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ClientEarth welcomes the Commission’s draft Implementing Regulation on establishing operational guidance on the evidence for demonstrating compliance with the sustainability criteria for forest biomass laid down in Article 29 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001 (‘Renewable Energy Directive’ or ‘REDII’). However, we must point out some severe shortcomings, which should be seriously considered, at a minimum, in drafting the final version of this Implementing Regulation.
In particular, we highlight that the Commission should:
Rectify the scope of applicability of the criteria for forest biomass set out in Article 29 (6) and (7) of REDII;
Clarify that neither mere compliance with legal provisions, nor mere legality criteria, allow for forest biomass to be considered as ‘sustainable’;
Establish uniform criteria for pivotal notions under the Implementing Regulation (such as ‘significant lack of enforcement’ etc.) to ensure uniform implementation and enforcement across the EU;
Recognise the relevance of the information provided by non-governmental organisations as evidence in the context of demonstrating compliance with the sustainability criteria;
Clarify the responsibilities of economic operators, Competent Authorities, and certification schemes with regard to the obligation to gather information, as well as the requirements that any potential database must meet to guarantee that the information contained therein ensures compliance with Article 29 of REDII.