Call for feedback: Draft low ILUC-risk certification guidance

The Low ILUC-risk pilot project is preparing a certification guidance module, in line with Delegated Act (EU) 2019/807 and Annex VIII of the forthcoming Implementing Regulation on voluntary schemes.

This draft certification guidance will be tested in a second round of pilot audits in summer 2022. Before these audits, we would like to invite you to provide feedback on the current draft document. The aim is to increase the quality of the guidance and improve its usability to ensure that the Low ILUC-risk certification guidance can work in practice. Participants are especially invited to provide views regarding the topics that will be developed in the second round of pilots, namely: non-financial barrier analysis; group certification approach; approach to determine additional biomass for sequential cropping; certification of soy/annual crops; abandoned and severely degraded lands.

The draft certification guidance can be downloaded here. We invite you to submit feedback using this form, sent to by 17 June 2022.

Crowdsourcing campaign to map commodity-driven deforestation in the tropics

In December 2020, 58 participants worked together to identify drivers of forest loss across 115.000 tropical locations. Over a span of two weeks, each location was visually assessed by at least three participants. The crowdsourcing competition campaign resulted in the creation of a more detailed map layer – outlining various drivers of forest loss. This data is used to determine the share of deforestation that is commodity-driven as part of the analysis of high-ILUC risk fuels (Lot 1). 

An overview of the methodology and data records can be found in the open access paper by Laso Bayas et al. (2022).

Low ILUC Pilots – Individual Phase 1 pilot reports published

Five pilot audits were conducted in the first half of 2021 to test the low ILUC-risk certification approach. The pilot reports share first insights on how low ILUC-risk biofuels can be certified in practice and reflect on the improvements that can be made to the approach. The reports describe the availability of data and experiences determining the additionality test, the dynamic yield baseline (if relevant) and the amount of additional biomass that could be claimed as low ILUC-risk biomass, if the pilot project was low ILUC-risk certified.

  • Pilot Colombia, yield increase of palm oil by improved irrigation on a large integrated plantation and mill
  • Pilot Malaysia, yield increase of palm oil by thinning and replanting of high yielding seedlings on different parts of a large plantation
  • Pilot France, yield increase through sequential cropping with cereals or oilseeds on an arable farm with biogas
  • Pilot Uruguay, yield increase through sequential cropping of Brassica carinata with soy bean as the main crop
  • Pilot Ukraine, cultivation on abandoned land for a 10ha plot that has been abandoned since the 1990s

Low ILUC Pilots – Phase 1 findings

This report presents the interim findings for the low ILUC pilot project, reflecting on the results of the pilots conducted in the first half of the project (Phase 1) and recommendations for the Phase 2 pilots. Five pilots were conducted in Phase 1 to test the approach to certify low ILUC-risk biofuels. The five pilots test the certification methodology on farms and plantations in three different geographical regions (Europe, South-East Asia and Latin America) for different types of crops (oil crops and starch crops) and different types of “additionality measure” which aim to produce additional biomass, namely via yield increase on an existing farm or via cultivation on abandoned land. The report can be found here.

Response to Call for Data: Standard yield curve for oil palm

In July 2021, we published a Call for data, aiming to gather data on representative oil palm yield curves to develop and validate the “standard oil palm yield curve” that can be used to determine a yield baseline in the low ILUC certification methodology included in the draft Implementing Act on “rules to verify sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria and low indirect land-use change-risk criteria”. It is the shape of the curve that is most important when developing the reference curve, as the magnitude of the yield baseline is determined by the historic yields on the plantation being certified.

We received a good response from stakeholders, covering a range of different geographies in key oil palm producing countries. From the documents submitted, 31 yield curves were derived and analysed, covering both large scale and small holder plantations.

The analysis showed the curves had a high correlation with the yield curve used in Phase 1 of the low ILUC pilot project. The paper provides a normalised standard yield curve that can be used in the certification of low ILUC-risk oil palm.

The report can be found here.