Mapping sustainability criteria for the bioeconomy
DCA rapport, nr. 76, 2016
Af Marie Trydeman Knudsen, John e. Hermansen og Line Beck Thostrup
The bioeconomy is high on the political agenda. Both EU and USA have proclaimed their intentions to grow their bioeconomies in order to address major challenges in relation to environmental and socio-economic aspects. A multitude of standards and certification schemes and other sustainability assessments in relation to production and use of biomass exist and operate at different scales and are led by both private and government entities. Thus, current biomass sustainability criteria are a patchwork of voluntary standards and regulations with a lack of comparability. The main aim of this report is to provide an overview of the sustainability criteria linked to the production and processing of biomass for the bioeconomy, based on a qualitative survey in eleven countries in Europe. The survey included an overview of sustainability criteria and initiatives in the different countries. The participants were asked their views on a need for a more consistent, standardized approach to sustainability criteria in the bioeconomy, identification of areas where sustainability criteria were not compatible for biomass used for different purposes and identification of interrelations between voluntary and mandatory sustainability criteria among other issues.
A majority of the respondents of the questionnaire expressed the need for a more consistent, standardized approach to sustainability criteria. A number of sustainability criteria already exist or are in progress for the different fields of bioeconomy. But since different fields of bioeconomy in fact are interacting, there is a need to create a common playing field. Much attention is given lately to the bioenergy part of the bioeconomy, risking an unbalanced attention to only one part of the bioeconomy and only one transition.