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What are Regional Risk Assessments (RRA)?

Regional Risk Assessments (RRA) are a part of the Sustainable Biomass Program’s (SBP’s) approach for identifying and mitigating risks associated with sustainably sourcing fibre (feedstock) for biomass pellet and wood chip production.

An RRA  evaluates an entire geographic region to determine the risks associated with sourcing biomass fibre from that region. The process that must be followed is set out in  SBP’s RRA Procedure Version 1.1. The certification system is intended to provide assurance that woody biomass is made from legal and sustainable sources.

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada mandated a Working Body to conduct RRAs for the provinces of British Columbia, Quebec,  New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. 

What is the Process of a RRA?

The general process that must be followed is set out in  SBP’s RRA Procedure Version 1.1

For Canada:

1. The Wood Pellet Association of Canada initiates the RRA process.

2. A Working Body is formed that includes a team of natural resource, certification and community engagement specialists from across Canada. The Working Body facilitates the risk assessments to ensure that relevant information on forestry laws, policies and practices are accurately captured in the RRA’s for each province verifying the legality and sustainability requirements.

3. The Working Body gathers, synthesizes  and analyzes relevant information for each of the forty-four (44) indicators, which leads to internal draft assessments. The resulting drafts are made available for review and comment.

4. Once the Stakeholder consultation reviews are concluded, the Working Body finalizes the report based on the comments received and submits the draft to Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) for review by Stakeholders.

5. Once the SBP is satisfied the RRA complies with its requirements, the SBP approves the RRA report and makes it publicly available on the SBP website.

6. The RRA is then used by Biomass Producers to manage their level of risks with legality and sustainability requirements.

Who is the Working Body (WB)?

The WB consists of a team of independent natural resources and community engagement specialists from across Canada. The WB has been involved in the development of RRAs for the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and British Columbia.

• Brenda Hopkin, Project Lead & Certification Specialist
• Nicolas Blanchette, Chain of Custody and Forest Management Certification Specialist
• Wendy Booth, Community Engagement Specialist
• Glen Dunsworth, Forest Ecologist
• Marie-Ange Fournier-Beck, GIS Analyst
• Daniel Martin, Forestry Specialist based in New Brunswick
• Alexa Matthes, Environmental Scientist, Technical and Administration Support
• Jeremy Williams, Forest Economics and Carbon Specialist

Who Funds the Canadian Regional Risk Assessments?

The development of the BC, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia RRAs received financial support from the Canadian Forest
Service, Government of Canada, Export Market Opportunities program.

What is the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP)?

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) is a non-profit international standards organization that has developed a certification system for woody biomass, which is mostly used in the form of wood pellets and woodchips, as fuel for industrial, large-scale energy production. The certification system is intended to provide assurance that woody biomass is made from legal and sustainable sources.

Biomass must be compliant with the SBP Standard to enter certain markets—many European utilities only take SBP biomass. Feedstock certified at the forest level through Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification- (PEFC) endorsed systems such as Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA®) is considered SBP compliant.