On June 26, 2024, the BIOBASEDCERT cluster (SUSTCERT4BIOBASED, STAR4BBS, HARMONITOR) hosted its second engagement event focused on “Monitoring Sustainability Certification Schemes and Labels for Bio-based Products”. This event was part of the parallel sessions held during the European Biomass Conference & Exhibition (EUBCE) 2024. With 55 participants in attendance, the event marked a significant milestone in advancing the discussion around sustainability certification in the bio-based sector.

The event kicked off with a detailed presentation of the first policy results from the BIOBASEDCERT Monitoring System (BMS). The BMS is designed to assess and enhance the effectiveness and robustness of sustainability certification schemes and labels (CSLs) for bio-based products. The system evaluates CSLs across three key dimensions:

  • System Level: Assessing the framework and structure of CSLs to ensure they are comprehensive and well-organized.
  • Content Level: Evaluating the specific criteria and standards within CSLs to verify their relevance and stringency.
  • Outcome Level: Measuring the real-world impacts and benefits of CSLs to ascertain their effectiveness in promoting sustainability.

Attendees were particularly interested in the structure of the BMS and actively provided feedback on the ongoing development of this tool.

Following the presentation, a roundtable discussion was held featuring six panellists who are experts in the field of sustainability certification and bio-based products. The panellists included:

  • Audrun Utskarpen (Nordic Swan Ecolabel)
  • Rodrigo Rupérez (UN Trade and Development – The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards)
  • Oliver Hurtig (European Commission)
  • Jean-Marc Jossart (Bioenergy Europe)
  • Mirjam Röder (Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute at Aston University)
  • Laura Väyrynen (ECOS)

Moderated by Iris Vural Gürsel, coordinator of the SUSTCERT4BIOBASED project, the discussion elaborated on the potential roles of CSLs in the future of the European Circular Bioeconomy. Key topics included the use of CSLs as co-regulation instruments and the design of effective monitoring tools for CSLs. The dedicated Q&A session allowed for an open and interactive dialogue, providing attendees with the opportunity to engage directly with the panelists.

This year’s EUBCE featured talks on sustainability and the use of biomass, highlighting the growing importance of these topics. The BIOBASEDCERT event stood out by addressing the important aspect of monitoring sustainability certification schemes and labels, contributing significantly to the broader discussion. As we move forward, the BIOBASEDCERT cluster remains committed to creating a robust tool for streamlining sustainability certification schemes. By doing so, it aims to support policymakers in establishing efficient and effective policies that promote sustainability in the bio-based sector.