TÜV SÜD in the spotlight despite suspension (Newsletter #9)

While TÜV SÜD remains suspended, WWF has released an updated rating that shows that the shortcomings of CDM-certification agencies are lasting[1]. On a scale from A (best) to F (worst) the ‘best’ grade was a D, which was awarded only once.

More than 900 projects have been evaluated for this analysis. The rating is based on a statistical evaluation of decisions by the EB on projects that were validated positively by a DOE and which are later either registered, rejected, reviewed or requested for correction by the EB (see table).

The analysis shows that the number of project registrations directly accepted by the CDM EB decreased from 41% to 36% since the 2009 rating; the EB demanded corrections of 57% of the projects that were positively assessed by DOEs (2009: 51%); 7% of applications were directly dismissed by the EB (2009: 6%). In most cases the projects are not registered automatically because the EB disagreed with the DOEs in their additionality assessment, an essential requirement under the Kyoto Protocol.

As in the May 2009 rating, TÜV-Nord keeps the best performance with a D rating and BVC the poorest performance with an F rating. All other DOEs are in the middle ground and have an E+ rating. The score of TÜV-Süd and DNV decreased compared to the previous rating, whereas the score of SGS increased. See table.

The updated rating shows that there is a large discrepancy between the expectations of the CDM Executive Board and the way DOEs perform validation and verification functions. This situation has not improved since the last rating published in May 2009. The recent suspension of TÜV SÜD and partial suspension of Korea Energy Management Corporation on 26 March show once more that problems observed in the past continue to exist.

In particular the suspension of TÜV SÜD opens questions as to how the draft policy framework on non-compliance of DOEs currently being discussed will address these serious shortcomings. Within this context it is important to note that the modalities for the suspension of TÜV SÜD state that the decision of the Board was based on two outstanding issues[2]:

1)     That TÜV SÜD gave positive validation opinions even though the DOE had concerns about additionality

2)     That staff of TÜV SÜD was not qualified to undertake work as per the CDM accreditation standard

These two reasons for suspension cast serious doubt over the ability of TÜV SÜD to carry out essential key requirements to validate CDM projects. Moreover, CDM Watch would like to draw the attention of the CDM Executive Board to the fact that according to the modalities for suspension, TÜV SÜD was not allowed to upload PDDs for public comments as part of the validation process. Yet, TÜV SÜD uploaded the PDD for the Plantar project[3] for public comments from 15 April to 28 May 2010. Plantar had previously requested registration and was put under review by the Board over non-compliance with key requirements related to the participation of civil society in the validation process. Moreover, the comment period was closed on 28 May early evening so that many stakeholders that had prepared comments for submission just before the deadline (00.00 GMT), including CDM Watch, could not submit anymore.

Ironically, the reason why the Plantar project was reviewed was the very fact that the period for public comments was too short (30 instead of 45 days). Yet, AGAIN, TÜV SÜD made it impossible for concerned civil society to respond to the public commenting period by:

1)     Uploading the PDD at an unexpected time:

  1. No NGO expected the PDD to be uploaded before the suspension was lifted and hence did not check the complicated UNFCCC website during that period.
  2. CDM Watch had done a routine check on the validation page and could notify civil society only days before the closing of the public commenting period.
  3. However while there was desire to respond, a couple of days did prove as a serious obstacle given that civil society involved in the host country does not speak English and need to translate documents first.

2)     Closing the period for public comments before the expected deadline:

  1. Although acting swiftly it was not possible to submit a comment via the UNFCCC website.
  2. Without any particular notice, the public commenting period was arbitrarily closed and left civil society representatives who took the time to prepare comments with no opportunity to submit them.
  3. To date, comments have not yet been uploaded to the website.

Action to be taken by the Board: While it is certainly positive that the CDM Executive Board initiated a system of measurements and sanctions for DOEs three years ago, CDM Watch regrets that this system is not yet operational. Moreover, CDM Watch regrets to notice that important information about spot checks that lead to a suspension is not publicly accessible. In particular, CDM Watch urges the Board to make public the positive validation reports of the non-additional projects as referred to in the modalities for suspension of TÜV SÜD. Moreover, with regard to the disrespect that TÜV SÜD brings to civil society related to serious and effective public participation, the Board should take action and reject PA 2569 in order to set a signal that civil society participation in the CDM must be taken seriously.


[2] http://cdm.unfccc.int/EB/053/eb53_repan02.pdf

[3] http://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/DB/TUEV-SUED1242052712.92/view