Foundation meets to discuss responsibly produced peat

The newly-formed European independent assessment and certification foundation for Responsibly Produced Peat (RPP) has met at IPM Essen in Germany to discuss "peat extraction with respect for nature and climate".

About 30 peat producers indicated that they want to use the RPP certification system, a three-year plan. This is only possible if they meet the criteria of RPP. This year the certification system will be tested on eight test sites in Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Ireland and the UK.

RPP, which was formed in August 2013, stands for:

- No peat extraction in pristine natural areas with high ecological value.

- Biodiversity plans for post-peat extraction.

- Prioritising peat extraction in already degraded peatlands.

- Cooperation between peat producers and environmental groups.

Annual European consumption of media is 30 million cubic metres, with peat 25 million cubic metres of that. European peat producers' associations have backed the scheme.

The RPP follows a project carried out by Wageningen University in Holland that concluded that peat is an indispensable raw material for horticulture that cannot easily be substituted by other materials but peat extraction should be optimised to avoid negative effects on biodiversity and climate by focusing peat harvesting on degraded areas and by securing appropriate measures after use including restoration.

Subsequently, Dutch trade organisations and the Dutch government initiated a certification system for "responsibly produced peat" used in horticulture.

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