Sustainability Standards for Bioenergy

This report begins in Section 1 with an introduction to key bioenergy issues, summarizing “drivers”, global potential, the key issues of sustainable biomass and standards.

Section 2 gives a brief description of key potential problems and conflict areas arising from increased bioenergy supply, and derives core sustainability standards for each problem area. The standards were determined on the basis of a broad review of existing labeling and certification schemes for bio-based products and previous work carried out by the authors. A distinction is made between the use of biogenic residues/wastes and the dedicated cultivation of bioenergy crops. Our study focuses on the latter.

Section 3 discusses the legal background to implementing sustainability standards with special focus on international rules, EU legal settings and certain German laws. Legal instruments are also briefly described.

Approaches to implementing sustainability standards for biomass is introduced in Section 4, which also draws conclusions from the previous sections and gives recommendations, above all on the need to begin introducing sustainability standards for bioenergy. Furthermore, some open questions are addressed.

The report closes with a reference section, a list of acronyms and annexes – offering additional thoughts on environmental assessment methods – and synopses with details on sustainability standards for biomass.