provide significant input that surrounds the scheme’s procedures and protocols.
However, despite its increase, such a rapid expansion does not come without its challenges particularly in terms of coordination between involved parties, procedures, requirements, management as well as governance.
We want to have a scheme which is efficient, relevant and implementable. Offering a public consultation enables us to not only adapt to sector technical developments and new business practices but also improves the efficiency of our procedures and aides us in maintaining our high standard of professionalism in serving the industry’s needs, said Gilles Gauthier, Certification Director at European Pellet Council (EPC), a network of Bioenergy Europe and in charge of the ENplus certification scheme.
As both the sector and the scheme grow at a rapid rate, meeting the needs of the market has resulted in the world-leading certification scheme to take a different stance in how it approaches its procedures in ensuring high quality for wood pellets simultaneously maintaining its high professionalism.
According to EPC, the revision process has allowed the scheme to do just that, with the current process being developed into two stages, firstly collecting comments and setting up the committees working on the process, and secondly with the revision itself. This first phase was completed with the first public consultation which was successfully completed in December 2018.
Creating two key bodies to aid in the consulting of this revision in the form of both an Advisory and Editorial Committee, this multi-stakeholder approach has EPC says, ensured that “all elements of the scheme’s standards are taken into consideration.” The final step of the public consultation will allow for further feedback in order for the scheme to enhance and indeed execute its operations.
Divided into two subsections, the Editorial Committee, which involves that of ENplus management, has been responsible for drafting new documentation based on comments initially received, whilst the Advisory Committee provides feedback and suggestive ways of improving the standards and procedures of the scheme. The Advisory Committee involves fifteen pellet market stakeholders, experts in the field who have scrutinized several adaptations of the basic principles in addition to the revision of the ENplus documentation.
Each provision of the documentation has been assessed in terms of its relevancy and both bodies have taken steps to simplify the standards to ensure future protocol can be followed with ease and efficiency from producer to end-user.
A “critical change” in several areas
Several key areas have been identified that will see a “critical change” during the revision process, including pellet parameters, self-monitoring, transport vehicle requirements, the role of the conformity assessment bodies, inspection schedule, through to the structure of the documentation and scope.
According to EPC, all of these areas will see a significant change and adaptation to ensure the highest quality is governed throughout the entire pellet supply chain.
A series of documents have been created as a result of these discussions, comprising of three clear sets of standards namely, ENplus Wood Pellets – Requirements, Requirements for conformity assessment bodies operating the ENplus certification and Usage of the ENplus trademark – Requirements
The focus on these three key areas will not only reflect the needs of those within the sector particularly focusing on the requirements for certified companies and conformity assessment bodies but it will also provide concise instruction on implementing the high standards of the scheme for all sector producers, traders and service providers.
As the revision now gets into its final and most crucial stage, the scheme now looks to the public for its final feedback to enable the scheme to continue to reach and maintain its high quality, supporting sustainable development within the pellet market. The Public Consultation will be available online from October 7, 2019, and will close at midnight on November 30, 2019.
The ENplus revised standards are then due for publication in Spring 2020.