Global-Bio-Pact News

29-30 January 2013
Final Global-Bio-Pact Conference in Brussels, Belgium

17-21 September 2012
Global-Bio-Pact Meeting, Workshop, Study Tour in Buenos Aires, Argentina

18-22 June 2012
Global-Bio-Pact Participation at the 20th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EU BC&E)

15-17 February 2012
Global-Bio-Pact Meeting
in London, UK

28-29 September 2011
Workshop & Site Visit
in Bamako, Mali

26-27 September 2011
Meeting in Bamako, Mali

06-10 June 2011
Global-Bio-Pact Participation at the 19th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EU BC&E)

17 March 2011
Study Tour in Medan, Indonesia

16 March 2011
Workshop in Medan, Indonesia

14-15 March 2011
Meeting in Medan, Indonesia

9 September 2010
Workshop in Costa Rica

7-8 September 2010
2nd Global-Bio-Pact
Meeting in Costa Rica

03-07 May 2010
Global-Bio-Pact Participation at the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EBCE)

08/09 March 2010
Kick-off-Meeting in Germany


Project background

Since the beginning of 21st century, major global challenges have been climate change, energy supply security and rural development. In many countries worldwide, part of the solution has consisted in promoting biomass production for industrial uses such as biofuels and bioproducts to move away from petrochemical resources. In fact, biomass raw materials offer the opportunity to replace such resources for a large variety of bioproducts (chemicals, bioplastics, etc.). However, market penetration has only been significant for transport biofuels so far. This market uptake, combined with the recently arising challenge of food security, led to a strong public debate on biofuel sustainability and pushed the biofuel sector to prove both their potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their wider ‘sustainability’. To ensure such sustainable production and use of biomass, a large range of aspects need to be considered. These include the social impacts on local communities, the effects of large-scale cultivation on biodiversity and the environment in general.

In order to address these aspects, different national and sectoral efforts towards certification systems have appeared at local, national and international level. Due to the large number of existing initiatives on certification schemes, harmonisation is urgently needed in order to avoid trade distortions and barriers, and the exclusion of developing countries from the emerging trade in biofuels and bioproducts.
This harmonisation calls for an effective certification scheme based on reliable data and high quality research in order to accurately evaluate the impacts of biomass production and conversion into biofuels and bioproducts. Currently, most sustainability schemes face a lack of reliable data on two issues:

  • Socio-economic impacts of biomass production and conversion
  • The use of biomass for bioproducts, since main focus is currently on transport biofuels

Besides, the real impact of the industrial use of biomass and bioproducts on global food security as well as the detailed interaction and relationship between certification schemes and world trade in biomass and bioproducts are not well understood.

These main knowledge gaps for the development of sustainability criteria and effective certification schemes will be addressed by the Global-Bio-Pact project in a comprehensive approach involving partners from Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and USA/Canada.

Project objectives

The main aim of the Global-Bio-Pact project is the development and harmonisation of global sustainability certification systems for biomass production, conversion systems and trade in order to prevent negative socio-economic impacts.

Achieving the following specific objectives will contribute to the main aim accomplishment:

  • To identify and analyse socio-economic impacts of different biomass feedstocks (including lignocellulose) at different scales.
  • To identify and analyse the socio-economic impacts of a variety of selected biofuel/bioproducts conversion chains.
  • To analyse the impact of increased biomass production on food security in different countries and globally.
  • To analyse the links between socio-economic and environmental impacts of different biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies.
  • To review current and future trading schemes for biofuels/bioproducts and their socio-economic implications at national and global level.
  • To analyse public perception of biomass production for industrial use.
  • To ensure consultation and integration of stakeholders in project activities and facilitate effective dissemination of project results among stakeholders.
  • To develop a set of socio-economic sustainability criteria and indicators for inclusion into a certification scheme.
  • To perform implementation tests of the developed set of socio-economic sustainability criteria in selected case studies.


Project activities

The Global-Bio-Pact project consists of 9 work packages (WP) with a total duration of three years. Two of these WP (WP1 and WP9) consist of management and dissemination activities while the seven other ones are thematic WP. WP2 and WP3 will carry out a general impact assessment of biomass production and conversion chains through 5 five selected case studies. WP4, WP5, WP6 and WP7 consist of specific impact assessments on dedicated topics. Finally, WP8 will elaborate recommendations on sustainability certification schemes.

WP2 and WP3 are among the core activities of the Global-Bio-Pact project since they include a general assessment of socio-economic impacts of biomass production (WP2) and biofuel/bioproduct conversion chains (WP3). Thus, WP2 focuses on socio-economic impacts in the agricultural sector, whereas WP3 focuses on socio-economic impacts in the industrial sector. The main outcome of both work packages will be reports on socio-economic impacts and related criteria and indicators.

The outcome will be achieved through five selected Case Studies that will be implemented in Africa, Asia, Latin America, USA/Canada, and Europe. These Case Studies will be elaborated for biomass production (WP2) and biofuel/bioproduct conversion chains (WP3).

On the other hand, the Global-Bio-Pact activities include specific impact assessments on dedicated topics, namely on food security impacts (WP4), link between socio-economic and environmental impacts (WP5), impacts on current and future trading schemes (WP6), and on public perception (WP7). Activities in these work packages include in-depth assessments on global and local scale considering the specific situations of the Case Studies.

All outcomes of the above-mentioned work packages will be used for the development of the
“Global-Bio-Pact set of socio-economic sustainability criteria and indicators” in WP8, which tackles certification schemes rather than impacts. This set will be test audited and will help to mitigate the lack of socio-economic issues in many certification schemes. Finally, recommendations on legislation, policies, and implementation of certification schemes will contribute to the European RE policy, including the new Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Expected Project Results

The following results are expected as direct outcomes of the Global-Bio-Pact project:

  • Identification of hotspots of concern of socio-economic impacts of biomass production and selected biofuel/bioproducts conversion chains.
  • Formulation of practicable and applicable indicators for identified socio-economic impact criteria.
  • Comparison of socio-economic impacts of 1st and 2nd generation technologies and of centralised versus decentralised approaches.
  • Integration of ligno-cellulosic feedstock in the IMPACT model and analysis of the impact on food security in different countries and globally.
  • Identification of opportunities to minimise negative and optimise positive impacts on both the environment and socio-economic situations.
  • Identification of environmental and socio-economic impacts of the use of marginal lands and grassy biomass
  • Recommendations to avoid that sustainability schemes act as trade barriers.
  • Development of a proposal on how to consider public perception in the development of policies including future sustainability certification schemes.
  • Recommendations on how to integrate socio-economic sustainability criteria in European legislation and policies.
  • Recommendations on how to harmonise sustainability certification schemes among different continents, countries and stakeholders.
  • Global-Bio-Pact set of socio-economic sustainability criteria
  • Recommendations on how to perform sustainability audits and how to ensure that producers are able to comply with the developed set of sustainability criteria and indicators.
Copyright: WIP Renewable Energies 2010