Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We herewith inform you about updates and clarifications in the ISCC System. Please share this information with all relevant members of staff.

1. ISCC Update Regarding the Union Database

We would like to provide you with an update on the current implementation process of the UDB.

On 16 January, ISCC began the onboarding process of Economic Operators (EOs) into the Union Database (UDB). Since then, the majority of EOs and their certificates have been added to the UDB. Automated daily onboarding is not yet possible, but ISCC and the European Commission’s (EC) UDB team are in daily communication to establish this interface. ISCC will act as a Service Provider (SP), with a customized platform enabling our system users to meet UDB requirements in a user-friendly manner. We are pleased to report that a stable connection is already established with the UDB, however, since ISCC still receives errored data back from the UDB, the exchange cannot yet be described as operational. We continue to work closely with the EC UDB team and IT providers to establish a functioning system to system communication.

In parallel we are finalizing the Access Point Provider (AP-Provider) to the UDB that will allow system users to directly connect their IT systems to the UDB. We expect to open our Access Point (AP) for a system-to-system connection to the UDB acceptance environment within a month, after the AP-Provider receives the respective certificate. Opening of the production environment will depend on the timeline from the UDB team. Following the launch of the ISCC Service Provider Platform and once an operational system-to-system exchange with valid responses is established, ISCC will provide training materials and videos to facilitate a smooth onboarding process.

Further digitization efforts are underway with the development of the ISCC Hub, an online platform that will complement our current client section on the ISCC website. In the ISCC HUB system users will be able to register themselves and edit their registration data. CBs will be able to oversee registrations, upload certificates with audit packages and more. This application will minimize the need for email communication with ISCC about registration data and certificates.

This update was also communicated on the UDB page of the ISCC website.

2. ISCC Japan FIT – Additional Recognition for Sustainable Palm Oil and Registration and Documentation Available 

ISCC is pleased to announce that the Japanese Ministry of Trade and Industry (METI) has now also recognized ISCC Japan FIT certification for sustainable palm oil. This comes in addition to the recognition for ISCC Japan FIT for palm kernel shells (PKS) and palm trunks that was already granted in April 2022.

Both ISCC Japan FIT certification schemes are applicable under the Japan FIT scheme that obligates electricity producers in Japan to purchase power from renewable sources (e.g. biomass, wind, solar) at fixed prices for a specified period of time. They are globally applicable for economic operators producing, processing, and trading sustainable palm oil, PKS and palm trunks that are destined for the use of power generation in Japan. Click here for the system documents of ISCC Japan FIT certification of sustainable palm oil, palm kernel shells and palm trunks. The system documents are based on already existing ISCC standards and cover all relevant requirements set by METI.

It is possible for System Users to register under the ISCC Japan FIT scheme through the ISCC registration form.

The full ISCC Japan FIT documentation is also online, including:

  • The audit procedure for the Chain of Custody and the audit procedure for Principles and Criteria, which must be used together for all audits. Both procedures are available on the ISCC website.
  • The self-declaration for PKS and palm trunks, the self-declaration for Sustainable Palm Oil, and the non-conformity list for Sustainable Palm Oil are available in the client section of the ISCC website (login required).
  • The certificate template is available for certification bodies in the client section of the ISCC website (login required).

3. Clarification on esca 

The application of emission savings from soil carbon accumulation via improved agricultural management (esca) is possible under ISCC. The application and verification of esca values must be based on the requirements as laid down in the currently valid ISCC EU System Document 205 “Greenhouse Gas Emissions”. The following further information must also be considered:

Clear and verifiable evidence for all farmers accounting for esca is necessary and must be provided to the auditor. This implies that auditors not only must verify the correctness of the chosen IPCC factors with all relevant desks and on-site information but also that for instance the change to reduced tillage practices is documented and the following elements can be verified:

  • Farmers should overlay their single fields/polygons with IPCC climate zones and IPCC soil types of maps to obtain default soil organic carbon (SOC) values. For each field/polygon the farmer should choose the input level and tillage practice before and after the change. The auditors should have access to a digital format of the farmers’ audited fields and should try to reproduce the results for a sample farmer/field.
  • Explanatory approach for land category chosen, i.e., rationale on used IPCC soil type map, climate map, management factor.
  • A detailed description of the improved agriculture practice, with references (starting date, continuity of practice, application on complete cultivation area or only share of total area, yield in the start year, e.g., if increased input is included, the evidence must be provided).
  • Evidence documents: e.g. invoices of new machinery to apply reduced tillage, invoices of buying manure, increased use of fertilizer and herbicide application.

The above-mentioned information to be considered were already communicated in an ISCC System Update dated 10 March 2021. They will be included in the next update of the ISCC EU Document 205. We would like to clarify that the requirement that ISCC System Users receiving sustainable material with an esca value must confirm with ISCC whether esca values have been approved or not (also included in the System Update from 10 March 2021) is no longer applicable. This means that ISCC does not have to be contacted by System Users to confirm the correctness of respective escavalues. In case the sustainable material with esca values is received from a supplier certified under another voluntary scheme recognized by the European Commission, ISCC System Users are no longer required to confirm the esca value with the respective voluntary scheme of the supplier.

4. ISCC EU and PLUS Material List

The ISCC EU and PLUS Material Lists have been updated. Newly added as well as edited materials are marked in bold letters.

Please find the updated ISCC EU and PLUS Material Lists in the ISCC client section(login required).

5. Certificates Must Reflect Actual Material Flows and Business Activities

The annex of a certificate should reflect the state of operations as verified during the audit. This means that the annex may only include input and output materials for which the auditor was able to verify eligible appropriate inputs and outputs and, if applicable, internal processes. If an audit identifies that no amounts of a specific material were handled by the System User during the previous certification period, the relevant material must be removed from the annex.

In addition, certificate scopes must reflect the actual business activity of a System User. This means that a System User may not be certified as a Collecting Point, for example, if no materials are collected from points of origin with self-declarations. If a recertification audit identifies that in the previous certification period, a System User did not operate according to the definitions of the certified scope(s) as presented in ISCC System Document 203 “Traceability and Chain of Custody”, the relevant scope(s) must be removed from the certificate.