The Challenge

Sustainability certification schemes and eco-labels play a crucial role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of global production. In the context of the European bioeconomy, their significance has grown over the last few decades. However, there remain several challenges that need to be addressed for these schemes to gain further traction in the market:

  • Diverse Approaches: Certification schemes vary in their system operating requirements, including sustainability criteria and verification procedures.
  • Credibility Concerns: Businesses find it challenging to identify the most credible and effective certification schemes.
  • Focus on Different Impacts: Different schemes and labels prioritize various environmental impacts of products, causing confusion among consumers.
  • Voluntary Adoption: Since eco-labels and schemes are voluntary, their adoption depends on the perceived benefits to companies, such as economic gains and social responsibility

In order to ensure the transition to circular biobased systems occurs sustainably, it is important that effective and robust schemes and labels get implemented and further adopted. Moreover, the recognition of the benefits of sustainability certification schemes and labels is needed for their wider adoption by the European industries.

The concept

SUSTCERT4BIOBASED aims to develop the necessary support instruments (knowledge, data, tools etc.)  and conclude on key recommendations and best practices that will be communicated to critical stakeholders:

Government and policy makers

Provide data and figures on trade of the biological resources and biobased materials and their level of certification

Monitoring system that can be integrated into the policy process to improve the effectiveness and robustness of  schemes/labels

Sustainability system community

Identification of potential weaknesses of their schemes

Enhance the performance of their schemes/labels, accordingly while not compromising their usability and complexity


Raise awareness of the existing certification schemes and labels

Provide proof of the costs and benefits of their adoption

Regional bioeconomy stakeholders

Recommendations of how to implement the best practices and adopt them in their bioeconomy strategies

The approach

SUSTCERT4BIOBASED follows a comprehensive and well-defined methodological approach to facilitate the wider adoption of certification schemes and labels for biobased products in European industries.

Our approach includes the following steps:

The project begins with a systematic review of the existing certification schemes and labels. SUSTCERT4BIOBASED will follow a holistic sustainability approach and will examine the schemes in 4 different dimensions: 1) environmental 2) social 3) economic 4) governance

Currently a mapping of the current situation in global trade flows of biological resources and biobased products is missing. SUSTCERT4BIOBASED will fill this gap by gathering information and creating a database of the imports and exports from the EU, the geographical distribution, as well as the status regarding their certification.

In order to ensure the effectiveness and robustness of the schemes, and promote a comprehensive system, SUSTCERT4BIOBASED will develop a monitoring system to assess the existing certification schemes and labels. The monitoring framework will also define the minimum requirements that a scheme should address.

Companies and industries find it difficult to select among the existing certification schemes and labels. SUSTCERT4BIOBASED will facilitate this process by identifying the best-in-class schemes/labels. The monitoring framework will be used in order to assess the existing schemes/labels, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and identify the ones that show the best performance.

The costs and benefits from the adoption of certification schemes and labels will be assessed on three selected biobased value chains. SUSTCERT4BIOBASED aspires that the new information will boost their adoption by the industry.

Project Factsheet

Project title: Sustainability Certification for Biobased Systems

Project acronym: SUSTCERT4BIOBASED



Grant Agreement nº: 101059785

Duration: 36 months

Total cost: 1,999,750.00