ENplus fraud management reinforced by ‘special actions’ in Italy
November 17, 2022 By ENplus
The ENplus certification is known to be the only wood pellet quality scheme on the market to constantly combat fraud and follow up on quality issues. These efforts were recently supported by a special operation executed by the ENplus National Licenser for Italy – AIEL Italian Agroforestry Energy Association, and Guardia di Finanza (Italian Fiscal Police).
As a result of the extraordinary actions, more than 52 companies have been inspected and over 5,000 tonnes of counterfeit wood pellets have been seized by Guardia di Finanza in Italy during the last heating season. The authorities detected violations in regard to the use of the quality certifications such as ENplus but also fraud cases, in which the pellets produced by some plants were declared with characteristics that did not correspond to the truth.
The operation was carried out by crossing the data in regard to import quantities, national production, sales volumes and the information concerning the certification holders. With respect to the number of interventions, this constitutes an unprecedented operation in Europe that comes to guarantee the safety of the Italian market, which is the biggest consumer of premium wood pellets. Biomass represents the first source of renewable energy in the country and the second heating solution for Italian families, especially in times when the gas and fossil fuels prices have increased dramatically.
In Italy, thanks to that specific experience, pellet loads are now inspected on a regular basis, with continuous interventions against counterfeited and fraudulent products (more than 300 tonnes seized only in October).
On the international fraud-fighting side, another concrete example in strengthening the scheme’s protection has been the renewal of Bioenergy Europe’s annual application for action with EU Custom Authorities, to prevent cross-border trade of counterfeit ENplus pellets across all 27 EU member states. In the past few years, the ENplus Management has also organized and implemented an annual Market Surveillance Project. The initiative aims to analyse ENplus certified bags randomly taken from the market in order to assure compliance with the ENplus standards. The pellet bags collected for this project are traditionally taken from the Italian market.
At both a national and an international level, the ENplus fraud management has so far identified and solved more than 840 fraud cases all over the world. More than half of the cases solved this year are certificate falsifications. In one out of four cases, the infringement is related to irregular use of ENplus trademark in marketing operations, and in one in eight cases, to product misuses such as fraudulent use of the ENplus seal on pellet bags.
All fraudulent companies that did not cease abusing our trademark are listed on the ENplus Blacklist, which was visited by more than 20,000 users only in the past few months. The certification management also registers a stable growth in the visits of the lists of certified producers, traders, and service providers, which is another way to identify trustworthy suppliers.
The new revised documentation of the certification scheme also puts additional requirements to the certified companies to ensure only certified pellets are sold on the market as such.
We encourage consumers to check the certification status of their supplier via the official lists of certified producers, traders, and service providers on our website and to keep an eye on the approved bag designs to ensure they buy certified pellets.
If you suspect a fraud case, please report it via this form.
More information about our fraud management here.
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