Since 2010 the EC has been working on extending the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) sustainability criteria established for biofuels and bioliquids to solid and gaseous biomass. A proposal of the EC for an amendment was published, but is currently put on hold. No sustainability criteris for solid and gaseous biomass are planned on the European level until 2020.

The development of EC policies and strategies in relation to the sustainability of solid biomass will be closely monitored and the project activities will be adapted accordingly.

On the other hand, the future technology developments (2nd generation biofuels, biorefineries) will allow converting various biomass feedstock into products for several end-uses (e.g. electricity for transport, combined fuel/electricity supply, etc.). Thus, it will become necessary that all biomass feedstock and conversion processes leading to different end-uses are subject to the same sustainability considerations to avoid market distortions.

During the last years, many certification initiatives for assuring sustainability were established and promoted (i.e. voluntary schemes recognized by the EC or voluntary forest certification schemes). The proliferation of schemes, developed with different scopes and, hence, with various degrees of “sustainability”, creates confusion in the markets and could be a “sustainability leakage”.

Global and comprehensive schemes such as those developed by GBEP, ISCC, ISO, RSB and GEF are in place. They present different goals and different social, environmental and technical factors. On the other hand, research has been carried out in order to extend the applicability of the RED to all biomass resources, and end uses.

However, new scientific evidence indicates that sustainability risks of bioenergy production could be assessed in a holistic approach, applicable at the European level. These new considerations include, for example, the carbon balance of forest bioenergy and the competition with other biomass uses.

Thus, all these factors and the ongoing discussions on requirements for biomaterials (e.g. INRO in Germany, discussions in NL and BE, BIOCORE) will be considered in order to broaden the view to the “bioeconomy”. In addition, the operability of the set of criteria proposed (e.g., excluding small-scale activities or simplifying the scheme in low-risk areas) will be carefully examined.

BioTrade2020plus activities will:

  • elaborate the guidelines for assessing the sustainability risks per type of biomass resource in every focus region,
  • develop a comprehensive list of relevant indicators at project level for all biomass, processes and end-uses, and
  • take into account social, economic, environmental as well as political and institutional considerations will be taken into account.


BioTrade2020plus Sustainability Reports for download (June 2015)

Report on Availability and Sustainable Potentials (D2.1) (download)

Guidelines for the sustainability assessment of biomass resources to conduct the SWOT analysis and to develop the interactive tool of WP 4 (D2.2) (download)

Report on the Assessment of Criteria and Indicators in Existing Sustainability Schemes for Lignocellulosic Feedstock - Main Report (D2.3) (download)

Report on the Assessment of Criteria and Indicators in Existing Sustainability Schemes for Lignocellulosic Feedstock - Annex (D2.3) (download)

BioTrade2020plus Approach to Sustainability (D2.4) (download)

Report on the Issues Conditioning the Operability of the Sustainability Schemes Including the Impact on Costs - Draft Report (D2.5) (download)