Understanding our Footprint: RSB in 2018
RSB is committed to the continuous monitoring, evaluation and improvement of our standard and certification system. Since 2016 we have been compiling our assessments into an annual public report to help our stakeholders recognise our work and how it is contributing to sustainable development worldwide. This year’s report is the second such report produced using a much-improved data collection process that is helping to ensure the accuracy of our reporting.
RSB has seen strong growth in 2018 in the volume of certified fuel produced – from 212,790 metric tons of fuels in 2017 production has grown by almost 30% in one year to 273,224 metric tons. This is a reflection of the continued maturation of the alternative fuels market, particularly in the aviation sector. While certificate numbers have dropped slightly with a few pilot projects not renewing their certification, encouragingly commercial plants are producing ever greater volumes of fuel with RSB-certified greenhouse gas emissions reductions and social and environmental sustainability guaranteed.
The volume of fuel produced in 2018 contributed to a saving of 477,152 metric tons of CO2eq emissions – which is the equivalent of 1880 flights between London and Tokyo. This contributed to a total saving of 1,615,813 metric tons of CO2eq emissions since 2012 – this is equivalent to 175 large container ships travelling from Shanghai to Los Angeles. These figures show that fuels can be produced ethically and sustainably, and have a significant climate impact.
With 55.5% of operators using waste and residues in their supply chains, RSB-certified products are significantly reducing pressure on agricultural land. The 14.4% growth in the volume produced from waste and residue materials from 2017 to 2018 has led to a reduction of pressure on a total of over 200,000 hectares of agricultural land (if the same volume of fuel had been produced from a dedicated crop).
The growing importance of waste and residue materials in all supply chains has been reflected in the further development of the RSB Standard to include an approach for advanced products which for the first time will allow non-energy products from recycled carbon and non-biogenic waste to carry the world’s most credible sustainability certification – RSB.
The number of workers protected by RSB requirements on human and labour rights, as well as the land area subject to RSB sustainability principles, continues to grow.
We found that 20% of all non-conformities among operators were related to social aspects of the RSB Standard, while 53% were environmental. By requiring that all non-conformities are dealt with within defined timeframes, RSB is having a tangible impact on social and environmental performance.
Looking to our overall impact, for the first time this year we include a look at how our Standard is supporting sustainable operations beyond certification. Our advisory services are being used worldwide to embed best practice in projects, supply chains and legislation. This is particularly meaningful as we are able to support improved practices in many different sectors and regions which may assist operators in eventually achieving RSB certification.
Overall, 2018 has been a varied year for the RSB system with a slight decline in sites, farms and operators counterbalanced with significant growth in certified volumes. The outlook is broadly positive with a maturing market in the fuels sector and the search for solutions in meeting critical sustainability commitments, particularly in the plastics and packaging industries, likely to see growing demand for a credible certification. The business case for certification continues to be understood and sought after, and we expect to see growth over the next several years.
READ THE RSB 2018 M&E REPORT HERE.