Scoping Study for Biomass Partnership Fund

The Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) is an industry-led initiative formed in 2013 by major European utilities that use biomass, mostly in the form of wood pellets, in large thermal power plants. The partnership includes seven critical market players using woody biomass for large scale heat and power generation in the European Union:

A key objective of the partnership is: “To promote enhanced sustainable forest management and greater uptake of existing efficient and internationally recognised, third party verified forest certification schemes in key wood baskets”. SBP recognises the credibility of existing forest certification schemes (FSC/PEFC) and does not wish to compete with or replicate them.

A longer term aim of the SBP is to help projects that are working to support sustainable forest management and to increase the uptake of FSC and PEFC certification in key wood baskets. In addition, a condition of the SBP Standard is for organisations to engage in partnerships in areas from which biomass is obtained.

The SBP board commissioned LTS International to undertake a scoping study to “investigate options for a Sustainable Biomass Partnership Fund to support the uptake of certified forests in biomass supply baskets”. The key aims of the scoping study is as follows:

Identify the likely range of projects that could be funded based on comparative projects and projects currently being implemented or proposed in biomass supply baskets. Understand most effective approach to administer the fund to ensure its objectives are met. Explore opportunities for co-funding and co-operation with other funders.

This scoping study primary focus is the Southeast US supply chain basket. The Baltics, Iberia, and Canada are also considered. Services provided by LTS International Ltd. LTS has been contracted to undertake this desk-based scoping study to review options for consideration in the development of a SBP Fund.

The objective of an SBP fund would be to increase forest certification and promote Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in biomass supply baskets.

The study included telephone and skype interviews with a number of key informants and follow up on-line research. The study also draws on the experience of LTS in managing funds with similar objectives to the SBP over the last 10 years. LTS is providing key-technical advice to recommend options for the fund structure, objectives, governance and financing mechanism. The study also includes a review of current and recent projects which overlap with the SBP fund both in SE US and other areas; identifying opportunities for collaborative and co-funding opportunities..

Lessons Learned from Support to Civil Society Organisations

Through its Civil Society Support Scheme, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative has provided grants to over 40 civil society and research institutions to implement projects related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries. Projects range from primary research into technical aspects of REDD+, to policy advocacy and work on safeguards, to capacity building and REDD+ demonstrations. The principle purpose of the evaluation was to determine whether the NICFI investment of over 650 million Norwegian kroner in support to civil society was on target to help the Initiative reach its overall climate and development goals. The assignment involved the development of a Theory-Based Evaluation approach, Evaluation Framework, Survey Instruments and field work Indonesia, DRC, Cameroon, Peru and the USA.

The evaluation team found that projects were contributing to the development of an enabling environment for REDD+, were contributing to the development of national REDD+ strategies with a strong focus on social safeguards and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, projects were generating useful new knowledge and supporting local partners to become strong REDD+ actors in their own right. The team recommended ways in which reporting systems and knowledge management processes might be improved. The NICFI management team rapidly adopted the principle recommendations of the evaluation and have initiated discussions on how best to address these issues with a view to improving internal systems and better capturing new knowledge generated by the projects. Contact Philippa Lincoln for further details. 

Read the final report here: