Achievements and challenges in 18 years of GGL

GGL as a guarantee Label

GGL wants to ensure that just residues are converted into biomass for energy use, with residues is meant both the result of forest management operations and also, agricultural residues (e.g. plant parts that do not have market value). This is done, by setting a number of strict requirements over sustainable management of forests and biomass sourcing, such as:That sourcing of biomass is done in a way that avoids resource depletion – only biomass coming from certified or verified sustainably managed Forest Units is accepted as GGL source; and just “ residues” that cannot be used for other purposes can be turned into energy.

That illegal logging is avoided by requiring legal ownership of the forest by the forest manager as well as its compliance with all applicable National and International laws.

That the proper functioning of the forest is guaranteed in the long term, as forest management practices have to ensure biodiversity conservation and enrichment, water regulation, carbon sequestration, proper soil management; as well as, provisioning of alternative forest products (e.g., mushrooms, seeds, resins and herbs).

That along the supply chain the accounts for renewable biomass produced must match the amount processed both in volume and in sustainability requirements, guarantying that just the correct amount of certified biomass is recorded and traded. This is called the Mass Balance approach.

That the GHG emissions for production, processing and transport are calculated correctly with the Bio-Grace Tool II. Data are transferred from one link of the chain to the next one via Transaction Statements which are previously verified by an accredited Certification Body. 

Furthermore, the rights of the workers and their health and safety are also central to the GGL standard. There are requirements in place about risk minimization in the working environment, such as: obligation to clean the air from dust and/or hazardous fumes; and obligation to provide training and to make sure that the workers make use of the personal protective equipment.  

When biomass does not meet GGL requirements this is called a Non Conformity (NC). These NC’s are recorded during the obligatory audits conducted by the Independent third parties (certification bodies or CBs). All the Non-Conformities found must be solved before the issuance of a GGL certificate.  We see the number of NCs opened & closed over the years as further proof that GGL actively contributes to the increasing sustainability of biomass.

Source: GGL CB’s

Finally, in 2019 GGL was approved by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and climate policy as fully compliant against the SDE+ subsidy scheme’s requirements. Meaning that GGL can be used to show compliance against all the SDE+ requirements and for all the biomass categories.

Furthermore, at the same moment you are reading this post, GGL is developing new requirements to allow the use of Palm Kernel Shells (PKS), which results from the processing of palm oil nuts, into the production of clean energy! Thus facilitating the access of an otherwise considered waste material to become a new resource!

The Green Gold Label Foundation is very excited about these achievements as the data reveal a growing trend in sustainable sourcing and production of biomass which is opening new ways for truly renewable energy use in the long-term. As the number of Producers, Suppliers and Traders of renewable energy increases, our GGL Standard helps make sure that Consumers and Regulators can rely on this energy to come from sustainable sources; and to trust our Green Gold Label.