As IBI’s Executive Director, I recently shared some IBI highlights from 2013 in a letter to our members. At the top of our list of achievements in 2013 I highlighted the development of the first-ever IBI Biochar Certification Program, built upon the biochar material requirements of the IBI Biochar Standards. Both programs provide critical formative steps towards product certainty necessary to develop a robust biochar industry. The programs enable everyone from researchers to producers to consumers to articulate and identify what biochar is, and as importantly, what it is not. The IBI Biochar Certification Program allows biochar producers to pass rigorous testing requirements to show that their biochar products meet exacting standards, and to then carry an IBI Certified Biochar™ seal, which verifies product safety and use as a soil amendment. The IBI Certified Biochar™ seal provides important product differentiation for producers and consumers.
Additionally, IBI can chalk up the following accomplishments during the 2012 – 2013 Fiscal Year (which ended June 30, 2013), due in no small part to the unwavering support and contributions of our members, stakeholders, Board of Directors, staff, and Advisory Committee members:
- IBI’s Board of Directors recruited new Board Members from a variety of backgrounds intended to help continue to broaden our focus while honing our successes and goals and achievements in critical areas.
- With our colleagues and partners The Climate Trust and The Prasino Group, we developed a Biochar Carbon Offset Methodologyfor voluntary carbon markets. The methodology embeds the IBI Biochar Standards to ensure safety, quality, and consistency of the biochar product used in projects that will utilize the methodology, which is currently undergoing an accreditation and approval process by the American Carbon Registry.
- We began researching and exploring the development of a Biochar System Sustainability Program targeted at sustainable biochar production and utilization systems at all scales. Our vision is that the Program will initially be a self-certification program aimed at benchmarking of individual systems against an anonymous, industry-wide aggregate, in a manner that will encourage and provide a roadmap for continuous improvement of individual projects and systems, over time.
- Our staff and Board of Directors have continued to engage in many other related efforts on behalf of the global biochar community, including participation and presentations at regional, national, and international biochar conferences, continuing to spread the word on biochar and IBI, and increasing our communications and outreach through materials development, our website and our monthly newsletter.
- Working with interns and our Advisory Committee members, IBI started an industry tracking initiative to better record the growth of both commercial biochar operations and projects around the globe.
- IBI continued to track and report progress in all aspects of the biochar field, including science and technology, policy, market, and project development, and media coverage of biochar through our newsletter and website.
We also have many exciting new plans and projects underway at IBI in the current fiscal year, including:
- Awarding our first IBI Biochar Certification to Cool Planet for their Cool Terra Biochar™;
- Developing our first major science and policy updates to the IBI Biochar Standards in parallel with the first major revision to the IBI Biochar Certification Program;
- Planning the release of the first State of the Biochar Industry Report, to document trends, developments, and outlooks in all aspects of the biochar industry; and
- Working with global industry partners to establish crop-specific responses to biochar to enhance the environmental footprints of commodity and food production.
For IBI to make a difference, we are counting on people like you to support our work. IBI is the world’s foremost authority and source of credible, balanced information on biochar, and has amassed a global information platform and network of members and supporters for the exchange of information on biochar. We urge you to join us or continue to support us as we collectively work towards a more sustainable future.