Public Consultation

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Current Call for Public Comments 

There are currently no calls for public comments. Please send any questions regarding calls for public comments to RSB’s Standard Development Director, Elena Schmidt at (elena.schmidt@rsb.org).

On this page you can also review past consultations conducted by the RSB below.


Past Consultations

RSB Standard for End-of-Life Products, By-Products and Residues

RSB invites the public to contribute to the revision of the RSB Standard for end-of-life products, by-products and residues which defines how operators may use these feedstocks for biofuel or biomaterial production.

This RSB Standard covers specific terminology relevant for this context, defines applicable sustainability criteria and sets out requirements for traceability.

Download the draft standard here.

The review process is fully in line with the ISEAL requirements on standard-setting and includes consultation with the public and RSB members, followed by the approval from the RSB Assembly of Delegates. Please find more information on the process and timelines here.

The public consultation period will be open for 60 calendar days and will end on 30th of June 2016.

Please send all comments to RSB’s Standard Development Director, Elena Schmidt at (elena.schmidt@rsb.org).

Thank you in advance for your contributions to this and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Principles & Criteria

Key dates for 2015 and 2016
Public consultation: Was held from January 28 – March 28, 2015
Approval by Assembly of Delegates: Not yet approved

Background
Results of the public consultation will feed into the discussions among RSB members over the forthcoming Version 3.0 of the P&Cs, which is expected to be approved by the RSB Assembly of Delegates in 2016, following the ISEAL Standard-setting Code (www.isealalliance.org).

Terms of Reference for P&Cs revision

The RSB Principles & Criteria represent the core of the RSB certification system. They describe the environmental and social requirements to be met by certified operators to ensure a sustainable production of biomass and biomaterials.

- RSB Principles & Criteria
- Guidance on P&Cs
- Use of Terms
- Glossary

Smallholder Group Certification Standard

Synopsis of Consultation: Comments Received

Key dates for 2014
Public consultation: May 15 – July 16
Approval by Assembly of Delegates: September

Background
RSB recognizes the complex realities of smallholder production systems and is committed to making the RSB certification requirements more accessible to small producers. In turn, RSB hopes to facilitate small producers’ entry into the mainstream sustainable biomaterials market and improve their livelihood, as well as their communities.

The RSB is developing an adaption of the RSB Standard and certification process for smallholder groups. The adapted standard aims to provide small producers with additional flexibility in the compliance process through a stepwise approach and the waiving of certain requirements. The gathering of smallholders as legal groups, with an appointed representative is an important element of this adapted process. In addition, we are developing specific guidance documents to help smallholder groups throughout the entire process, including the collection of data used for the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Draft documents were developed by EPFL in partnership with AidEnvironment and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and reviewed by the RSB Secretariat. Before approval by RSB Members and Assembly of Delegates, a public consultation period is being conducted to collect additional feedback and suggestions. Any interested party is invited to submit comments and suggestions through one of the means described below.

For more information about the RSB Smallholder Program, please visit this page on our website.

List of Documents

For your convenience, the main deviations from RSB Standard v.2.0. are listed below the document title.

Adapted Standard and Certification process for Smallholder Groups

1. Defining Smallholders (Draft) – This document suggests how to define smallholders in a variety of context, taking multiple parameters into account (size, production, staff type, etc.).

2. RSB Group Certification Standard (Draft) – This document describes the needed adaptation of the certification process which will apply to groups of smallholders. It describes the legal organization required for application, with a legal representative being appointed, the need for internal inspection, continuous improvement, tracking of certified products (chain-of-custody) and claims.

• “Continuous improvement structure” (or “stepwise” approach): Allows the group to become fully compliant with the RSB standard within 2 years after the initial audit – certain requirements are met at the initial audit, or after 1, 2 or 3 years (groups are allowed to pursue compliance faster than the proposed timepath, but not slower).

• Group certification manager or management unit: Raises awareness among the group members, helps the smallholders understand the requirements, manages the certification process, and puts the necessary systems in place for all individual farms.

3. RSB Guidance on Group Certification (Draft) – This document gives further details and explanations about the requirements in the GC Standard.

• Internal inspections: The group manager monitors the smallholder group’s compliance with the standard.

• Sampling of individual group: External certification body checks whether the required procedures are established adequately, implemented and documented by group management.

4. RSB P&Cs for Smallholder Groups (Draft) – This document describes the different adaptations and deviations in the generic Principles & Criteria, as well as the compliance schedule which uses a stepwise approach. Smallholders are expected to come to full compliance after 2 years, the preceding steps involving 1) raising awareness within the group by the legal manager and 2) demonstrating compliance with requirements at the group management level.

• Differences in compliance requirements for feedstock (raw material) producers and feedstock processors (who process the raw material into biofuels and biomaterials)

• In order to further facilitate the compliance process, certain requirements are waived whenever the likelihood of significant impacts by smallholder groups would appear low or because the capacity of smallholders to implement certain social programs is limited.

• Compliance is not required for P5 (feedstock producers and processors) and P6 (feedstock processors)

GHG Protocol
The three following documents will be used to collect the necessary data to run the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions, based on the RSB Methodology. Note that the methodology itself is not being modified.

1. GHG Tool Manual for Smallholders (Draft)

2. GHG Questionnaire for Farmers

3. Group Certification Excel tool (Draft)

RSB Theory of Change and Impact Indicators (February 2014)

Synopsis of Consultation: Comments Received / Narrative

RSB Standard Version 2.0

In November 2009, the RSB Steering Board approved Version One of the RSB Principles & Criteria (P&Cs) and the Certification System for pilot testing after public regional outreaches and extensive consultation of the RSB Chambers. While the P&Cs describe the sustainability requirements that biofuel operators have to comply with the Certification System defines the rules to enable operators to make verifiable claims of compliance with the RSB. This system covers the entire biofuel supply chain and establishes mechanisms for chain of custody management, for claims and communications, and for a few other issues. The RSB Standard system includes additional documents, such as indicators, guidance and guidelines that provide operators and auditors direction during implementation of the standards.Since the beginning of 2010, the RSB Standard is being field tested through several pilot projects in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. As decided by the Steering Board in November 2009, the feedback coming from these projects was used to revise and improve the RSB Standard (Version 1.1).Version 1.1 focuses on removing duplications of requirements and resolving contradictions between requirements. Where pilot projects revealed opportunities for clarification, the Secretariat developed appropriate rewording. It also includes new wording for Principle 3, which reflects the consensus achieved by the Steering Board on Greenhouse gas calculation and threshold.A one-month public consultation on Version 1.1 was conducted between the 8th of September and the 8th of October 2010. Participants were invited to submit their remarks and suggestions on the Principles & Criteria and associated Guidance by email and on the Bioenergy Wiki www.bioenergywiki.net. As established in the rules of the consultation, all comments are publicly available.

Almost 200 comments and suggestions were received from more than 35 organisations!

Below are the summary of changes from Version One to Version 2, including synopsis of the public consultation on Version 1.1,  the background documents for the consultation and the compilation of comments received.

Background Documents

* If you encounter problems to upload DOC files, please try again with a different web browser or contact the Secretariat!

Compilation of Comments Received on Version 1.1

You may download the entire set of comments or consult them separately for each principle below:

Consultation Process

The public consultation on RSB Version 1.1 is now closed! Results and summary of comments are available above.

  • Please note that some comments and suggestions may have not be taken into consideration for the following reasons:
    • they are not applicable in the current scope of the RSB System (e.g. suggestions related to the use of solid bioenergy);
    • they do not relate to the proposed edits in Version 1.1; or
    • they contradict fundamental decisions of the RSB Steering Board.
  • The RSB Secretariat published a compilation of the comments received with the affiliation of the contributors.
  • Based on the comments and suggestions received through the public and the Chamber consultation, the RSB Secretariat drafted “Version 1.2″ for consultation of the Steering Board (October). The rationale for proposed rewording was included in this draft.
  • The RSB Steering Board considered Version 1.2 and gave further direction as to the development of Version 1.3.
  • The RSB Chambers held telephone conference calls in October 2010 to consider Version 1.3 and to provide further input.
  • The input from Chambers was integrated in Version 1.4 and presented to the Steering Board in preparation of its in-person meeting of November 3-5, 2010.
  • The Steering Board considered this new Version and approved the revised RSB Standard as an operational Version 2.

The RSB seeks to be an operational certification standard and begin to issue its first compliance certificates in early 2011. The adoption of Version 2 of the RSB Standard is not the end of the standard development process, but rather the beginning of an evolving standard reflecting current technical, environmental and social realities. The biofuel sector is rapidly changing and the RSB will continue to be open and flexible to integrating new information and technology developments into the Standard to stay relevant into the next decade and beyond. Consequently, regular reviews and new rounds of public consultation on Version 2 will be organised in the future, following ISEAL Code of Conduct.