Re: Our Dirty Legacy #charcoal


Hi Frank,

To retain the original points I made in our conversation, I reverted to the original topic and copied your most recent response below. 

Thank-you for pointing out the EBC criteria. I found relevant aspects in paragraph 2.4: 

"If the climate neutrality of a forest is not ensured by the official LULUCF reports of the EU member states or by regional legislation, proof can also be provided by Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Otherwise, the forest wood is not accepted as biomass input for the production of EBC certified biochar. Accordingly, no EBC C-sink potential of biochar produced from that biomass can be certified."

I heartily endorse this certification and your view on holistic management.

Yet, the reality is, according to the report in Nature that many charcoal suppliers are sourcing feedstock from tropical and sub-tropical forests which makes their sustainability much more suspect and the majority of those in Belgium, Spain, Poland, and Italy do not have a sustainability certification.

While that does not implicate the entire charcoal industry, it is bad PR and biochar producers are probably lumped together in the public mind with this dirty business. Hence, lending even more importance (than simply fitness-for-use) to differentiating biochar from charcoal and having the certification to back up claims of holistic environmental stewardship.


 Frank Strie
Sep 22   

It is important to read the material developed by EBC as it puts very clear emphasis on  the chain of custody aspects. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification process and things like Organic Certification etc. may not be perfect in every place and country, as they obviously involve people and industry players of all walks of life and culture, the fact is they are processes that involve communication processes and regular refinement processes  in the social, environmental and commercial aspects. As we deal with local customers of our Biochar products, people can and do come to our property to see how our Biochar works and how we use it. The Equipment we use and the feedstock we use can be traced. Now that we export the equipment around the country we get feedback from these growing number of clients at various scales.
When it comes to wood used in Biochar and Charcoal and Bioenergy production we strongly support and practice the management principles  developed and practiced over 7 decades by ProSilva in by now at least 26 countries so far.
As a ProSilva style Forester myself and long-time Member of the ANW Germany / ProSilva organisation, as a former founding director of FSC Australia,  and ongoing IBI member, I (like to) collaborate with likeminded individuals and groups and companies around the world, rather than to point to shortcomings and mistakes of others, we try to and demonstrate what can be done by systematic and holistic planning and action. The EcoModelRegion Kaindorf in Austria is working on just that agenda how to bring all the stakeholders together and think and practice optimisation for all, from the little children and families, producers, consumers, manufacturers and traders.
You may like to check out this example from the IBI excursion in June 2018:

In summary,  considering the many pressing issues and emergencies in 2020 and the growing awareness  to develop solutions to climate, soil, carbon actions that stand the test of time, incl. waste upcycling, we (as a network) should focus on whole quality in our actions and discussions.
We need to show our ‘glocal’ communities  and future generations the way forward .
Here a nice way to approach things at every scale:


Holistic Decision Making and Policy Development Explained simply in less than 10 minutes!
568 views   •Feb 18, 2020

Be the change you want to see in the world.
Holistic Management: connecting everything because everything is connected.

Until next time

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