The Accreditation and Verification Regulation (AVR) has introduced for the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) an EU-wide harmonised approach towards the accreditation of verifiers.
Legal acts in the AVR domain encompass in the first place the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2067 of 19 December 2018 on the verification of data and on the accreditation of verifiers pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, applying as from 1 January 2019.
Previous legal instrument - Commission Regulation (EU) No 600/2012 of 21 June 2012 on the verification of greenhouse gas emission reports and tonne-kilometre reports and the accreditation of verifiers pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council - entered into force on 1 August 2012 and applied from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2018.
Emissions and, where applicable, activity data occurring prior to 1 January 2013 were to be verified pursuant to the requirements set out in Commission Decision of 18 July 2007 No 2007/589/EC establishing guidelines for the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.
The said new Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2067 of 19 December 2018 was necessary in light of the experience in the application of Commission Regulation (EU) No 600/2012.
As the Recitals of the Regulation 2018/2067 say, the purpose of new rules is to improve, clarify and simplify the accreditation and verification rules to further promote harmonisation and enhance the efficiency of the system.
Moreover, Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products continues to apply to those aspects of accreditation of verifiers which are not dealt with by AVR.
In particular, where, due to the internal practices of a Member State, an alternative procedure to accreditation, namely, the certification of verifiers that are natural persons, is carried out by a national authority appointed by that Member State in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 765/2008, the Member State concerned must provide documentary evidence that such authority meets a level of credibility similar to national accreditation bodies that have successfully undergone peer evaluation organised by the body recognised under Article 14 of that Regulation.
The said Commission Regulation (EU) No 600/2012 introduced the model, where:
- the verifiers are answerable to the accreditation body,
- the EU Member States must monitor the performance of their national accreditation bodies.
The characteristic feature of the new uniform accreditation system is mutual recognition of verifiers across all EU Member States.
According to the Report on the functioning of the European carbon market of 18 November 2015 (COM(2015) 576 final, p. 27), 28 EU Member States reported that at least one foreign verifier was active in their territory.
The Report of 23 November 2017 from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on the functioning of the European carbon market (COM(2017) 693 final) has also confirmed that the mutual recognition of verifiers among participating countries was working successfully: most countries (29, all except FR and LV) reported at least one foreign verifier active in their territory.
Verifiers who are a legal person or a legal entity must be accredited by a National Accreditation Body in order to carry out verifications in compliance with the AVR.
Only in the case of a natural person may a Member State allow for certification as an alternative to accreditation.
According to the aforementioned Report of 18 November 2015, in practice, only one EU Member State reported to have such system in place for certification, and only one verifier had been certified under that system.
Under Article 21 of the EU ETS Directive, Member States are required to report the number of verifiers accredited per accreditation scope (defined by Annex I of the AVR, which creates a link to the activities listed in Annex I of the EU ETS Directive).
The aforementioned Report of 18 November 2015 refers to 1044 verifiers accredited across all scopes (given verifiers do multiple scopes, so this does not equal the total number of verifiers).
The total number of verifiers is not reported in Article 21 reports, but the above Report of 23 November 2017 estimates the number accredited for combustion (the primary scope of accreditation) at the level pf at least 130 different accredited verifiers overall concerning 2016 verifications.
Article 21 submissions in 2017 indicate that there were 47 individual verifiers accredited for 2016 concerning aviation.
The European cooperation for Accreditation (EA) provides a central link to relevant National Accreditation Bodies (NABs) and their lists of EU ETS accredited verifiers.
Possible administrative measures with respect to verifiers for non-compliance with AVR are suspension or withdrawal of the accreditation, or a reduction of the scope of accreditation.
Sanctions the EU Member States used so far, according to data referred to in the aforementioned Report of 18 November 2015, were: one suspension of a verifier, one withdrawal of an accreditation, and six reductions of scope.
The above Report of 23 November 2017 assessed the compliance of verifiers with the AVR to be high.
Only Poland reported a suspension and Sweden a withdrawal of accreditation in 2016 (of one verifier in each case).
This compares to no reported suspensions or withdrawals concerning 2015 and one suspension and one withdrawal for 2014.
Only Poland reported a reduction made in the scope of one verifier's accreditation in 2016, compared to four countries reporting such reductions for five verifiers in 2015 and three countries for six verifiers in 2014.
Fewer countries reported complaints received about verifiers this year (eight compared to nine last year).
The overall number of complaints is also 17% lower.
96% of the complaints received are reported resolved (the same as last year).
Nine countries reported identification of verifier non-conformities as part of the information exchange process between NABs and competent authorities (compared to eleven last year).
According to the above Report of 23 November 2017, failure to submit verified annual emission reports by the due deadline was among the most common offences within the EU ETS scheme reported for 2016 (9 cases).
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2067 of 19 December 2018 on the verification of data and on the accreditation of verifiers pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
Commission Regulation (EU) No 600/2012 of 21 June 2012 on the verification of greenhouse gas emission reports and tonne-kilometre reports and the accreditation of verifiers pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
Report on the functioning of the European carbon market, accompanying the document Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council, Climate action progress report, including the report on the functioning of the European carbon market and the report on the review of Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of carbon dioxide of 18 November 2015 (COM(2015) 576 final)