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Certification criteria for sustainable biomass for energy

Ladanai, Svetlana and Vinterbäck, Johan (2010). Certification criteria for sustainable biomass for energy. Technical Report. Uppsala: (NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet. Rapport / Institutionen för energi och teknik, SLU ; 026

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Rising energy prices, geopolitics as well as concerns over increasing oil prices, national
security, and the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on global climate change are driving
large-scale efforts to implement bioenergy alternatives. Biomass fuels offer many new
opportunities, but if not managed carefully, they may also carry significant risks. Biomass in
this context is non-fossil material of biological origin from forest, energy crops, agriculture
and different kind of wastes.

Markets for energy generated from biomass are expanding at a fast pace. Sustainable use of
biomass as an energy source requires comprehensive management of natural, social and
economic resources. Establishing certification schemes is a possible strategy to ensure that
bioenergy is produced in a sustainable manner.

At this time, a clear certification of traded biomass is needed. Different types of certification
systems, international standards and initiatives relevant to biomass production already exist.
However, an analysis of the experience gained with these systems, reveal that they are not
effective to monitor and manage all effects of biomass production for energy. There is no
international consensus on universal sustainability requirements and the inclusion or
exclusion of certain exemplary criteria is one of the difficulties of setting up a certification

The role of certification efforts in this report is to participate in creation of a global market for
sustainable biomass fuels and in extension sustainable bioenergy. In attempt to support the
development of an implementable international certification scheme for sustainable biomass
production, the existing Forest Certification Schemes were evaluated against environmental
sustainability through 15 indicators and against social and economic sustainability through 19
indicators identified from literature. The set of principles and criteria suggested is the final
result of sampling, evaluation, filtering and completion following a review of literature,
analysis of the activity and experience in forestry as well as in the other sectors.

PRINCIPLE 1: Biomass shall be produced in an environmentally responsible way. Principle 1
is covered by the following criteria: the use of chemicals; forest/land management planning;
forest/land monitoring; maintenance of biological diversity; protection of areas of high
ecological value; protection of the soil and prevention of erosion; protection or enhancement
of water quality and regeneration following harvesting.

PRINCIPLE 2: Sustainable management of social capital. Principle 2 is covered by the
following criteria: recognition and respect for the customary and traditional rights of
indigenous/local people; protecting the health and safety of employees; provision of
information to increase public awareness of forest management planning, forest operations
and/or forest outcomes; protection of areas of particular historic, cultural or spiritual value
and the rights of children.

PRINCIPLE 3: Biomass production shall be economically viable. Principle 3 is covered by
the criterion: maintenance or enhancement of the economic viability of operations.

The proposed system has a hierarchical structure in which the overall task of avoiding
unsustainable biomass is translated into three principles. Each of the principles is designed to
ensure that biomass is produced in accordance with sustainability requirements. The goal of
the principles is to promote environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically
viable management of the biomass-for-energy production systems, by establishing a
worldwide standard of recognized and respected Principles of Biomass Certification System.
Each principle is in the next hierarchical level guaranteed by a number of workable
sustainability criteria.

Authors/Creators:Ladanai, Svetlana and Vinterbäck, Johan
Title:Certification criteria for sustainable biomass for energy
Series Name/Journal:Rapport / Institutionen för energi och teknik, SLU
Year of publishing :December 2010
Number of Pages:38
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Institutionen för energi och teknik, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Additional Information:Document changed on April 6 2011
Publication Type:Report
Article category:Other scientific
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:Obsolete subject words > INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS > Technology and social change
Obsolete subject words > TECHNOLOGY > Bioengineering
Keywords:biomass for energy, certification, sustainability
Permanent URL:
ID Code:5581
Faculty:NL - Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (until 2013)
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
Deposited By: Svetlana Ladanai
Deposited On:18 Jan 2011 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:08 Sep 2017 10:54

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