After several years of extensive consultations, the revision of ENplus® has been finalised. A new documentation structure outlines the key changes in the requirements and procedures on every level of the certification process, while a new governance integrity programme clarifies the rights and the responsibilities of the ENplus® governing bodies and establish internal and external control between them.
This article will give you an overview of the most important changes and how they affect the ENplus® stakeholders. Please note that you can find the complete information within the revised documentation, which is already available under the Resources tab on our website.
New documentation structure
From now on, the ENplus® Standards are the documents defining the requirements for all key stakeholders in the certification, the ENplus® Procedural Documents are those specifying European Pellet Council (EPC) and ENplus® procedures in the scheme’s development and governance, while the Guidance Documents provide thorough information/interpretations on specific topics like storage and bag design translations.
Respectively, the ENplus® Standards are three separate documents:
Key changes concerning the certified companies and the requirements for wood pellets
Several definitions have been changed with the revision. For instance, big bags are now considered to be bulk pellets (regardless if sealed or unsealed) and the requirements for bulk pellets will therefore apply. Part load and Full load definitions have been changed to small and large-scale delivery with the weight of the delivery being the only criterion.
All ENplus® certified products of different classes and diameters shall be physically separated during the production and trading process. This requirement alongside those for delivery documentation on sold pellets and a mass balance account provide basis for chain of custody requirements. All this comes to ensure that the company is not selling more ENplus® certified products than it has produced or bought.
To guarantee traceability and especially an easy identification of the causes of non-conforming product within the pellet market, certified companies will have to keep record of partners responsible for the pellet bagging and of suppliers of the sold bulk pellets. Moreover, the bag design of certified pellets shall include also a serial number that allows identification of the company that bagged the pellets, the site and the date of the bagging.
A company with a network of sites can now be covered by a single certificate. The multisite company could be a single company with multiple production or trading sites, delivery trucks, storage sites and/or sales offices that are a part of a single legal entity or are separate legal entities but with the managerial control by the legal entity of the producer/ trader – a central office. Except for producers and companies located in Germany, cross-country multisite company certification is also allowed.
In line with the revised ISO 17225-2 Standard, pellets will now be analysed also for three new parameters – particle density, coarse fines, and share of pellets below 10mm. New and more detailed requirements in regard to the self-monitoring during the production process as well as during loading and (before/after bagging) have also been introduced.
For the first time since the launch of the scheme 10 years ago, the fee the certified companies pay to use the ENplus® trademark has been updated to 0,18 EUR per tonne of produced or procured pellets (0,15 EUR for members of Bioenergy Europe). In addition, annual administration fee of 250 euro was also introduced for all certified producers, traders and service providers.
Companies will also have to re-sign their contracts with the ENplus® management and will be invited to use a new digital tool called the ENplus® Certification platform in the beginning of 2023. This platform will ensure easier way of communication and exchange of documents among the scheme stakeholders.
All companies, which have been certified prior to the date of entry into force (01.01.2023), shall comply with the requirements of document ENplus® ST 1001 by the transition date of 01.01.2024 and the conformity with the requirements will be assessed by the ENplus® certification body as a part of the next regular inspection after the transition date.
Detailed information about the requirements concerning applying and certified companies as well as the requirements for wood pellets can be found in the document ENplus® ST 1001.
Check out our brochure with overview of the key changes here.
Key changes concerning the conformity assessment bodies providing ENplus® certification
A very important change is that the Certification Body will have complete responsibility for the certification process. It can carry out the activities within the process by using its internal resources or by reaching out to external entities (via subcontracting). Taking into account this shift, the applying companies will no longer be required to contract separately inspection and testing bodies on top of the certification body.
In regard to the inspections, the certification body shall conduct the initial, annual surveillance and re-certification inspections onsite. Remote inspections are now allowed but only in specific cases. One additional unannounced annual collection of samples and testing of pellets has been introduced for certified producers, as well as traders and service providers with bagging activities.
The new document ENplus® ST 1002 defines two types of non-conformities - major and minor (and observations). The Certification Body identifies and classifies the non-conformity, while the company has the responsibility to clarify the cause and propose a corrective action. The latter should be approved by the Certification Body, which also defines the time of correction and means of verification.
The revision introduces another level of credibility and accountability through accreditation. The certification scheme itself will become accredited by the European co-operation for Accreditation. All Conformity Assessment Bodies operating the scheme must also have a specific ENplus® accreditation, which is defined and explained in the new documentation. In addition, a Certification Integrity Programme will keep track and assess the performance of the Conformity Assessment Bodies.
The auditors performing inspections also are obliged to meet a set of requirements such as experience in the forest-based sector, relevant knowledge and skills, as well as successful completion of ENplus® recognised training and workshops.
Full information about the requirements concerning conformity assessment bodies providing ENplus® certification can be found in the document ENplus® ST 1002.
The ENplus® trademarks
The requirements for the use of the ENplus® Trademarks by all entities, certified as well as uncertified, have been revised. Check out the table below for complete information.
NOTE 1: Other users are allowed to use the ENplus® wordmark with quality class, ENplus® quality seal, ENplus® certification seal and ENplus® service sign for off-product purposes to educate about their meaning. Such usage does not include the ENplus® ID.
NOTE 2: Traders of bagged pellets without ENplus® certification can only use the individual ENplus® bag design as a picture of the bagged pellets with the ENplus® bag design.
Feel free also to access the document ENplus® ST 1003 for all requirements concerning the use of the ENplus® trademark.
Visit the Technical Documentation Page to find all new documents.