In 2012, the EBC had only three certified pyrolysis facilities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland with a combined production volume of just under 500 t of biochar (at that time, pyrolyzers were often idle for longer than they were producing). By 2021, we certified over 50 production facilities in 9 countries with an annual production of over 40,000 t of biochar. We are currently seeing exponential growth in the biochar industry. The sector is rapidly professionalizing, in Europe an industry association in the form of the EBI has been established, and the legal framework for biochar production and use is becoming clearer from year to year. The fact that the EBC has been a decisive factor for this achievement makes us proud. It is a continuous motivation to improve the certificate further, meet the changing requirements of the industry and the authorities, and push the development of natural climate technologies.
With the introduction of the C-sink certificate in 2020, biochar science showed itself to be at the forefront of the C-sink economy proclaimed by all political and scientific decision-makers as necessary and urgent in the fight to mitigate climate change. By 2100, at least 800 billion tons of CO2eq must be removed from the atmosphere and stored in the terrestrial system. If not, many lifeforms on earth will face massive extinction. Given this tremendous mandate to current and future generations, we see it as our duty to set a high standard with carefully and accurately calculated and controlled climate accounting that are at the same time practicable and user-friendly to help scale the rapidly developing industry.
For the first ten years of the EBC, the development of the standard and certification system was funded exclusively by the not-for-profit research foundation, the Ithaka Institute. We considered this activity in line with our foundation's mission. The EBC aimed to provide a young industry with a framework for legally compliant biochar production and use and, above all, to make one of the key technologies in the fight against climate change ecologically sustainable. After all, this is the only way to ensure in the long term that climate protection is not pursued at the expense of other environmentally essential criteria.
A survey by EBI has shown that an increase of installed pyrolysis plants of more than 60% is expected in 2021/2022 in Europe, which is confirmed by the enormously increasing demand for EBC certifications. Whether this rapid growth translates into exponential growth in the short or medium-term will depend on numerous underlying conditions. But one thing is certain, the EBC will not be able to be organized and funded by a research foundation like Ithaka anymore. To meet the expected growth, it needs a professional, adequately funded structure that can expand with the demands of the market.
To ensure certification standards for pyrolysis, biochar, bio-oils, agricultural carbon footprints, and C-sinks worldwide, we need to professionalize our customer services, hire staff, and develop a more powerful information technology and data protection system. This is no longer work and investment consistent with the charitable purpose of the Ithaka Foundation. Investments are needed on a scale that will take several years to reach break-even. The Ithaka Institute cannot afford this and, according to the laws of non-for-profit foundations, it is not authorized to do so in any case.
To ensure the EBC's continued development, we have decided to create a new, economic, and professional structure for the EBC. With the Swiss company EASY-CERT Group, we were able to find the perfect partner for this. The EASY-CERT Group owns several certification companies, including the top organic farming certifiers: Switzerland's bio.inspecta, Austrian Austria Bio Garantie, and German CERES. The EASY-CERT Group is a full-service provider of sustainable and social auditing and certification services, employing more than 600 people in over 40 countries worldwide. EASY-CERT will become the majority shareholder of the new Carbon Standard International with 85%, while Ithaka Institute and the European Biochar Industry Consortium are additional shareholders. Ithaka will also have a seat on the management board.
All operational business related to the EBC will be handled by Carbon Standards International beginning on 10/25/2021. The EBC website and its tools remain active on the same EBC-website (www.european-biochar.org) for recording production batches, sampling, and C-sinks.
The Ithaka Institute will take over the scientific leadership in Carbon Standards International. Ithaka will continue to be responsible for the technical development of the guidelines. As EBC members, you will have new contact persons in the day-to-day business, but Hans-Peter Schmidt and Nikolas Hagemann remain your correspondent partner for all scientific matters.
The European Biochar Industry Consortium (EBI), a founding member and shareholder of the new company, provides the important link from Carbon Standards International to the industry. As the most important industry association, the EBI supports the development of a sustainable biochar and pyrolysis industry in Europe and worldwide.
You can reach the team of Carbon Standards by phone and email under:
Tel. +41 (0) 62 552 10 90
For more information, our goals and programs, please visit the website:
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the many contributors who have supported Ithaka and the EBC over the last decade, making it what it is today, the largest and globally recognized standard for the production and application of biochar and C-sinks. Carbon Standard will do its utmost to continue this legacy and make it a success story.
Comments on the establishment of Carbon Standards
"The move to Carbon Standards International realizes our long-term hope of creating a sustainable organization for the EBC. This will finally pair scientific excellence with powerful customer service. In this way, we are poised to help shape the carbon-neutral future."
Hans-Peter Schmidt, Founder of Ithaka Institute
"The industry demands scientific standards that cover market requirements in every respect. Our members will benefit in every way from this move to Carbon Standards International. It is important for the EBI to be part of Carbon Standards."
Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, Co-Director of EBI
"Carbon Standards International combines the topics of biochar, C-sinks, and climate protection with many years of certification experience. This puts our clientele's climate services on a new, trustworthy footing and creates the basis for successful products."
Ueli Steiner, CEO of Carbon Standards International