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Background The high number of bioeconomy (BE) policies and strategies indicates the interest in the BE in many nations. The development of the BE holds opportunities but also risks for sustainability. Thus, the future development of a sustainable BE should be based on coherent policy frameworks. There are already links between private governance approaches and public policy frameworks that might support each other for this purpose. The aim of this study was to evaluate how the current EU BE policy frameworks consider sustainability aspects and if non-governmental governance approaches could support their enhancement. Methods An inventory of BE policy documents on EU and EU member state levels relevant to sustainability was conducted applying desktop research. Major sustainability risk perceptions in the BE sectors were identified. We provide a list of sustainability risks within different BE sectors, based on an expert survey. In a qualitative evaluation, most commonly identified sustainability requirements in policy documents were benchmarked against most important sustainability risk perceptions. Results Sustainability requirements have been identified in 56% of the policy documents. The influence of the policy frameworks on the industry was found to be rather low. Specific targets and goals are included in 72% of the analysed BE policy documents, but only 50% are quantifiable. Identification of major sustainability risks revealed that in the biomass production stage, mostly environmental risks are most relevant. A “hot spot sector” with accumulated sustainability risk perceptions or a tendency to higher risk levels was not identified. Most important sustainability risk perceptions matched with requirements in policy documents, but requirements were mostly stated in a noncommittal way. Discussion and conclusions Coherence amongst the sustainability criteria included in the various BE frameworks should be increased. Groundwork developed by non-governmental governance approaches should be picked up by policy makers for more harmonised terminologies of sustainability requirements, BE definitions, etc. BE monitoring approaches should take policy targets, sustainability requirements and sustainability risks into account and should adjust them in a dynamic way.
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O R I G I N A L A R T I C L E Open Access
Strengths and gaps of the EU frameworks
for the sustainability assessment of bio-
based products and bioenergy
David Moosmann
1
, Stefan Majer
1
, Sergio Ugarte
2
, Luana Ladu
3
, Simone Wurster
3
and Daniela Thrän
1,4*
Abstract
Background: The high number of bioeconomy (BE) policies and strategies indicates the interest in the BE in many
nations. The development of the BE holds opportunities but also risks for sustainability. Thus, the future
development of a sustainable BE should be based on coherent policy frameworks. There are already links between
private governance approaches and public policy frameworks that might support each other for this purpose. The
aim of this study was to evaluate how the current EU BE policy frameworks consider sustainability aspects and if
non-governmental governance approaches could support their enhancement.
Methods: An inventory of BE policy documents on EU and EU member state levels relevant to sustainability was
conducted applying desktop research. Major sustainability risk perceptions in the BE sectors were identified. We
provide a list of sustainability risks within different BE sectors, based on an expert survey. In a qualitative evaluation,
most commonly identified sustainability requirements in policy documents were benchmarked against most
important sustainability risk perceptions.
Results: Sustainability requirements have been identified in 56% of the policy documents. The influence of the
policy frameworks on the industry was found to be rather low. Specific targets and goals are included in 72% of
the analysed BE policy documents, but only 50% are quantifiable. Identification of major sustainability risks revealed
that in the biomass production stage, mostly environmental risks are most relevant. A hot spot sectorwith
accumulated sustainability risk perceptions or a tendency to higher risk levels was not identified. Most important
sustainability risk perceptions matched with requirements in policy documents, but requirements were mostly
stated in a noncommittal way.
Discussion and conclusions: Coherence amongst the sustainability criteria included in the various BE frameworks
should be increased. Groundwork developed by non-governmental governance approaches should be picked up
by policy makers for more harmonised terminologies of sustainability requirements, BE definitions, etc. BE
monitoring approaches should take policy targets, sustainability requirements and sustainability risks into account
and should adjust them in a dynamic way.
Keywords: Bioeconomy, Bio-based products, Policy frameworks, Sustainable biomass, Sustainability assessment,
Sustainability certification, Standardisation
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* Correspondence: daniela.thraen@ufz.de
1
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, Permoserstraße 15,
04318 Leipzig, Germany
4
Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ), Torgauer Straße 116, 04347
Leipzig, Germany
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
Energy, Sustainabilit
y
and Societ
y
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13705-020-00251-8
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Background
The bioeconomy (BE) concept has attracted enormous at-
tention in the recent past. This is evident from the high
number of existing regional, national and international BE
strategies and policies [1,2]. The elements included in
these strategies and policies focus on both the traditional
BE sectors such as food and feed production as well as
novel biomaterial and biochemical sectors [3,4].
Motivations for the development of the BE on European
and national levels are manifold. Whilst objectives such as
the development of rural areas and security of energy sup-
plies are important motives for some regions, the contribu-
tion towards a more sustainable use of resources seems to
be one of the most important elements across the existing
strategies [5]. Given the experiences from the development
of the EU biofuels sector in the past, it seems that an im-
portant precondition for the achievement of the latter is the
development of a coherent sustainability framework for the
BE [6]. One example for the importance of this topic is the
debate on indirect land use change as a potential result of
policy instruments addressing solely the biofuel sector with-
out the necessary reference to the interlinkages of the dif-
ferent bioeconomy sectors [7]. Existing policy frameworks
of the BE are partly fragmented and have been developed
independently for the different BE sectors [8], such as agri-
culture, forestry, food and feed production, building mate-
rials, chemicals, consumer goods and pharmaceuticals as
well as energy. Consequently, differences do exist regarding
BE definition in the different sectors and the existing
strategies and policy documents [3].
So far, the literature on the existing BE policy frame-
works mostly focusses on strategic policies. For example,
the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO) reported in their sustainable bioecon-
omy guideline programon an analysis of how sustain-
ability issues are addressed in 20 official BE strategies
and 10 related BE roadmaps [9]. The focus of the pol-
icies was found to vary with the significance of biomass
in the respective countrieseconomies. Moreover, spe-
cific indicators and methods to address sustainability
issues were poorly included. Furthermore, there were
differences in how comprehensively sustainability topics
were addressed and the degree to which action plans
were available to structure the implementation of activ-
ities to achieve the included targets. This indicates a lack
of determinedness to push the BE development. The
German Bioeconomy Council regularly reviews BE strat-
egies of different nations across the world [3]. They
could confirm FAOs result on missing action plans and
operational roadmaps. Moreover, a lack of common BE
definitions and the predominantly qualitative nature of
included targets was reported [3]. Dietz et al. analysed
41 BE strategies using a qualitative approach to consider
the link to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
[10]. They stressed the need for a global governance
framework for the development of national BEs as well
as the risk of over- or underregulation as a result of in-
adequate monitoring of progress towards the goals.
Hence, the development of a coherent policy framework
addressing the relevant sustainability aspects needs to
consider this status quo.
Over the past decades, private actors, such as NGOs
and companies, have increasingly become involved in
regulation activities [11]. There are some examples of
existing links between the public governmental policy
frameworks and activities organised by private stake-
holders: An example for the use of a co-regulation instru-
ment in the EU is the use of sustainability certification
systems for the implementation of the Renewable Energy
Directive (RED) [12] sustainability criteria. Another ex-
ample for synergies between private governance and pol-
icies is the uptake of established voluntary sustainability
schemes as basis for requirements in policy documents.
This has been the case with the sustainable forestry certifi-
cation schemes Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
Schemes (PEFC), which were accepted, for instance, by
the German government as a mandatory public procure-
ment requirement [13]. Certification systems, for instance,
can be used to close gaps in the legal frameworks of juris-
dictions. In this regard, the concept of co-regulation
means that countries define legislative sustainability obli-
gations for supply chains of a certain economic sector and
allow private control mechanisms (e.g. certifications) for
demonstration of compliance [14].
An important question for the future development of
the BE is to which extent will it be possible to develop a
more coherent policy framework, aiming to ensure sus-
tainability based on the existing regulations for the vari-
ous BE sectors. Against this background, the aim of this
paper is to answer the following questions:
Are there BE sectors with higher perceived
sustainability risks? Could a priority be derived for
the governance of sustainability?
How do the BE policy frameworks in the EU
currently consider sustainability aspects?
Can non-governmental governance approaches
support the enhancement of the BE policy
frameworks?
In this paper, we analysed policy documents of the EU
and national BE frameworks that are relevant for the as-
sessment of sustainability. This assessment included
strategies, roadmaps, action plans, etc. with voluntary re-
quirements as well as mandatory requirements as those
included in directives, ordinances and regulations. In the
first step, we evaluated to which extent and in which
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 2 of 19
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form the BE policy frameworks consider the concept of
sustainability. In the second step, we identified the major
risks to sustainability in different BE sectors in order to
highlight where needs for improving sustainability gov-
ernance of the BE are. In the final third step, we bench-
marked the identified sustainability risks with the
coverage of the corresponding sustainability issue in the
existing BE policy frameworks. We discussed the role of
sustainability certification and standardisation as well as
co-regulation concepts in overcoming potential weak-
nesses and gaps in the public governmental policy
frameworks. It is important to note that the motivation
for this analysis stems from the work in a H2020 project
called STAR-ProBio
1
, in which the authors of this paper
aim at the identification of links between sustainability
assessment tools such as life cycle assessment (LCA) and
certification with existing policies.
Methods
The general methodological approach for this study in-
cludes the workflow and a generic categorisation of the
outcomes related to methods applied (Fig. 1). A com-
prehensive list of BE policy documents, the result of a
comprehensive desktop research, served as a starting
point for the subsequent steps. Each step will be further
elaborated in the following sections. The methods are
based on preliminary works within the STAR-ProBio
project [15].
Identification of relevant policies and strategies
Initially, policy documents relevant for the BE and the
sustainability assessment on EU and member state level
were compiled by conducting desktop research. Thereby,
national laws, EU directives, EU regulations, strategies,
roadmaps and action plans were included for further
study. This review resulted in a list of 101 documents.
To allow for a feasible analysis of each document (see
the Analysis of selected policies and strategiessection),
the selection was reduced to a processable number of
documents using the selection criteria outlined below:
European policies:
As Europe was the geographical scope of the study,
EU level policies and policies of EU member states
were considered, aiming at a balanced sample
Available languages:
According to the language skills of the authors, only
documents or translations in English, German,
Dutch, French or Italian language were considered
Accessibility:
Documents had to be available online
Reference to the BE:
The scope of a policy had to be within one BE
sector or in the BE as a whole
Reference to sustainability:
Sustainability or sustainability assessment had to be
a relevant aspect of a policy
Inclusion of reflection of future BE relevant
challenges (e.g. circular economy, waste
management):
This criterion should reflect additional aspects
relevant to BE
Application of the criteria in the above order resulted in
a selection of 50 policy documents, which were compiled
into two tables (Tables 1and 2). With this step, we dis-
tinguished between more general documents and those
with some mandatory elements. This differentiation was
done using the classification document typeand
mandatory character, derived from the analysis
described in the Analysis of selected policies and strat-
egiessection (Table 3). We defined the document types
strategy, road map, action plan, report, guidance and
growth plan as less mandatory documents and directive,
regulation and ordinance as a second group with more
mandatory character. The tables were intended to serve
as overview and at the same time as the basis for the
next step.
Analysis of selected policies and strategies
In the subsequent step, policy documents were further
analysed. To do so, a standard review template (see
supplementary material 2) was created compiling desired
data from the documents, such as general information,
information on scope and significance as well as on links
to sustainability and sustainability assessment (Table 3).
The mandatory character arises from the type of policy
(e.g. EU directives were per se considered mandatory)
on one hand. On the other hand, the aspect was part of
the review template and was thus under evaluation when
documents were reviewed. To assess the role of sustain-
ability assessment methods and tools in the documents,
we analysed to which extent sustainability assessment
was explicitly mentioned and whether direct links to sus-
tainability certification, in terms of a specific scheme,
exist. Moreover, for each document, it was evaluated
whether certification could be useful to support the im-
plementation of the particular policy
2
(Table 3). The
template was, therefore, created to ensure data collection
in a harmonised and uniform way. The processed review
templates were a basis for a further evaluation which in-
cluded a calculation of the frequency of different
1
Please see www.star-probio.eu for more information
2
Subjective, qualitative information
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 3 of 19
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parameters (e.g. the frequency of each of the included
sustainability requirements). Result tables were gener-
ated (Table 1and 2) as well as a table presenting the re-
sults in a condensed form (Table 4).
Results of this analysis were used to identify the level of
which sustainability requirements were included as well as
the potential reference to tools for the operationalisation
of these criteria in the analysed policy documents.
Expert consultation
To outline the perception of risks for sustainability in the
different sectors of the BE and to assess potential differ-
ences amongst them, a qualitative, stepwise approach was
followed. This process was initiated as part of a workshop
in the context of the STAR-ProBio project. The audience
was composed of project members only. They represented
seven European institutions from Belgium, Poland, Italy,
Germany and the Netherlands. The majority of partici-
pants were scientists from different research organisations
within the disciplines agricultural sciences, innovation
economics, political economics, environmental and cli-
mate science, as well as bioenergy research. Additionally,
participants from an environmental organisation (NGO)
and a consultancy company took part.
Inthebeginning,atemplateforatable(seesupplementary
material 1) was presented. It comprised a generic structure
for the illustration of risks to sustainability as a function of
value chains in BE sectors. During a first discussion, this tem-
plate was further conceptualised. This resulted in an im-
proved version of the template, which was shared with the
group. Moreover, additional instructions were given. Each in-
stitution was assigned to insert estimations (only) on poten-
tial major risks into the template with respect to the
particular value chains in the BE sectors: final product (or
main technology pathway), main feedstock (or feedstock
group), main potential sustainability risk(s) and significance
of the risk (low, medium, high). The task was not about fill-
ing the entire template, but only the lines listing the sectors
for which the individual partners felt competent to give valid
estimations, according to their specific background and ex-
pertise. Additionally, the receivers of the template were en-
couraged to have a discussion on their contribution within
their institution.
After retrieving the contributions from the partners, a
final table was created by means of aggregating the par-
tial results. The filled tables of the participants were then
compared. In case a risk was mentioned repeatedly, it
was aggregated to one risk. The estimations for the sig-
nificance of the risk were attributed to a group of risks,
in order to express the risk level relevant to value chains
in certain BE sectors. In case of conflicting views on risk
level estimations in terms of considerable differences be-
tween the compared tables, discrepancies were discussed
with the relevant partners. To complete this survey, a
Fig. 1 Methodological approach for the bioeconomy (BE) policy analysis including applied methods and type of outcomes
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 4 of 19
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Table 1 Analysed sample of overarching BE policy documents with relevance for sustainability assessment
Identifier Policy title Geographical
relevance
Type of
document
Mandatory Effective
date
Affected
BE sectors
Influence
on
companies
Specific
targets/
goals
Targets/
goals
measureable
Addressed
sustainability
dimensions
Sustainability
criteria
incorporated
Certification
explicitly
mentioned
Direct links
to
certification
Certification
appropriate
instrument
1 2015 Circular
Economy
Strategy
(Action Plan)
EU Action
plan
no 2015 all no - - En So - + - -
2 Bioeconomy
Development
in EU Regions
Mapping of EU
Member States
/ Regions
Research and
Innovation
Plans &
Strategies for
Smart
Specialisation
(RIS3) on
Bioeconomy for
2014 -2020
EU Report no 2017 all no - - En - - - -
3 Bioeconomy
Regions in
Europe
EU Report no 2017 all no - - En - - - -
4 Building the
Single Market
for Green
Products
Facilitating
better
Information on
the
Environmental
Performance of
Products and
Organisations
EU Strategy no 2013 all no + + En + + + +
5 EU Forest
Strategy
EU Strategy no 2013 all no + - En Ec So + + + +
6 EU Strategy for
Plastics in the
Circular
Economy
EU Strategy no 2018 CP no + + En + + + +
7 Good Practice
Guidance on
the Sustainable
Mobilisation of
Wood in Europe
EU Guidance no 2010 F no + - En Ec - - - -
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 5 of 19
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Table 1 Analysed sample of overarching BE policy documents with relevance for sustainability assessment (Continued)
Identifier Policy title Geographical
relevance
Type of
document
Mandatory Effective
date
Affected
BE sectors
Influence
on
companies
Specific
targets/
goals
Targets/
goals
measureable
Addressed
sustainability
dimensions
Sustainability
criteria
incorporated
Certification
explicitly
mentioned
Direct links
to
certification
Certification
appropriate
instrument
8 Guidance on
unfair
Commercial
Practices -
Extract on
Misleading
Green Claims
EU Guidance no 2005 all direct - - - - + + +
9 Innovating for
Sustainable
Growth - A
Bioeconomy for
Europe
(Bioeconomy
Strategy)
EU Strategy no 2012 all no + - En Ec So - + + +
10 Promotion of
Sustainable
Mobilisation of
Wood
EU Strategy no 2007 BEn, F in-direct + - En + + - +
11 Action Plan on
Renewable Raw
Materials
AT Action
plan
no 2015 F, C, T,
CP, P, M/
P
no + - En Ec + + - +
12 Bioeconomy in
Flanders
BE Action
plan
no 2014 all no + - En Ec So + + - +
13 Biorefineries
Roadmap
DE Roadmap no 2012 BEn, F, Fo,
Fe, CP, P,
M/P
no + - - + + - +
14 Forest Strategy
2020
DE Strategy no 2011 F no + + En Ec So + + + +
15 National Policy
Strategy on
Bioeconomy
DE Strategy no 2014 all no + + En Ec So - + + +
16 Plan for Growth
for Water, Bio
and
Environmental
Solutions
DK Growth
plan
no 2013 all in-direct + + En + + - +
17 The Spanish
Bioeconomy
Strategy 2030
Horizon
ES Strategy no 2016 F, Fo no + + En So - + - +
18 Finnish
Bioeconomy
Strategy
FI Strategy no 2014 all,
emphasis
on F
in-direct + + En - - - -
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 6 of 19
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Table 1 Analysed sample of overarching BE policy documents with relevance for sustainability assessment (Continued)
Identifier Policy title Geographical
relevance
Type of
document
Mandatory Effective
date
Affected
BE sectors
Influence
on
companies
Specific
targets/
goals
Targets/
goals
measureable
Addressed
sustainability
dimensions
Sustainability
criteria
incorporated
Certification
explicitly
mentioned
Direct links
to
certification
Certification
appropriate
instrument
19 A Bioeconomy
Strategy for
France
FR Strategy no 2016 BEn, F, Fo,
CP, M/P
no - - En + + - +
20 Energy
Transition for
Green Growth
Act
FR Action
plan
no 2016 BEn no + + En - + - -
21 National Action
Plan for Green
Public
Procurement
FR Action
plan
no 2014 BEn, C,
Fo, T, CP,
M/P
direct + + - - - - +
22 National
Strategy of
Ecological
Transition
towards
Sustainable
Development
2015-2020
FR Strategy no 2014 all in-direct + + En - + - +
23 National
Environmental
Technology
Innovation
Strategy 2011-
2020
HU Strategy no 2012 BEn, C,
Fo, Fe
in-direct + + En Ec So - + - +
24 Renewable
Energy
Republic of
Hungary -
National
Renewable
Energy Action
Plan 2010 2020
HU Action
plan
no 2010 BEn direct + + En + + + +
25 Action Plan for
the
Environmental
Sustainability of
Consumption
in the Public
Administration
Sector
IT Action
plan
no 2006 all no + + En +
a
+++
26 Bioeconomy in
Italy
IT Strategy no 2016 all no + + Ec So - + + -
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Table 1 Analysed sample of overarching BE policy documents with relevance for sustainability assessment (Continued)
Identifier Policy title Geographical
relevance
Type of
document
Mandatory Effective
date
Affected
BE sectors
Influence
on
companies
Specific
targets/
goals
Targets/
goals
measureable
Addressed
sustainability
dimensions
Sustainability
criteria
incorporated
Certification
explicitly
mentioned
Direct links
to
certification
Certification
appropriate
instrument
27 Towards a
Model of
Circular
Economy for
Italy
IT Report no 2017 F, C, Fo,
CP
no - - En So + - - +
28 A Circular
Economy in the
Netherlands by
2050
NL Strategy no 2016 all in-direct + + En Ec So - + + +
29 Strategy for a
Green Society
NL Strategy no 2013 all no + - En Ec So - - - +
30 Green Growth
Commitment
PT Strategy no 2015 all in-direct + + En + + + +
31 Swedish
Research and
Innovation
Strategy for a
Bio-based
Economy
SE Report no 2012 Fo, T, CP,
P, M/P
no + - En - + + +
32 UK Bionergy
Strategy
UK Strategy no 2012 BEn in-direct + - En Ec
So
++++
a
Incorporation of FSC/PEFC certification scheme as a whole
The BE sectors are coded as follows: BEn bioenergy, Fforestry, Fo food, CP chemicals and plastics, M/P materials/products, Cconstruction, Ttextiles, Ppharmacy, Fe feed. Sustainability dimensions are coded as
followed: En environmental, Ec economic, So social; + stands for included;stands for not included
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Table 2 Analysed sample of regulatory BE policy documents with relevance for sustainability assessment
Identifier Policy title Geographical
relevance
Type of
document
Mandatory Effective
date
Affected
BE
sectors
Influence
on
companies
Specific
targets/
goals
Targets/
goals
measureable
Addressed
sustainability
dimensions
Sustainability
criteria
incorporated
Certification
explicitly
mentioned
Direct links
to
certification
Certification
appropriate
instrument
33 Commission Decision of
the EU Ecolabel for textile
products (2014/350/EU)
EU EC
Decision
no 2014 T, M/P in-direct - - En So + + + +
34 Commission Decision of
the EU Ecolabel for wood-,
cork- and bamboo-based
floor coverings (2017/176)
EU EC
Decision
no 2017 M/P in-direct - - En So + + + +
35 Directive 2008/56/EC on
Marine Strategy Framework
EU Directive yes 2008 Fo, M/P no - - En + + + +
36 Directive 2008/98/EC on
waste
EU Directive yes 2008 All direct + + En + - - +
37 Directive 2009/28/EC on
Renewable Energy (RED)
EU Directive yes 2009 BEn in-direct + + En + + + +
38 Directive 2015/1513/EU on
indirect land use change
EU Directive yes 2015 BEn direct + + En Ec So + + + +
39 Directive 94/62/EC on
packaging and packaging
waste
EU Directive yes 2015 CP, M/P direct + + En - - - +
40 Regulation (EC) No 1069/
2009 on Animal by-
products
EU Regulation yes 2009 BEn, Fo,
Fe
direct - - En - - - -
41 Regulation (EC) No 1830/
2003 on genetically
modified organisms (GMO)
EU Regulation yes 2003 All direct - - En - - - +
42 Regulation (EC) No 1935/
2004 on Food Contact
Materials
EU Regulation yes 2004 Fo, CP,
M/P
direct - - - - - - -
43 Regulation (EC) No 761/
2001 on Eco-management
and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
EU Regulation no 2001 All in-direct - - En Ec So + + + +
44 Regulation (EU) No 995/
2010 on European Timber
(EUTR)
EU Regulation yes 2010 BEn, F, C,
M/P
direct + - En + - - +
45 Decree on Public
Procurement of Wood
Products
DE Ordinance yes 2011 F, C, M/P direct + + En Ec So + + + +
46 Renewable Energy Sources
Act (EEG)
DE Ordinance yes 2017 BEn in-direct + + - + + - +
47 A Resource Opportunity -
Waste Management Policy
in Ireland
IR Policy no 2012 BEn, F, C,
T, CP, M/
P
no + + En + + + +
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Table 2 Analysed sample of regulatory BE policy documents with relevance for sustainability assessment (Continued)
Identifier Policy title Geographical
relevance
Type of
document
Mandatory Effective
date
Affected
BE
sectors
Influence
on
companies
Specific
targets/
goals
Targets/
goals
measureable
Addressed
sustainability
dimensions
Sustainability
criteria
incorporated
Certification
explicitly
mentioned
Direct links
to
certification
Certification
appropriate
instrument
48 Delivering our Green
Potential
IR Policy
statement
no 2012 BEn, F,
Fo, Fe,
CP, P, M/
P
in-direct + + En + - - +
49 National Programme for
Waste Reduction
IT Policy yes 2017 C, Fo, Fe no + + En + + - -
50 Hoofdlijnennotitie
Biobased Economy (BBE)
NL Policy yes 2012 All no - - En + + + +
BEn bioenergy, Fforestry, Fo food, CP chemicals and plastics, M/P materials/products, Cconstruction, Ttextiles, Ppharmacy, Fe feed. Sustainability dimensions are coded as followed: En environmental, Ec
economic, So social; + stands for included;stands for not included
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second workshop was arranged, in which the result was
presented and discussed. An agreement on the finalised
table could be reached amongst the attendants in the
end.
Qualitative evaluation of sustainability requirements most
commonly identified in policy documents
For sustainability requirements most frequently identified
in the analysed policy sample, a qualitative evaluation was
done. This was conducted by reconsidering the sustainabil-
ity requirements in the 50 policy review sheets (derived
from the previous step of our methodology) and the re-
spective policy document. This step enabled us to provide
context around the requirements, allowing an evaluation of
the way in which sustainability requirements are incorpo-
rated thereby increasing the understanding of their effect.
Results
This chapter is structured as follows: Below, perceived
major sustainability risks in BE value chains are presented.
This is followed by the second part, in which the current
BE policy frameworks relevant for sustainability assess-
ment are analysed. In this way, the second part of this art-
icle starts with an inventory of BE policy documents
which have been analysed (Inventory of BE relevant pol-
icies and strategiessection). The results of the analysis of
sustainability and sustainability assessment relevant ele-
ments in policy documents are presented in the Inclusion
of sustainability and certification in the policy documents
analysed (quantitative evaluation)section. The qualitative
evaluation of most frequently identified sustainability re-
quirements in the final section of this chapter will bring
the two parts together (Qualitative evaluation of sustain-
ability requirements in the policy frameworkssection) in
order to answer the question: How do the policy frame-
works consider the main perceived risks to sustainability?
Identification of major sustainability risk perceptions
linked to the BE
Major risks for sustainability within different BE value
chains as perceived by different experts are reported in
Table 5. It must be pointed out that this table is not
meant to present a complete and comprehensive list of
results. The idea was to highlight value chains with need
for regulation, indicated by a concentration of sustain-
ability risk perceptions (hot spots). Therefore, in accord-
ance with the survey instructions (cf. the Expert
consultationsection in Methods), the most relevant
risks identified as risk perceptions are highlighted in the
following:
Potential risk perceptions for sustainability were
identified in all BE sectors
We found that the majority of identified risks are
related to environmental sustainability, whereas only
a limited number of potential risks for social
Table 3 Type of information derived from each policy document analysed using the standard review template (supplementary
material 2)
General information
- Document name/identification
- Origin
- Geographic relevance
- Mandatory character
- Document type
- Effective date
Scope and significance
- Affected/promoted products or resources
- Affected BE sectors
- Precise objective
- Influence on companies in the industry
- Specific targets/goals
- Measurability of included targets/goals
Link to sustainability and sustainability assessment
- Addressing of sustainability dimensions
- Incorporation of sustainability requirements/criteria
a
- Explicit reference to sustainability certification or sustainability assessment
- Direct links to sustainability certification
- Suitability of certification for implementation of the policy/regulation/strategy
a
The terms criteriaand requirementsare used synonymously in this context and the following, as they were found to be poorly defined in the
investigated documents
Table 4 Results of the evaluation of the policy documents (n=50)
Topic included in the policy documents analysed Coverage
(in %)
Policy documents with mandatory
character, %
24
Policy documents having direct
influence on companies, %
24
Policy documents having indirect
influence on companies, %
26
Policy documents having no
influence on companies, %
50
Specific targets/goals included, % 72
Targets/goals measurable, % 50
Sustainability requirements
included, % (see Fig. 2for
more details)
56
Sustainability assessment/
certification explicitly mentioned, %
72
Direct links to certification, % 44
Suitability of certification as
instrument for implementation of
the policy, %
76
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 11 of 19
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Table 5 Major identified risk perceptions for sustainability in different BE value chains based on the expert survey
Bioeconomy sector Final product(s)/main
technology pathway(s)
Main feedstock or
feedstock group
Main sustainability risk(s) Risk level /
significance
Bioenergy Biofuels (focus on biodiesel,
bioethanol and biomethane)
Oilseed crops LUC and ILUC high
a
Starch and sugar crops Deforestation
Food price increase
Biodiversity loss (by expanding
cultivation area and by
intensification)
Water quality (leaching of
nutrients)
Lignocellulosic energy crops Deforestation high
a
Biodiversity loss (by expanding
crop cultivation areas)
Wastes and residues Creation of competing uses
due to the introduction of
strong policy incentives.
low
Heat & power Lignocellulosic energy crops Deforestation medium to high
Heat (small scale units) Lignocellulosic energy crops Biodiversity loss (by expanding
cultivation areas)
Air quality
Forestry Buildings and industrial
applications
Timber Illegal logging causing
deforestation
high
Biodiversity loss
Negative impacts on local
communities (imported wood)
Paper and board Labour conditions in producing
countries
Construction Construction materials,
fibreboards, thermal insulation
Timber Illegal logging causing
deforestation
low to medium
b
Biodiversity loss
Non-certified import from other
countries or poor certification
processes
Negative impacts on local
communities (at least on
imported wood)
Fibre crops (hemp, flax) Competition with food/feed
production
low
Food & Feed Plant-based food & feed Grains Rice Biodiversity loss high
Soil erosion
Decrease in soil and water
quality (nutrients leaching)
Impact of fertilisers and
pesticides
Oilseed crops LUC and ILUC causing
deforestation
low to high
Sugar crops Land use rights
Higher food prices
Textiles Garments, fabric, carpets,
geotextiles, etc.
Cotton High input of energy, water
and agrochemicals
high
LUC and ILUC (cultivation)
Labour conditions in producing
countries
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 12 of 19
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sustainability were identified and none relating to
economic risks (Table 5).
Environmental, social and economic impacts may
occur along the entire life cycle of a BE product. In
our analysis, the experts perceived major
environmental sustainability risks which are, to an
increasing degree, linked to the feedstock production
(Table 5).
Overall, most frequently mentioned risks were
biodiversity loss, deforestation, land use change,
indirect land use change, food price increase and
illegal logging (in the order mentioned). As these
risks are mostly associated with the biomass
cultivation and do not depend on end-uses, the
differences between the different BE sectors are
moderate, meaning there is no hot spot sector or a
sector without any risk. The lowest risk levels were
assigned to value chains, which are assumed to
mostly source feedstock regionally (or at least)
within Europe. A comparatively small and local risk
(use and leakage of chemicals during the production)
was perceived for the pharmacy sector.
Food and feed crops (oil, starch and sugar crops)
were predominantly assessed to be associated with a
high risk level. Wastes and residues, as well as algae
and fibre crops were the type of biomass assessed
with the lowest risk level.
The relevance of the main risk areas identified is
also dependent on the geographical focus of the
respective value chain of a bio-based product. This
aspect was also part of the discussion with the
experts. For the transportation biofuel sector, some
of the most critically discussed sustainability risks
associated with feedstock supply were related to
biomass produced in Southeast Asia and some
Latin-American countries. It was generally assessed
that there is a perception of risk that feedstock
contribute to the loss of native forests in the tropics.
For the major sustainability risks highlighted in
relation to the use of forest biomass, there seems to
be an unequal distribution of the assessed risks
around the globe, with risks assessed to be higher in
developing regions.
Inventory of BE relevant policies and strategies
The selected policy and strategy documents, which were
found relevant for further analysis based on the defined
criteria for selection, are given in Table 1and Table 2.
The analysed policies took effect between 2001 and
2018. For a better overview, the selection was separated
according to the strength of their commitment. Thus, 32
(64% of the sample) strategies, roadmaps, action plans,
guidances and documents referred to as reportwere
compiled in Table 1. As a second group, 18 documents
(36% of the sample) considered to have mandatory char-
acter were categorised as policies, ordinances, regula-
tions, directives and decisions (Table 2). Twenty-two of
the documents were EU documents valid in all member
states. As well, this selection included national docu-
ments from 14 different EU member states.
Table 5 Major identified risk perceptions for sustainability in different BE value chains based on the expert survey (Continued)
Bioeconomy sector Final product(s)/main
technology pathway(s)
Main feedstock or
feedstock group
Main sustainability risk(s) Risk level /
significance
Chemicals use and leakage
(production)
Fibre crops (flax, hemp) Competition with food/feed
production
low
Wool Competition with food/feed
production
low
Labour conditions in producing
countries
Chemicals and Plastics Bioplastics, packaging
materials, bottles, bags, mulch
film, biolubricants, biopolymers
Starch and sugar crops End of life & reuse high
Oilseed crops Same as bioenergy same as bioenergy
Pharmacy Medicine applications &
pharmaceuticals
Plants Chemical use and leakage
(production)
medium
Algae
Materials/ Products Cardboard, filters, cords Fibre crops (hemp, flax) Competition with food/feed
production
low
Biocomposites Lignocellulosic crops Same as bioenergy same as bioenergy
EoL end of life, LUC land use change, ILUC indirect land use change
a
Depending on the cultivation region
b
It is low to medium, because of the amount of feedstock used at the moment, but pressure on raw material will grow when demand for bio-construction
products grow
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To initially characterise this sample, the table shows
general information in the left columns and more spe-
cific and topic related information in the right columns.
Moreover, the influence of the policy documents on
companies was characterised by a differentiation be-
tween direct influence,indirect influenceand no in-
fluence. In this context, directly influencing policies are
characterised by a certain level of obligation to fulfil sus-
tainability requirements and punishment for not fulfill-
ing those, respectively. Indirect influence means that a
voluntary implementation of sustainability principles or
criteria will be rewarded, which includes incentivising
policies as well. Non-influencing policies are expected to
have no effect on companies in any way.
The relevant documents cover a broad spectrum of
topics, as can be seen from Table 1and Table 2. This re-
flects the broad scope of the BE. There are documents
dedicated to the BE in general, on the one hand. On the
other hand, there are more specific ones. These policies
mostly focus on biomass resources (e.g. forest, agricul-
ture, waste) and biomass utilisation (e.g. energy, bio-
based products). Additionally, a third category can be
assigned to cross-cutting issues, e.g. circular economy
and waste management. Moreover, a multitude of strat-
egies, roadmaps, action plans, etc., on BE is available on
EU level and on national level in several EU member
states (Table 1).
The inventory exemplifies the focus on sustainability
whilst distinguishing between the three sustainability di-
mensions (Table 1, Table 2). A comprehensive consider-
ation of environmental, economic and social aspects has
only been found for 12 of the 50 documents.
The inventory for our analysis of less compulsory BE
policy documents included 32 documents on EU and
member state level (Table 1). Interestingly, a first screen-
ing of the documents showed that the majority include
references to sustainability requirements as well as refer-
ences to tools, such as sustainability certification.
Obviously, most of the documents listed in Table 2
were characterised as mandatory. Many of them cover
very specific topics (e.g. regulation on animal by-
products). Compared to the documents given in Table 1,
more policy documents have an EU wide geographical
scope. Additionally, more policy documents were char-
acterised as having direct or indirect influence on com-
panies. Characteristics with regard to sustainability and
sustainability assessment will be further elaborated in
the following section.
Inclusion of sustainability and certification in the policy
documents analysed (quantitative evaluation)
From all documents analysed, less than one quarter had
a mandatory character. Policy documents were screened
according to the presence of specific targets or goals
with respect to the topic of the policy, which appears to
differ substantially. The identified targets and goals
ranged from quantitative and very precisely formulated
ones, e.g. meeting 40% of energy needs through biofuels
by 2020(no. 47 in Table 2) to rather general, qualitative
ones, e.g. engaging in circular low-carbon economy
(no. 22 in Table 1). The bigger part (72%) of all analysed
documents included targets. Only half of the mentioned
targets were found to be measurable (Table 4).
With respect to the influence of the policy frameworks
on companies, the results showed that the overall influ-
ence seems to be limited, as 50% of the documents were
classified to have no influence. A share of 24% of the
documents was considered to have direct influence and
26% to have indirect influence.
Sustainability requirements were included in some policy
documents. These requirements are mostly not mandatory
to follow but have rather a guiding character. The presence
of the requirements was assessed in order to describe the
significance of certain sustainability aspects in certain areas.
In 56% of the policy documents, requirements were in-
cluded. They are shown below, depending on the fre-
quency they occurred in the documents, in which climate
changeand waste/end-of-life aspectswere found to be
the most frequently occurring (Fig. 2). Two more observa-
tions were made. When relating the criteria to one of the
three sustainability pillars (economic, social and environ-
mental), requirements from the environmental pillar were
predominant, whilst social and economic requirements
were less well represented. Furthermore, in some cases no
specific, individual requirements were included, but refer-
ence was made to established sets of requirements or
established certification schemes, respectively. RED criteria
and criteria of the PEFC/FSC were frequently found as an
element of policy documents. In 72% of the analysed docu-
ments, explicit reference was made to sustainability assess-
ment or certification (Table 4).
Qualitative evaluation of sustainability requirements in
the policy frameworks
Generally, perceived major sustainability risks in BE
value chains (Table 5) showed a high overlap with the
requirements identified in the analysed policy sample
(Table 1and Table 2). At a first glance, there is no direct
match between perceived risk and policy requirement
identifiable for some cases. However, land use change
causing deforestation, for instance, will result in ele-
vated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and, therefore,
indirectly concerns the policy requirement climate pro-
tection. The analysis of the frequency with which sus-
tainability requirements occur in policy documents does
not allow for any conclusions regarding the adequacy of
the considerations of major sustainability risks within
thepolicyframeworks.Tofurthertacklethisproblem,a
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qualitative evaluation (Table 6) was undertaken for the four
requirements that were most commonly found (Fig. 2)in
the initial screening of the policy documents via the
templates.
Some of the four requirements overlap with each other.
The RED criteriaare treated as a criteria set. This
set also includes the criterion prohibiting support for bio-
fuels obtained from land with high biodiversity value in
the EU market (RED Article17 (3.) [12]). In addition, the
GHG emissions saving criterion in the RED supports
climate protection and adaption to climate change.
Although the four requirements in Table 6are frequently
included in the analysed policy documents (Fig. 2), we
found no requirements which are mandatory, when evalu-
ating the context. The most strict sustainability require-
ment was found in the RED. Even these criteria are in fact
not mandatory, as non-compliant biofuels and bioliquids
are still allowed on the EU market. For financial support
mechanisms and the fulfilment of quotas obligations, con-
formity with RED is a precondition.
Most requirements are worded very airy. In the major-
ity of cases however, the intention to be supportive of a
more sustainable development with respect to the re-
quirements is expressed. Also, statements to promote
more sustainable practices are given. But it is not clear
how that should precisely be achieved. Details, e.g.
thresholds or indicators, which could verify any progress
towards fulfilment were not found (Table 6).
There are many soft wordings, e.g. systematic use of
LCA is promotedor CO
2
emission reduction should
be quantified. These can be laid-out with lower or
higher ambition. On the other hand, RED serves as an
example for a systematic use of GHG emissions saving
requirement. These criteria have a life cycle approach,
are well operationalised, clear and can be adopted for
target-oriented purposes.
Discussion and conclusions
In this paper, we studied existing BE policy frameworks
and which are the sustainability aspects included. Fur-
thermore, the analysed frameworks have been discussed
in context of a set of perceived sustainability risks for
the BE identified by experts.
There is a high number of policy documents forming
the frameworks for sustainability adopted for the BE. An
in-depth analysis of a sample of these documents re-
vealed that many different sustainability requirements
are currently already included. These primarily address
Fig. 2 Sustainability requirements included in the analysed policy document sample (n= 50) against the frequency of the requirement. In 56% of
the analysed documents, requirements were included (EoL, end of life; RED, Renewable Energy Directive)
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 15 of 19
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the environmental sustainability dimension. The results
of the survey on sustainability risk perceptions showed
no specific hot spot in individual BE sectors which
should be prioritised in order to prevent severe risks as-
sociated with the further development of the BE. Instead,
the results highlight the biomass production stage as
most associative for the perception of sustainability risks.
Sustainability requirements in policy documents and the
perceived sustainability risks were found to be largely
overlapping, which indicates that perceived risks are ad-
dressed by the frameworks in the first instance. How-
ever, a qualitative analysis of the context, in which the
requirements are embedded, showed overall low con-
creteness and vague wording of the requirements.
Our study on BE relevant policy documents showed
the difficulty of precisely evaluating the consideration of
sustainability concerns in the policy frameworks. We
argue that the current presentation of sustainability as-
pects in the documents is one important reason. In
many cases, there seems to be no clear demarcation be-
tween the concepts of bioeconomy,bio-based econ-
omy,orcircular economy. For that reason, we did not
limit our analysis to policy documents referring to
bioeconomyonly. Even for bioeconomy, there is no
clear, commonly accepted definition [16], which must be
considered to be a disadvantage, because it can be unclear
which sectors are subsumed under one of the mentioned
terms. Amongst others, this impacts the coherence of
system boundaries for the proposed policy targets. The
reason for the lack of common terminologies, as well as
the potential lack of a coherent BE policy framework,
might partly stem from the historic development of
the different BE sectors. Moreover, the sheer scope of
the relevant policy fields might be another reason.
Table 6 Qualitative evaluation of most frequently included sustainability requirements in the analysed document sample
Sustainability
requirement
Fitting perceived
sustainability risk
(Table 5)
Context around sustainability requirements (identifier
of policy documents according to Table 1and Table 2
in brackets)
Evaluation
RED criteriaLUC and ILUC,
Biodiversity loss,
Deforestation
Intention to extend RED criteria to other
sectors (32,10,50), implementation of
European legislation on national level (24),
fulfillment of criteria are precondition for
financial support and quota obligations in EU
member states (37), amendment to 37 (38),
statement, that does not express sustainability
ambition on top of existing legislation (13)
Besides documents referring to the origin
of the criteria (RED), only intentions for
further implementation or extension to
other sectors are declared.
Climate protection and
adaption to climate
change
Deforestation, LUC
and ILUC
Systematic use of LCA, including total GHG
emissions, is promoted (19), materials should be
assessed for impacts, incl. GHG emissions, CO
2
emission reduction should be quantified (30, 11),
minimum requirements (e.g. positive climate
balance) are recommended (13), reducing total
GHG emissions (48), climate protection as area
of action (14)
The requirements are associated with
GHG emission reduction. Particular
emission saving targets or obligations for
emission reductions are missing.
Protection of
biodiversity
Biodiversity loss,
Deforestation, Illegal
logging
Protection of biodiversity (48) and nature
conservationas area of action (14), review of an
assessment of indirect effects and impacts on
biodiversity (38)
Very broad requirements, in which precise
provisions to protect biodiversity are
not included
Waste and by-product
management and EoL
options
End of life and reuse Maximization of (organic) residual and waste
stream utilization and recycling for the closure
of circuits (12), systematic use of LCA
(considering waste and by product management
and EoL options) is promoted to assess
environmental benefits of biobased products
(19), Public bodies should consider recyclability
and disposal when procuring construction
materials and maximize the use of recycled,
recyclable material when procuring textiles
(reference to guidelines) (47), waste prevention
(no specification) (49), inner circle approaches
such as reuse, repair, redistribution,
remanufacturing ahead of recycling and energy
recovery (27), recommendation of closed
material cycle for raw materials as min.
requirement (13), new rules shall be proposed
which encourage reuse activities(1), curb
microplastic pollution, support recycling (6)
Statements, that describe mainly the
intention to achieve a more circular
economy, but details, thresholds, timelines
or similar are not included
The frequency of sustainability requirements is given in Fig. 2
EoL end of life, LUC land use change, ILUC indirect land use change
Moosmann et al. Energy, Sustainability and Society (2020) 10:22 Page 16 of 19
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Private governance tools evolved and have been widely
applied, for example in co-regulation as a means for docu-
menting compliance with RED in the recent past. As a
result, groundwork for combining public and private regu-
lation is available [17] and various forms of co-regulation
have been expanding during the last decade [18]. Several
sustainability certification schemes have been recognised
by the European Commission and have been applied for
the purpose of RED over the last decade [19].
The groundwork also includes particular standards
aiming at compiling sustainability criteria and indicators
for bioenergy (DIN ISO 13065) and bio-based products
(EN 16751) [20,21]. These standards can be used to ease
the comparability of different processes or entire value
chains with respect to their sustainability performance.
However, their relevance in practice seems very low. In
our analysis of policy documents, we did not find that
sustainability requirements aligned with these standards,
by direct reference to them.
Even though there is potential for harmonisation
amongst different certification and assessment systems,
the general availability of sustainability criteria and indi-
cators applicable to BE value chains is high [17]. In the
context of certification, criteria are usually presented in
a very clear manner, as they need to be verifiable.
In our analysis, we found very imprecisely formulated
requirements in many policy documents. Therefore, we
see the preliminary work from the non-governmental
governance activities as very relevant for the enhance-
ment of sustainability governance in policies. Harmon-
isation of terminologies, definitions, criteria, indicators,
etc. could provide a common language [22], beneficial
for the development of more sustainable markets within
the BE. Policy making could, therefore, make use of the
previous developments of certification schemes and
standards targeting a harmonised presentation of sus-
tainability aspects in policy documents.
There is literature available focusing on, at least in
parts, risks to sustainability in the context of a develop-
ing BE or of bio-based value chains. Studies cover differ-
ent qualitative and quantitative methods, but mostly
focus on specific BE sectors [2325] instead of the BE as
a whole. Diez at al. illustrated risks by aligning them to
the SDGs covering food security, poverty/inequality,
natural resources, health and climate change [10]. Most
frequently, perceived risks in our study cover climate
change and biodiversity loss, which can be considered two
of the most important environmental problems requiring
immediate and determined action on all levels [26,27].
The quantitative analysis of the policy frameworks indeed
showed that these challenges are, in a way, addressed. The
qualitative analysis, however, revealed that the analysed
frameworks clearly lack ambitious sustainability require-
ments to approach these challenges in an effective way.
In our limited discussion of risks, food and feed crops
were generally associated with a higher risk level (Table 5).
This seems to be well considered within the policy frame-
works, as within the scope of the revised Renewable Energy
Directive (RED II), where the support of biofuels derived
from food and feed crops will be limited to the 2020
consumption (plus 1%) with a maximum at 7% of the final
energy consumption in the transport sector (within each
EU member state) [28].
Our survey on perceived sustainability risks in BE sec-
tors suggests that, across all value chains, sustainability
provisions at the biomass production stage should be
strengthened. The importance of biomass cultivation in
this regard is well in line with several LCA studies inves-
tigating potential environmental impacts of bio-based
products and bioenergy, which unfold the biomass pro-
duction stage as the most influential stage along the life
cycle (e.g. [27]). The existing sustainability criteria for li-
quid biofuels in the EU, as included in the RED, address
the cultivation of biomass in particular. These RED cri-
teria were found to be the only concrete and purpose-
oriented criteria in the qualitative analysis of sustainability
requirements in the analysed policy documents. A way to
ensure a sustainable development of the BE suggests,
therefore, the application of similar basic criteria (e.g.
based on the RED criteria) for all uses of biomass [2931].
From these considerations, the question of how basic
biomass cultivation criteria should be implemented still
remains. Since 2009, sustainability criteria for liquid bio-
fuels in the EU have been implemented with a co-
regulative approach, meaning that compliance with the
criteria is verified by private organisations with voluntary
schemes recognised by the European Commission [19].
This governance method has proven to work and will be
continued during the RED II validity period 20212030
[28]. With that, do the RED sustainability criteria have a
real impact towards higher levels of sustainability?
There are only few studies on the impact of the RED.
Frank et al. concluded that RED has a small or even no ef-
fect, due to leakage effects caused by indirect land use
change, as only one single sector is addressed [32]. Further-
more, there are doubts on the accuracy of the GHG calcu-
lation methodology [33]. It is also questioned whether the
consideration of GHG emission savings as a sole life cycle
impact category is sufficient or if additional impact categor-
ies, such as eutrophication or acidification, should be taken
into account as well [34]. More studies on the effect of the
RED should be conducted.
The RED II expands the scope of the sustainability cri-
teria as it includes the bioheat and bioelectricity sectors
[28]. This will not prevent leakage effects from continu-
ing to happen. But an expansion of the scope to all bio-
based value chains seems to be unrealistic in the near
future. It seems, therefore, the only option is to extend
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common criteria sector by sector. When doing this, the
RED II criteria need to be further developed in parallel,
considering the current state of knowledge relevant to
the added sectors.
In the end, a mix of private and public governance in-
struments, with their strengths on different levels, might
be critical to achieve more sustainable value chains [35].
Other than that, accompanying instruments, such as pub-
lic procurement, labelling or cross-national agreements on
specific sustainability criteria should be supported.
In terms of overall sustainability governance in the BE,
a learning monitoring system considering major sustain-
ability risks, policy targets and consistent sustainability
criteria should be implemented on the highest inter-
national level possible. This system should be reviewed
and adapted regularly, taking the latest scientific devel-
opments and political priorities into account and adjust-
ing policy targets and sustainability criteria accordingly.
Abbreviations
BBP: Bio-based product; BE: Bioeconomy; EoL: End of life; FSC: Forest
Stewardship Council; GBEP: Global Bioenergy Partnership; GHG: Greenhouse
gas; GSI: GBEP sustainability indicators; ILUC: Indirect land use change;
LCA: Life cycle assessment; LUC: Land use change; PEFC: Programme for the
Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes; RED: Renewable Energy
Directive; RED II: Revised Renewable Energy Directive; SDG: Sustainable
Development Goal; UN: United Nations
Authorscontributions
DM planned and conducted the analysis and prepared the manuscript. SM
was involved in the development of the conceptual approach for the
manuscript and its preparation. SU critically reviewed the manuscript and
provided valuable input with regard to co-regulation. SW and LL critically
reviewed the manuscript and provided valuable input with regard to the
standardisation. DT contributed to the critical reading of the draft manuscript
and provided valuable input for the final manuscript. The authors read and
approved the final manuscript.
Authorsinformation
DM is a research associate in the working group applied sustainability
assessmentat DBFZ - Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gGmbH. SM
leads the working group applied sustainability assessmentat DBFZ. SU is
co-founder of SQ Consult. LL and SW are researchers at the Fachgebiet
Innovation Economics at TU Berlin. DT leads the DBFZ department Bioe-
nergy Systemsand the UFZ department Bioenergy.
Funding
This paper is based on analysis carried out in the EU funded H2020 project
Sustainability Transition Assessment and Research of Bio-based Products
(STAR ProBio) (Grant Agreement Number 727740).
Availability of data and materials
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this
published article and its supplementary information files.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Not applicable.
Consent for publication
Not applicable.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Author details
1
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, Permoserstraße 15,
04318 Leipzig, Germany.
2
SQ Consult, P.O. Box 8239, 3503 RE Utrecht, The
Netherlands.
3
Department of Innovation Economics, Technische Universität
Berlin, Marchstraße, 10587 Berlin, Germany.
4
Deutsches
Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ), Torgauer Straße 116, 04347 Leipzig,
Germany.
Received: 28 January 2019 Accepted: 25 March 2020
Supplementary information
Supplementary information accompanies this paper at https://doi.org/10.
1186/s13705-020-00251-8.
Additional file 1.
Additional file 2.
Author details
Supplementary information accompanies this paper at https://doi.org/10.
1186/s13705-020-00251-8.
1
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ,
Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany.
2
SQ Consult, P.O. Box 8239, 3503
RE Utrecht, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Innovation Economics,
Technische Universität Berlin, Marchstraße, 10587 Berlin, Germany.
4
Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ), Torgauer Straße 116, 04347
Leipzig, Germany.
Received: 28 January 2019 Accepted: 25 March 2020
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Full article at: http://www.uagrm.edu.bo/centros/iies/upload/files/repec/grm/ecoyun/201712.pdf
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