UPM Biofuels and WWF Finland together promote certification of wood-based biofuels

Maiju Helin
Maiju Helin
Manager, Sustainability UPM Biofuels
9 May 2016

UPM continues its active dialogue with WWF Finland. In sustainable wood-based biofuels, UPM and WWF Finland agree that wood-based biofuels can offer a sustainable option for the transport sector, as long as the production complies with robust sustainability criteria. Together we promote credible certification to ensure the sustainability of biofuels. Part of our co-operation with WWF Finland is to improve the certification of biofuels and jointly develop the current practices.

Currently, UPM BioVerno renewable diesel is certified according to the Finnish national sustainability standard as well as ISCC-EU (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) standard for biofuels. To develop common understanding on other available certification standards for biofuels, UPM and WWF Finland conducted a feasibility study of RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, www.rsb.org) on UPM’s biofuel production. RSB is one of the international sustainability certification schemes. After analyzing a thick bunch of papers about the standard and having several fruitful discussions with WWF Finland, the feasibility study is now ready and we are happy to share the results.

Strict requirements fulfilled

We assessed the feasibility of RSB certification scheme for our current crude tall oil (CTO) based renewable diesel production. It was concluded that RSB is a feasible certification system for UPM BioVerno which is based on the use of our own industry’s residue, CTO. It was great to confirm that our current ways of working are in line with the strict RSB requirements. Both UPM and WWF Finland are pleased with this result.

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UPM produces renewable diesel from crude tall oil, a residue of UPM´s own pulp production. RSB certification of the current production is feasible.

Sustainably managed wood-based biomass under discussion

We also took a look into the future and studied the possibilities of using RSB certification in the case that solid wood biomass would be used as biofuel feedstock.

UPM is actively involved in the development of future technologies utilizing solid wood in biofuel production as we consider that as an interesting future goal. Sustainable forest management, basis for all operations in Scandinavian boreal forests, ensures the sustainable balance between wood usage and well-functioning forest ecosystems. Sustainable forest management enables production of wood products and bioenergy without risking carbon sequestration. Forest volume expands continuously in Finland, annual cuts being significantly less than the growth.

UPM promotes all credible forest certification schemes such as FSC and PEFC. In UPM’s wood sourcing all wood comes from acceptable sources through chain of custody mechanism that ensures transparency throughout the wood supply chain. However, the feasibility study indicated that RSB today accepts only FSC certified forest resources as a sustainable feedstock for biofuels production. Due to the relatively low availability of FSC forest residue availability for example in Finland, the possibility to use RSB certification in solid biomass based biofuel production is limited.

UPM and WWF Finland have initiated discussions with RSB to consider implementation of alternative measures to verify sustainability of forest residues and to consider the sustainable forest management practices in use in forestry.

Dialogue continues to carbon

UPM continues the dialogue with WWF Finland on wood-based biofuels focusing next on impacts of biofuel production on forest carbon stocks. We believe that understanding of both parties will develop during the dialogue while possible differing views are processed in the name of common goal – more sustainable future. Already now, we highly agree that only sustainably produced biomass is acceptable as biofuel raw material and certification must be used to verify its sustainability.

More UPM Biofuels stories can be found here »

Read more about the co-operation of UPM and WWF Finland in promoting sustainability of wood-based biofuels »

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