Rising energy prices, geopolitics as well as concerns over increasing oil prices, national security, and the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on global climate change are driving large-scale efforts to implement bioenergy alternatives. Biomass fuels offer many new opportunities, but if not managed carefully, they may also carry significant risks. Biomass in this context is non-fossil material of biological origin from forest, energy crops, agriculture and different kind of wastes. Markets for energy generated from biomass are expanding at a fast pace. Sustainable use of biomass as an energy source requires comprehensive management of natural, social and economic resources. Establishing certification schemes is a possible strategy to ensure that bioenergy is produced in a sustainable manner. At this time, a clear certification of traded biomass is needed. Different types of certification systems, international standards and initiatives relevant to biomass production already exist. However, an analysis of the experience gained with these systems, reveal that they are not effective to monitor and manage all effects of biomass production for energy. There is no international consensus on universal sustainability requirements and the inclusion or exclusion of certain exemplary criteria is one of the difficulties of setting up a certification scheme. The role of certification efforts in this report is to participate in creation of a global market for sustainable biomass fuels and in extension sustainable bioenergy. In attempt to support the development of an implementable international certification scheme for sustainable biomass production, the existing Forest Certification Schemes were evaluated against environmental sustainability through 15 indicators and against social and economic sustainability through 19 indicators identified from literature. The set of principles and criteria suggested is the final result of sampling, evaluation, filtering and completion following a review of literature, analysis of the activity and experience in forestry as well as in the other sectors.

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Svetlana Ladanai
Johan Vinterb├Ąck
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