Sustainability Agenda

In 2013, EPAGMA released its Sustainability Agenda, which is the result of work carried out in the course of 2013 and builds on previous responsible use initiatives undertaken by the association.

The Sustainability Agenda sets out the priority areas identified by EPAGMA as important for future actions as well as a set of two first commitments that our members will strive to achieve within these areas. EPAGMA commits to communicate on its efforts under the current areas of work and the review of new priority areas.

This roadmap is a living document, which will go through continuous updates in the future. We believe this is only the first step towards a more sustainable development of our business. In this regard, we welcome your comments and further suggestions on our roadmap. Please direct any comments to Julia Riss (, EPAGMA Secretariat at Burson-Marsteller which acts as the Secretariat of the Association, located in Brussels.

November 2014: Update on activities undertaken in 2014

As announced in the agenda, EPAGMA will communicate on its activities on an annual basis. The 2014 communication document serves to report on the progress made since the publication, highlight the areas where further work needs to be undertaken as well as outline the next steps. In 2015, EPAGMA members will start a new review process to understand whether and which further commitments can be added to the sustainability agenda, based on the priority areas identified in the sustainability agenda: transport, job stability/security and security of raw material and energy supply.

Please click below to download the Sustainability Roadmap and the 2014 Communication on the progress to date.


Energy peat transparency policy 2014 -2016

November 2014

Since its inception 10 years ago, EPAGMA members have committed to the highest environmental practices in peat extraction, responsible use of peat as a local energy source and promotion of the unique properties of peat as a growing media constituent in horticultural plant production.

EPAGMA believes that the energy peat industry has made great progress to understand the relationship that energy peat has with environmental standards, climate change, biodiversity, economics and security of supply. In this regard, EPAGMA has already made progress with successful initiatives such as the Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management developed by the International Peat Society (IPS) in consultation with EPAGMA and many other stakeholders and the EPAGMA Code of Practice. We have also conducted studies through independent research centers on critical issues such as the role of energy peat on security of supply in the EU and a Life-Cycle Analysis review of energy peat carbon emissions. We have learned several lessons about the social, economic and environmental sustainability aspects of our industry and we are ready to go beyond the individual member companies’ sustainability initiatives to implement a unified, progressive and solid sustainable agenda for energy peat.

In 2013, EPAGMA decided to make a step forward by launching its sustainability agenda. This agenda has represented a timely opportunity to commit to an open dialogue on peat extraction. The EPAGMA energy members committed to exploring transparency areas and projects, to assess EU level activities in 2014 and report about the outcomes of this exercise in 2015.

Following this commitment, a Transparency Working Group was formed in December 2013 which lead to three brainstorm meetings since December 2013. A draft EPAGMA Energy Peat Transparency Policy (2014-2016) was informally presented during the first EPAGMA Energy Peat site visit in Helsinki (23 -25 July).

In short, the objective of the EPAGMA Energy Peat Transparency Policy (2014-2016) communication is to define guiding principles and set three specific commitments that can be applied by the EPAGMA energy members and monitored and implemented by the end of 2016. The guiding principles will form the basis for further commitments in the coming years.

As immediate next steps, EPAGMA will finalise the communication and publicly report on the progress of the implementation in 2015.

Please click below to download the full Energy Peat Transparency Policy 2014-2016.


Code of Practice: promotion of wise after-use of the industry’s peatlands

In its Code of Practice, EPAGMA has committed itself to apply the highest standards and best practices to the production of peat by its members. A proper after-use strategy of peatlands can shift peatland from a source to a sink of CO2. Traditions for peatland use and ecological conditions vary between countries. Therefore different perspectives exist on the after-use of peat extraction sites. After-use may include rehabilitation of the peatland ecosystem, alteration of land use to forestry, agriculture, recreation or urban development or a combination of different land use forms. National legislation, land owners, and environmental policy guidelines set the outlines for possible after-use regimes in many countries.

EPAGMA and its members recognise the importance of peatland restoration once extraction has ceased. In its code of practise, EPAGMA has outlined the standards:

Companies shall address the preliminary framework for after-use at an early stage of the permit or licensing procedure.

Companies shall take into account in planning of after-use the current scientific knowledge of peatland ecosystem functions, and stakeholder views onthe future use of peatland.

Where peatland rehabilitation is the chosen after-use strategy, companies shall aim for a high level of conservation of biodiversity and peatland ecosystem function.

Where companies are the landowners, they shall take responsibility for the planning and implementation of after-use, while taking into account the views of local or national authorities and stakeholders.

Where companies are not the landowners and do not have the responsibility and mandate to decide on the after-use, they shall provide landowners with advice on after-use possibilities and the most suitable form of land-use for cutaway areas.

The after-use options will depend on peatland type and former management as well as the condition of the ‘used’ peatland. These options include the following: 

  • Afforestation 
  • Rewetting 
  • Restoration 
  • Spreading Sphagnum 
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Creating a bird sanctuary 
  • Short term crops

All members will comply with the Code of Practice in a responsible manner. This voluntary Code of Practice has been designed to monitor industrial peat production chains. EPAGMA intended to take a step by step approach to introduce a mechanism to enforce this internal system, in order to guarantee higher quality to consumers and to constantly raise the environmental standards of peat production. This objective is now realised via the Initiative “Responsibly Produced Peat”, which has a prominent place in EPAGMA’s Sustainability Roadmap.

Please click below to download the EPAGMA Code of Practice in English, German or French.