STAR-ProBio’s first Focus Group Webinar on Sustainability Assessment Factors for Bio-Based Products took place on January 29, 2018.
The discussion was moderated by Luana Ladu (TU Berlin) and comprised experts with a EU perspective and representatives from various stakeholder groups from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands.
Five questions built the foundation for the discussions:
- Which sustainability parameters/criteria should be considered by a sustainability assessment scheme for bio-based products?
- Which factors should be mandatory in such a scheme and which ones should be voluntary?
- Are particular parameters/criteria needed to assess specific bio-based products/product groups?
- How should the compliance of these parameters be communicated to consumers?
- Which particular needs regarding sustainability assessment parameters/criteria does your specific stakeholder group have?
The key conclusions of the event were summarized as follows:
1 Fossil-based products should be subject to the same sustainability criteria as bio-based products.
2 The only main difference for bio-based products is that the raw material is biomass. Therefore additional criteria regarding the production of biomass could/should be added.
3 Sustainability criteria for biomass for bio-based products should/could be similar to those applying to biomass for energy applications where binding criteria exist.
4 Regarding whether there should be a minimum percentage of bio-based content, different influencing factors have to be considered; in particular technology issues and consumers’ expectations.
5 Environmental criteria are more obvious than social and economic criteria.
6 The origin of biomass is also of importance (as shown by the bioenergy discussion).
7 Criteria that were explicitly referred to included: GHG emissions, bio-based content, and health-related aspects.
The results will enrich the current sources for the preparation of a Delphi survey and also support various other current project activities.
More Focus Group activities on specific stakeholder- and product-related topics will take place within the duration of the project.