ISCC Plus (Sustainable Biomass)

Circular Economy: Certification with ISCC Plus

A plastic tax is to be introduced in Europe from 2021. That was decided at the EU summit on COVID-19 aid. As of January, all EU countries will transfer 80 cents to Brussels for every kilo of non-recycled plastic packaging waste. Another incentive for companies to improve the recycling balance of packaging materials. The principle of the circular economy helps companies to deal with this challenge. In the following, we will introduce you to the circular economy model and present one of the leading standards that supports companies in the introduction of a circular system: ISCC PLUS.

Slowly but surely, society is becoming aware that there is no going back in terms of sustainability. After all, the consequences of our throw-away mentality end up again with us in the form of environmental pollution, climate change and resource scarcity. In the face of these challenges, our “take-make-waste” industrial model has become unviable.

The European Union also sees it that way and has now introduced a plastic tax, which is due to come into force in January next year. Companies now have a choice: either they pass the costs on to their customers – or they take the opportunity and align the company so that it will continue to meet social and regulatory requirements in the future.

A promising approach to realizing the second option is the so-called circular economy. The economic framework focuses on carefully managing resources so that nothing is wasted. In other words, products and materials are kept in use—reused, remanufactured and recycled continuously— for as long as possible to achieve maximum value. This restorative and regenerative approach aims to create a closed-loop supply chain that “designs out” waste.

The advantage of such an economic system is obvious: the maximization of economic, natural and social capital. This is how environmental goals can be achieved and economic growth stimulated. So much for theory. The reality is of course a lot more complicated. However, there are standards that make it easier for companies to transition to a circular economy. One of those standards is ISCC PLUS.

The certification system enables producers to take full responsibility for the sustainability impact of their raw materials. Here you can learn more about the principles of ISCC PLUS and examples of use.


The ISCC PLUS certification for the circular economy can be applied to all raw materials that can be recycled. The standard offers two options for these materials:

Materials are either physically segregated in production processes throughout the supply chain (“physical segregation”) or mixed in production but separated in bookkeeping (“mass balance approach”).

In this way, mixed plastic waste can find its direct way back into the supply chain. The mass balance method not only gives the material an economic value, it also reduces the risk of plastic waste being released into the environment in an uncontrolled manner. The ISCC PLUS certification guarantees that the material is actually recycled and the consumption of new raw material is reduced.

The certification is particularly interesting for manufacturers of biopolymer packaging, which are made, for example, from the biodegradable material PLA (polylactic acid), or for companies that process household waste, landfill gases or used car tires into valuable products.


Certification with ISCC PLUS helps companies to master existing and future sustainability requirements. Consumer wishes are met, sustainable corporate governance supports employee loyalty and future regulatory requirements can be prevented.

Certifications Process

The process starts with the client’s needs and expectations. DQS wants to learn about the client’s organization, its management system, size and types of operation. Together both parties will define objectives for the assessment and/or certification, including applicable standards and specifications.

DQS will provide a detailed offer for assessment and certification services, tailored to individual client needs, based on the information provided initially. A written contract will specify all relevant deliverables as well as applicable assessment and certification criteria.

A pre-audit can serve as initial performance or gap analysis, identifying strengths and areas for improvement. For larger assessment and certification projects a project planning meeting provides a valuable opportunity for the client to meet the lead assessor and develop a customized assessment plan for all functions and locations involved. Both services are optional.

The assessment procedure itself begins with review and evaluation of system documentation, goals, results of management review and internal audits. During this process, it will be determined whether the client’s management system is sufficiently developed and ready for certification. The assessor will explain findings and coordinate any required activities to prepare for the on-site system assessment.

The assigned auditor team will audit the client’s management system at the place of production or service delivery. Applying defined management system standards and specifications, the assessment team will evaluate the effectiveness of all functional areas as well as all management system processes, based upon observations, inspections, interviews, review of pertinent records, and other assessment techniques. The audit result, including all findings will be presented to the client during the closing meeting. Required action plans will be agreed upon as necessary.

The independent certification function of DQS will evaluate the audit process and its results, and decide independently about issuance of the certificate. The client receives an audit report, documenting the audit results. When all applicable requirements are fulfilled the client also receives the certificate.

Either semi-annually or at least once per year, there will be an on-site audit of the critical components of the management system. Improvement potential will be identified, with a focus on continual improvement and sustained effectiveness.

A management system certificate is valid for a limited period of time, frequently for a maximum of three years. At the end of this cycle, a re-audit will be carried out to ensure the ongoing fulfillment of all applicable requirements. Subject to this fulfillment, a new certificate will be issued.

Why DQS?

DQS is one of the leading Management System Certification, Audits, Assessment & Training organization globally. 


Truly Global Brand


Expert Auditors with High Emotional Intelligence


Local Capabilities & Delivery


Industry Leaders


Customized, Comprehensive & Actionable Insights


Pioneering Innovative Solutions


Passion for Quality & Excellence


Integrity & Trust

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