The role of sustainability requirements in international bioenergy markets
Book chapter, 2014
As the main driver for bioenergy is to enable society to transform to more sustainable fuel and energy production systems, it is important to safeguard that bioenergy deployment happens within certain sustainability constraints. There is currently a high number of initiatives, including binding regulations and several voluntary sustainability standards for biomass, bioenergy and/or biofuels. Within IEA Bioenergy studies were performed to monitor the actual implementation process of sustainability regulations and certification, evaluate how stakeholders are affected and envisage the anticipated impact on worldwide markets and trade. On the basis of these studies, recommendations were made on how sustainability requirements could actually support further bioenergy deployment. Markets would gain from more harmonization and cross-compliance. A common language is needed as 'sustainability' of biomass involves different policy arenas and legal settings. Policy pathways should be clear and predictable, and future revisions of sustainability requirements should be open and transparent. Sustainability assurance systems (both through binding regulations and voluntary certification) should take into account how markets work, in relation to different biomass applications (avoiding discrimination among end-uses and users). It should also take into account the way investment decisions are taken, administrative requirements for smallholders, and the position of developing countries.