The Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) Process

Regional Risk Assessments (RRA) are a part of Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP)’s approach for identifying and mitigating risks associated with sustainably sourcing feedstock for biomass pellet and wood chip production. An RRA  evaluates an entire geographic region to determine the risks associated with sourcing biomass feedstock  from that region. The process that must be followed is set out in  SBP’s RRA Procedure Version 1.1The certification system is intended to provide assurance that woody biomass is made from legal and sustainable sources. 


The intent of the information presented here is to encourage information sharing to ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to review and provide comments on the RRA for the SBP in the Province of New Brunswick.  

Sustainable Biomass Program

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) is a non-profit international standards organization that has developed a certification system for woody biomass, which is mostly used in the form of wood pellets and woodchips, as fuel for industrial, large-scale energy production. The certification system is intended to provide assurance that woody biomass is made from legal and sustainable sources.  Biomass must be compliant with the SBP Standard to enter certain markets - many European utilities only take SBP biomass. Feedstock certified at the forest level through standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), which are standards set by organizations such as Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) are considered SBP-compliant.

Forest Trees

The Organizational Structure of the Project

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) initiated  Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) process for three (3) provinces in Canada: British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. A team of natural resource, certification and community engagement specialists from across Canada from the Working Body (WB). The WB facilitates  the risk assessments to ensure that relevant information of forestry laws, policies and practices are accurately captured in the RRA’s for each province verifying the legality and sustainability requirements. Information includes interviews with experts, applicable legislation, reports from Provincial authorities, various databases, statistical data sources as well as community input and engagement. The WB gathers, synthesizes  and analyzes  relevant information for each thirty-eight (38) indicators, which leads to internal draft assessments. The resulting drafts are  made available for review and comment. Once the stakeholder consultation reviews are concluded, the WB finalizes the report based on the comments received and submit the draft to Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) for its review. Once SBP is satisfied  that it complies with its requirements, SBP approves the RRA report and they are publicly available on the SBP website. The RRA is then used by biomass producers to manage their level of risks with legality and sustainability requirements.

Working Body (WB)

The Working Body (WB) consists of a team of independent natural resources and community engagement specialists from across Canada. The WB has been involved in the development of Regional Risk Assessments (RRA) for the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Québec and British Columbia

Working Body Coordinator

Hopkin Forest Management Consulting Ltd.

Brenda Hopkin



Consultation Approach

The Working Body (WB) utilizes experience gained from years of stakeholder engagement on various certification projects, advisory groups, certification audits, as well as evaluating the processes and outcomes from provincial-lead consultation. From the start, the WB reaches out to individuals and organizations to identify sources of information, highlight facts and experiences to write well-documented and logical  findings to determine the risk level associated with the standard's  indicators. The WB chose to a -2- phased approach to consultation.

Phase 1 Stakeholder Outreach

Prior to the required 30-day stakeholder consultation, as part of the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) RRA process, the WB reaches out to numerous individuals and groups though out the Province, some linked to the Biomass Industry as well as others. These groups included; 

  • Local Government Elected Officials 

  • Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA’s) 

  • Members of Parliament (MP’s) 

  • First Nation Organizations 

  • ENGOs 

  • Chamber of Commerce 

  • Biomass Producers 

  • Marketing Boards 


The goal of this outreach is to gauge the level of impact the biomass industry has on local communities and to supplement the required 30-day required stakeholder consultation.

Phase 2 30-Day Stakeholder Consultation

The SBP RRA process requires a 30-day stakeholder consultation of the draft New Brunswick RRA. Following this period, the RRA is finalized and submitted for approval by SBP.