100% Sustainable Biomass in Denmark

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​Danish forest entrepreneurs have been working on a risk-based approach to biomass since 2016 with the help of an approval scheme developed in collaboration between trade associations, energy producers and a certification agency. In 2014, a voluntary industry agreement was signed between Dansk Energi and Dansk Fjernvarme (Danish District Heating) to ensure the sustainability of biomass (chips and pellets) used for energy production. The agreement will be implemented in the period 2016-2019. The objective is to move from 60% of highly sustainable biomass in 2017 to a 100% by 2019.

The purpose of the voluntary Danish industry agreement is to encourage industry members to conduct a certain behavior, namely to purchase only highly sustainable biomass, but also to allow the members the freedom to choose by which means they meet the sustainability requirements of the agreement. FSC and PEFC, famous international sustainability schemes, were both certifying limited-scale forest in Denmark, and most of the Danish forests remained uncovered. Therefore, sustainability must be ensured through scheme taking another approach such as the Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) certification or alternative documentation. Both methods are based on a risk-based approach to biomass, which means assessing the area where biomass should be harvested and then assessing whether the biomass can be produced sustainably on this area or not.

Danske Maskinstationer og Entreprenører (DM & E), the Danish branch organisation for forest contractors, quickly chose to use alternative documentation. One of the major advantages of the alternative documentation, compared to SBP, is that it can adapt to Danish situation (ownership, protection of forests, sustainable management…) and the way in which business is conducted in this country. In this context, DM & E has developed an approval scheme, “Approved Biomass Supplier”. It is a management and due diligence system that can easily be implemented by the small and medium-sized forest contractors. FSC, PEFC, SPB together with the Approved Biomass Supplier scheme will cover most type of situation and business ensuring Denmark to reach its 2019 sustainability target.

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