Understanding our footprint – outcomes of RSB’s Monitoring & Evaluation in 2020

RSB is committed to the continuous improvement of its systems to ensure its ongoing applicability, credibility, and practicality for those committing to sustainability

2020 was a year like no other — for RSB and its operators, members, and partners around the world. In spite of this, commitment to sustainability remained strong, or even increased. While the year presented challenges to the market, with certified volumes dropping from 2019, RSB has seen a healthy growth in the number of sites, workers, and overall hectares covered by an RSB certificate, reflecting enduring sustainability commitments in the face of difficult market conditions for many operators. This is further reflected in continued support, and engagement with, RSB’s projects and advisory services, where RSB’s impact goes beyond individual operators.

RSB’s activities in certification, advisory services, and collaborative partnerships all have a long-term impact on the transformation to a sustainable bio-based and circular economy by:

  • ensuring sustainable feedstock production and processing practices;
  • changing the way organisations do business by supporting them with RSB expertise grounded in the RSB Standard;
  • influencing policy at local, regional, and global level; and
  • supporting decision-making informed by the sustainability embedded in the RSB Standard.
Image 1: RSB Projects in 2020
Image 1: RSB Projects in 2020

RSB is a mission-driven organisation and our work on projects and solutions that will create real positive change enables us to ensure that our impact is long-term and global. In 2020, RSB’s worked on six projects on four continents and incorporated activities on policy mechanisms, regional technical assessments, support for the production of sustainable feedstock, and more.

Since 2016, through its advisory services, RSB assisted 32 organisations — representing eight sectors in 23 countries. There were 13 Advisory Services projects active in 2020, covering 10 countries and six sectors: Shipping, Ground Transport, Energy, Aviation, Chemicals & Polymers and Retail. Through these 13 projects, our experts were able to provide hands-on sustainability expertise on the ground on five continents, with income from advisory services increasing by 26% from 2019.

Uptake in RSB certifications remains strong and retention levels for existing certificates is high. RSB registered growth across all sites in 2020: farms, industrial sites and offices, and the countries represented in the system.

Demand for RSB certification for materials continues to grow rapidly and our team engaged thoroughly with the chemicals and polymers sector in particular to support these companies in understanding the power of the RSB approach and its applicability for the sector, as well as prepare for certification. This resulted in 11 certification applications from the materials sector and five new certificates issued (including two scope extensions).

Indicators20192020Number of Certificates1824Countries2036Number of Industrial sites & Trade Offices52110Number of farms101171Workers protected48417052Certified cultivated area (hectares)16,84118,898
Table 1: Key Certification Data 2019-2020

In spite of a challenging year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 saw RSB continue to grow and evolve. By quickly moving to support operators impacted by the pandemic with guidance for evaluating case-by-case of remote audit requests, certification uptake registered strong growth.

RSB’s Standard and certification system continues to be recognised by global and national organisations — including governments, NGOs, and companies — as a best-in-class sustainability standard for the bio-based and circular economy. A range of solutions beyond certification ensure that RSB is creating real impact around the world by supporting the continuous improvement of social and environmental practices. These are underpinned by a strong portfolio of project and advisory services work.

With a clear footprint of services delivered on every continent, RSB is able to build best practice on the ground through certification, policy support, advice, sustainable supply chain development, market engagement and communications, partnerships, and much more.

RSB is committed to the continuous improvement of its systems to ensure its ongoing applicability, credibility, and practicality for those committing to sustainability


Source: ROUNDTABLE ON SUSTAINABLE BIOMATERIALS, press release, 2021-06-17.