New Supergen Bioenergy Hub report assesses sustainability standards for sectors utilising bio-based and low-carbon feedstocks

With the urgent need to mitigate climate change, protect the environment, support economic development and improve the welfare and wellbeing of societies, the concept of bioeconomy becomes increasingly important.

However, the transition from a fossil fuel to a bio-based economy and society needs to consider the sustainability implications of biomass use to enable benefits and mitigate negative impacts in the short-, medium-, and long-term across all sectors and for the whole of society. Such a transition and long-term targets are only possible with the support of institutional and regulatory frameworks. These should incentivise sustainable products, practices and services; create a fair market; allow just access to resources, products and services; and prevent, if not prohibit, negative impacts.

Within the current landscape of biomass-utilising industries, different sectors have regulatory frameworks with different ways of accounting for climate change and sustainability impacts. In light of the growing importance of renewable bio-based resources and materials, it is essential that the same emission standards and sustainability criteria are established across all sectors and are harmonised where appropriate and possible. This will serve to avoid market distortions and unintended negative environmental and social impacts, plus ensuring the establishment of a fair, transparent and competitive market for businesses and end-users.

The latest Supergen Bioenergy Hub report “Harmonising greenhouse gas and sustainability criteria for low-carbon transport fuels, bioenergy and other bio-based sectors” was prepared by Costanza Cucuzzella (Aston University), Andrew Welfle (University of Manchester) and Mirjam Röder (Aston University), and is the output of a joint project between the Hub and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP). The work was funded by a Hub Rapid Response Fund.

The report reviews and compares the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and sustainability standards for sectors utilising bio-based and low-carbon feedstocks. This will support a better understanding of the current UK policy and governance frameworks for different sectors. Based on this, a harmonisation framework for the GHG emissions and sustainable standards for the bio-based sectors is being developed, aiming to support a fair cross-sectoral approach for feedstock use and enable best biomass use and sustainability across all bio-based sectors.

Download the report and accompanying briefing note below.

The report is available here.

The briefing note is available here.

All enquiries related to this publication should be sent to: supergen-bioenergy@aston.ac.uk

About the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP)

The LowCVP, established in 2003, is a public-private partnership working to accelerate a sustainable shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and create opportunities for UK business. Around 200 organisations are engaged from diverse backgrounds including automotive and fuel supply chains, vehicle users, academics, environment groups and others.