The Challenge

Sustainability certification schemes and eco-labels are fundamental tools to ensure the sustainability of global production.  Although their role in European bioeconomy has grown over the last few decades, still there are a lot of challenges that needs to be addressed in order to be further adopted in the market:

  • Different approaches of certification schemes regarding the system operating requirements (e.g sustainability criteria, verification procedures etc)
  • Challenging for businesses to select and identify the schemes that are most credible
  • Different schemes/labels put emphasis on different environmental impacts of the products
  • Eco-labels and schemes are voluntary; therefore, their adoption depends on the benefits that could bring to the companies (economic benefits, social responsibility etc)

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 has designed a solid methodological approach to support the wider adoption of certification schemes and labels for biobased products in European industries.

The steps that will be followed through the duration of the project:

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