Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.3390/su152316303
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) A review of trade-offs in low ILUC-risk certification for biofuels—Towards an integrated assessment framework
Author Sumfleth, B.; Majer, S.; Thrän, D.
Source Titel Sustainability
Year 2023
Volume 15
Issue 23
Page From art. 16303
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords additionality; assessment; biobased economy; biomass; certification; gap analysis; low ILUC-risk; sustainability; trade-off
Abstract Indirect land use change (ILUC) is considered a significant challenge, resulting from an increasing demand for biomass and bioenergy. On a political level sustainability certification of biomass-derived products is discussed as one potential instrument to manage the risk of ILUC. However, extending existing schemes towards a credible and reliable certification approach to account for ILUC-risks is still an open challenge. To develop such a certification instrument, so-called “additionality practices” are gaining relevance. Such practices include measures that an individual producer can adopt to provide an amount of biomass in addition to the business-as-usual feedstock production. This applies in particular to the certification of low ILUC-risk biofuels through voluntary certification schemes recognised by the European Commission. To date, however, no studies have been conducted that examine how such schemes account for potential trade-offs that may arise from the use of additionality practices. In preparation of an integrated assessment framework for low ILUC-risk certification, this study presents a gap analysis that examines whether such trade-offs are considered already in existing sustainability certification schemes for biofuels. In this way, we have found trade-offs that are preferentially addressed by the schemes, e.g., biodiversity loss, on the one hand, and considerable gaps for certain trade-offs, e.g., resource depletion, on the other. In addition, we identified biomass cultivation on unused land as the most promising additionality practice. Most schemes already have certification instruments in place to verify the large number of trade-offs that could be identified as preferentially addressed for this additionality practice. Moreover, only a few new criteria and indicators need to be developed for the small number of gaps found for biomass cultivation on unused land. Finally, this paper recommends future work to verify the scientific evidence of existing certification instruments for the trade-offs addressed and to develop assessment approaches for the identified gaps.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Sumfleth, B., Majer, S., Thrän, D. (2023):
A review of trade-offs in low ILUC-risk certification for biofuels—Towards an integrated assessment framework
Sustainability 15 (23), art. 16303 10.3390/su152316303