Brussels, October 18, 2022 – Circular biobased systems have the potential to substantially contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal, particularly its Zero Pollution Action Plan, and the 2030 Climate Target Plan if they are developed sustainably. There is accordingly growth of sustainability certification schemes and business-to-business labels as major tools for global production and trade to become more sustainable, and for the private sector to demonstrate corporate social responsibility. However how to ensure the credibility of these tools and move towards their harmonization?
This is where the Horizon Europe-funded project SUSTCERT4BIOBASED – Sustainability Certification for Bio-based Systems (2022-2025) comes into play. Five partners from the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and Belgium have already started collaborating closely in developing a monitoring system to evaluate the effectiveness and robustness of sustainability certification schemes and labels for biobased products. Partners of the consortium consisting of Stichting Wageningen Research (WR), Fundación Circe Centro de Investigacion de Recursos y Consumos Energeticos (CIRCE), White Research SRL (WHITE), Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS), and Control Union Certifications Germany GmbH (CU) held a physical meeting on June 21, 2022, at Wageningen in the Netherlands, to officially kick off the project and to exchange fruitful ideas for its implementation.
With Wageningen Research coordinating the project under the funding scheme of Horizon Europe (Grant Agreement No: 101059785), SUSTCERT4BIOBASED aims to harmonize the sustainability schemes and assess their effectiveness. Throughout the project’s lifecycle, the partners will review and analyze the existing international and EU sustainability certification schemes and labels for biological resources and biobased products. The developed monitoring system will be tested on the existing schemes and labels and their strengths and weaknesses will be identified. Costs and benefits from the adoption of certification schemes and labels will be assessed, considering actual economic as well as internalized environmental and social ones. Data will be generated on volumes of biological resources and biobased products in global trade flow and the extent of their certification. Eventually, the project will provide key recommendations for the governments and policymakers, the sustainability system community, the industrial biobased value chain actors, and the regional bioeconomy stakeholders.
The main assets of the SUSTCERT4BIOBASED project will be the following:
- Catalogue of sustainability certification schemes and labels relevant for biobased value chains
- Monitoring system – tool for systematic evaluation of effectiveness, robustness, and completeness of sustainability certification schemes and labels
- Database of global trade flows of biobased value chains – data and figures on volumes of biological resources and biobased materials and products distinguishing certified/uncertified
- Cost-benefit assessment method and data collection template – feasibility of adoption of schemes and labels
- Thematic briefs for four key stakeholders: the governments and policymakers, the sustainability system community, the industrial biobased value chain actors, and the regional bioeconomy stakeholders
- Network of Interest – where stakeholders can receive project updates, interact and share their knowledge and views
Sustainability system actors, policy actors, industrial actors, regional bioeconomy stakeholders, the scientific community, and society will benefit from the findings and assets of SUSTCERT4BIOBASED, and the project’s findings will contribute toward establishing a circular and sustainable bio-based industry for Europe!
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