Business Members
Organization Members

Sign Up For Email Updates

Enter your email address:

Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Twitter
Follow IBI
Photo of Biochar
Biochar Certification
Help put the Earth back in the black


Standardized Product Definition and Product Testing Guidelines for Biochar That Is Used in Soil

IBI Biochar Standards

For a sustainable biochar industry to succeed, it must provide certainty to consumers and markets about biochar and its safe use as a soil amendment. The Standardized Product Definition and Product Testing Guidelines for Biochar That Is Used in Soil (hereinafter referred to as the IBI Biochar Standards) provides the tools needed to universally and consistently define what biochar is, and to confirm that a product intended for sale or use as biochar possesses the necessary characteristics for safe use. The IBI Biochar Standards also provide common reporting requirements for biochar that will aid researchers in their ongoing efforts to link specific functions of biochar to its beneficial soil and crop impacts.

The IBI Biochar Standards are the result of an ongoing multi-year development process that is global, transparent, and inclusive, and that involves the input and participation of hundreds of research scientists, entrepreneurs, farmers and other stakeholders in the drafting, review and approval of the document. The IBI Biochar Standards can be accessed in the Downloads section to the right, and may be freely distributed and used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons copyright license that is included in the document for reference.

October 2014 Update: IBI Members Approve Policy Revisions in Version 2.0 of the IBI Biochar Standards

We are pleased to announce the results of the recent four-week ballot period on proposed policy revisions of the IBI Biochar Standards. After the vote by IBI dues-paying members, all four revisions were approved by large majorities and will be adopted in Version 2.0 to be made available for download in the coming weeks.

The policy revisions address: 1) testing requirements for weathered biochar (approved by an 86% majority); 2) timing of testing for post-processed biochar (approved by a 93% majority); 3) provisions for high carbon biomass ash (approved by an 82% majority); and 4) biochar sampling procedures (approved by a 93% majority). These revisions are the result of a nearly year-long process that involved a public comment period, informational webinars, two rounds of input from a group of biochar experts, and a vote by IBI membership. Throughout the process IBI sought public feedback on an ongoing basis in order to maintain transparency and consider diverse stakeholder viewpoints. “We are grateful to our members and stakeholders and the experts who offered their time and expertise to continue to enhance the IBI Biochar Standards,” stated IBI Executive Director Debbie Reed. “The IBI Biochar Standards provide necessary certainty and credibility to the biochar field, and we thank everyone for their contributions and participation in helping to ensure the relevance of the standards to support the continued growth of the biochar industry.”

September 2014 Update: IBI Members Cast Votes on Proposed Policy Revisions to the IBI Biochar Standards

Beginning on Tuesday, September 2, IBI invited dues-paying members in good standing to cast their votes on proposed policy revisions to the Standardized Product Definition and Product Testing Guidelines for Biochar That Is Used in Soil (aka the IBI Biochar Standards). The proposed revisions address: 1) testing requirements for weathered biochar; 2) timing of testing for post-processed biochar; 3) provisions for high carbon biomass ash; and 4) biochar sampling procedures. For more information, click on details on the proposed revisions to V2.0; as well as a summary of comments received during the 30-day public comment period and two informational webinars with IBI responses. The balloting period was open for 30 days from September 2nd until October 1st.

March 2014 Update: Webinar Slides Available on Proposed Revisions to the IBI Biochar Standards

In March IBI hosted two webinars to discuss the four proposed policy revisions to the IBI Biochar Standards Version 2.0. These revisions were originally posted for a 30-day public comment period in December 2013. In the coming weeks, IBI will amend the proposed revisions based on feedback received and circulate a draft of the V2.0 for public review. As a reminder, the process that IBI is following for making policy revisions is outlined in Section 7.1 of the current Version 1.1 of the IBI Biochar Standards, available for download on our website here. The proposed revisions are available for review here.

Relation to the IBI Biochar Certification Program

On May 29, 2013, IBI officially launched the IBI Biochar Certification Program, developed to further grow the biochar industry. With this program biochar manufacturers are able to certify that their product meets quality standards and is safe for application to soils. Once certified, biochars can carry the IBI CertifiedTM biochar seal on their product label. The IBI Biochar Standards serve as the foundation for the IBI Biochar Certification Program and certification approval requires that biochar(s) pass testing requirements specified by the IBI Biochar Standards.

The IBI Biochar Certification Program is fully automated and accessible at: http://www.biochar-international.org/certification, allowing biochar manufacturers/program participants to register, apply, and submit all required documentation online. A directory of current IBI CertifiedTM biochars is available by clicking here.

For questions or further inquiries regarding the IBI Biochar Certification Program, please contact us at certification@biochar-international.org.

Process for Revisions of the IBI Biochar Standards

IBI will make periodic revisions to the IBI Biochar Standards based on further development in the fields of biochar science and technology, regulatory changes, and feedback from the public, particularly users of the IBI Biochar Standards. Revisions occur in two forms—policy revisions and technical program revisions—and are effective the date of publication on IBI’s website.

Policy revisions occur when there is a substantive change to the policies, rules, and/or scope of the IBI Biochar Standards that may change the eligibility or acceptability of a biochar material. Technical program revisions occur when technical or editorial changes are deemed necessary. For further details, please review section 7 “Revisions to the IBI Biochar Standards” in Version 1.1.

IBI welcomes your comments and suggestions for improvements to the IBI Biochar Standards. You may send those by email to standards@biochar-international.org.

A Brief History of the IBI Biochar Standards Development Process

IBI began work on the IBI Biochar Standards in May 2009. The document was developed through a collaborative and inclusive process with input from the international biochar community to ensure multiple perspectives on the use and functionality of this tool. The process design also provided for a final balloting period that would allow all registered, current members of IBI to vote whether or not to adopt the IBI Biochar Standards. This open and transparent process allows for other entities to easily adopt the IBI Biochar Standards as the basis for their own regulatory or certification programs.

In May 2012 IBI’s membership approved the initial version (retroactively titled Version 1.0) of the IBI Biochar Standards by a 91% majority. In April 2013, IBI published Version 1.1 of the IBI Biochar Standards to address technical program revisions.

The complete process history record, including all draft versions leading up to Version 1.0 of the document, compiled comments received, and minutes from Working Group Meetings is available in this document archive.