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Wood pellets from Kährs Group gain Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) certification

Sweden-headed wood flooring major Kährs Group has revealed that the certification process of its wood pellet production according to the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP), was recently completed. This means that a rigorous process for checking the origin of the wood raw materials has been implemented and examined. Kährs can now provide the third party assurance that its pellets are produced in accordance with the SBP standard for minimizing risks of illegal logging and unsustainable origin.

At its wood flooring production facility in Nybro, Sweden, Kährs Group has built a 60 000 tonne-per-annum wood pellet plant replacing its previous wood powder production from the residues (photo courtesy Daniel Nestor, Roxx).

Kährs Group, a well-known manufacturer of premium wood flooring, started production of wood pellets in early 2019. For decades, Kährs had supplied carbon-neutral biomass fuel in the form of wood powder, a by-product of flooring manufacturing, to the market.

In 2018, the company decided to invest in a more refined and standardized energy product – wood pellets – and build its own state-of-the-art facility, integrated with the wooden floor factory in Nybro, Sweden.

The SBP certification is based on established certifications for sustainable forestry such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Kährs was already certified according to both FSC and PEFC but needed to carry out further risk mitigation activities, involving 450+ suppliers in more than 25 countries, in order to comply with SBP’s framework as well.

The certification covers the production of wood pellets at AB Gustaf Kähr’s wood pellet plant in Nybro, including transport to the port of Kalmar. Kähr’s management system was evaluated to ensure compliance with the requirements specified in the SBP standard such as; review of production processes; site visits to production facilities; review of PEFC systems and of the total wood supplier base, to ensure compliance with the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) standard for risk minimization.

Kährs entered a whole new business area when starting its pellet production and since the company has high ambitions in terms of sustainability, SBP certification was important to us and ambition right from the start. I would like to thank the team that has been involved, especially the staff at our production facilities in Sweden and Romania, who have worked incredibly hard and committed over the past 12 months to make this possible, said Bruce Uhler, Sustainability Manager, Kährs Group.

At the end of 2019, the final audit was conducted by the certification organization NEPCon.

Kährs produces pellets as a by-product of its wood flooring production, mainly in Sweden but also in Romania. In addition, purchases of wood raw materials are made directly or indirectly from 26 countries worldwide. It turned out to be one of the more complicated pellet producers to SBP certification. We are impressed by their efforts and commitment to living up to the SBP certification requirements. It is also exciting to see a whole new type of player in the biomass market – Kährs has started a modern pellet plant from the ground up to produce pellets solely from by-products. They have put in a lot of work at all stages related to the pellet plant, from developing processes to comprehensive risk mitigation measures in the supply chain, said Rebecka McCarthy Tune, Responsible Sourcing Specialist – EUTR, and Lead Auditor at NEPCon in Sweden.

Kährs focuses its environmental and sustainability work on six selected UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), 3) health and well-being 7) sustainable energy for all 11) sustainable cities and societies 12) sustainable consumption and production 13) fighting climate change and 15) ecosystems and biodiversity.

A number of initiatives are being undertaken within this framework, where the project, including the pellet factory and its transport, is part of the initiative to help achieve objective 7) to provide access to sustainable, reliable and renewable energy and clean fuels.

We work in many areas of the Group to make our floor production as sustainable as possible. Our goal is to constantly develop and optimize our operations while minimizing our environmental impact and with the pellet plant we have taken an important step. The fact that Kähr’s pellet products now exist as a certified, sustainable fuel alternative in the bioenergy market makes me very proud, ended Johan Magnusson, President, and CEO of Kährs Group.

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