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Leading certifying organisation the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) is investigating reports of a surge of advanced biodiesel imports from China produced from waste oil at least partly supplied from Indonesia and Malaysia.

This sharp increase began late last year and peaked in January and February, with serious implications for the European biofuels market and indications pointing to a potentially dubious or fraudulent origins, the 20 April report said.

In response to the reports, the ISCC said it had intensified its work on mitigation measures, with ISCC’s integrity programme focusing on Asia since last year and additional integrity assessments conducted at points of origin.

ISCC managing director Andreas Feige had also travelled to the region to look at possible mitigation measures, and the number of integrity auditors in Asia had been increased, the organisation said.

In addition, ISCC requirements had been increased, including a designated self-declaration for palm oil mill effluent (POME), a mandatory 100% audit for respective points of origin and guidelines for plausible yields.

Since March – following reports of suspected fraudulent activity – the ISCC said it had immediately conducted unannounced integrity audits at the companies concerned.

The ISCC said it was also conducting a further 70 unannounced integrity audits at processing units in China and Singapore.

“This gives us the opportunity to review data remotely and select system users for on-site integrity audits based on the results,” the ISCC said.

The ISCC was also further strengthening its cooperation with regulatory and law enforcement authorities and this measure had received positive feedback.

Based on feedback from integrity audits conducted over the last six months, the ISCC said it had identified potential for further improvement such as the continued definition of clear yield thresholds for points of origin for specific waste and residue materials.

These measures had already been introduced for POME and the respective yield verification would become a mandatory audit requirement, the ISCC said.

“Implausible quantities of material provided by the point of origin - that cannot be verified by the auditor - will be considered as critical non-conformity and will result in withdrawal of the certificate. False declaration of materials on sustainability declarations will be regarded as a critical non-conformity subject to certificate withdrawal and further measures regarding points of origin will be implemented,” the report said.

The ISSC said it would be publishing a comprehensive system update implementing improvement areas for waste and residue supply chains, which would then be posted on its website.

The ISCC is an independent multi-stakeholder initiative and leading certification system supporting sustainable, fully traceable, deforestation-free and climate-friendly supply chains. ISCC certification covers sustainable agricultural biomass, biogenic wastes and residues, non-biological renewable materials and recycled carbon-based materials.