In 2023, Drax established a Science and Evidence function, with the remit to ensure that properly gathered and reviewed evidence proactively informs our decision-making, for example on BECCS.

Following our response to the “BECCS Done Well” report, we committed to compiling an Evidence Hub which will provide a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and research pertinent to the BECCS value chain. It will identify areas of consensus, and comment on potential further steps to support assessment in areas where information is insufficient.

2024 will see us publish the first draft of the Evidence Hub and our final response to the ‘BECCS Done Well’ report.

BECCS Done Well

What are stakeholders looking for to give their trust to BECCS?

In early 2022, Drax commissioned a study from Jonathon Porritt, environmental campaigner and co-founder of Forum for the Future, to answer that question.

In November 2022, the High-Level Panel Jonathon Porritt convened published a report reflecting stakeholder views from their independent inquiry to identify the necessary conditions which, if met, would ensure that BECCS can deliver positive outcomes for climate, nature and people.

The Panel called upon expert witnesses from the fields of CCS, forestry, energy and climate change, who presented their evidence and reviewed numerous pieces of published literature. The investigation resulted in 30 conditions under which BECCS could indeed be “done well”.

Since the publication of our response to the ‘BECCS done well’ Report in July 2023, we have taken stock of the commitments we made then. This, our last formal update on the ‘BECCS done well’ 30 conditions, is where we outline our progress to date. It also shows how we’ll see through the actions and outcomes by embedding them into our day-to-day operations.

From 30 conditions to six themes

Since the publication of our initial response to ‘BECCS done well’ in July 2023, we have developed policies and built the systems and processes needed to enable our BECCS projects to deliver the aims and outcomes set out by the 30 conditions.

Now, we have grouped the conditions into six ‘BECCS done well’ themes that describe how we deliver our sustainability goals as well as climate, nature, and people positive outcomes:

  1. Biomass – We will have policies and processes to ensure we source all our biomass to verified standards for sustainability. These standards are designed to verify that our sourcing follows the principles of sustainable forestry, that carbon stocks are known and not adversely affected by our sourcing and does not drive harmful direct land use change.
  2. Climate Positive Outcomes – We maximise the net negativity of BECCS by maximising our CO2­ capture rates and decarbonising the BECCS operation and value chain. We account for emissions across the full value chain and decarbonise following SBTi-validated targets. We only use geological storage where the potential permanence for storage has been licensed in well-regulated jurisdictions. And there is sufficient monitoring and verification in place to check for that permanence.
  3. Nature Positive Outcomes – We recognise the growing need for companies to contribute towards creating what many now refer to as “a nature positive” future. This means we need to know our impact on nature across our operations and supply chains. To achieve this, we will monitor the ecosystem health of our source regions and the impacts of our direct operations on nature. And we will strive to minimise our own impacts, through working to agreed standards in our value chain, and to support broader restoration efforts.
  4. People Positive Outcomes – We identify our impacts on communities, neighbours, and our workforce, and proactively work with local communities to realise positive impacts and reduce negative impacts.
  5. Transparency and Governance – We engage in proactive and transparent monitoring, reporting and disclosure, utilising frameworks such as TCFD and TNFD, as well as all applicable regulatory requirements.
  6. Science – We are informed by science and will listen to stakeholder feedback by routinely engaging with academics, NGOs, and industry bodies to assess the breadth and robustness of scientific evidence. We promote further research where gaps exist.