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Governing sustainability in biomass supply chains for the bioeconomy

To explore ways to establish sustainable supply chains for bioeconomic goods, this workshop will present an overview of relevant existing sustainability governance; what may be needed; and how can policy, market and civil society actors across sectors support a sustainable bioeconomy.

The workshop is organized by IEA Bioenergy in collaboration with GBEP, FAO, IEA, Biofuture Platform, IRENA, Below50 and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RvO) as local host. Experts from the SEI Initiative on Governing Bioeconomy Pathways will take part in the consultation.

Photo: sykono / Getty Images.

23 May 2019 at 08:45 CEST

ending at 18:00 CEST

Securing a sustainable supply of biomass is one of the key issues for deploying bioenergy and other bio-based products. Given the ample debate on the sustainability of bioenergy and biofuels, it can be expected that similar requirements and governance systems will be discussed for other emerging biobased products and existing bioeconomy commodities such as food and feed, fiber, timber and more.

The IEA “Technology Roadmap Delivering Sustainable Bioenergy” of 2017 identified a key action “to develop and implement internationally recognized sustainability governance systems that cover all bio-products and which support sustainable best practices and stimulate innovation”.

A recent collaborative project between several of IEA Bioenergy Tasks on measuring, governing and gaining support for sustainable bioenergy supply chains concluded as follows:

  • Requirements for bioenergy need to be compatible with the sustainability governance of agriculture, food, forestry, waste and so on. This requires coordination to avoid unintended impacts of governance in one sector for sustainability goals in other sectors. This should lead to a common sustainability framework – or at least alignment and compatibility – for the broader bioeconomy.
  • Regular and transparent communication as well as sincere engagement is needed to create trust  and legitimacy. Strict regulation does not necessarily imply legitimacy and trust.
  • Sustainability governance develops over time to fit market dynamics, adapting to new knowledge or as new concerns or priorities occur. The bioeconomy actors, policy makers and civil society should identify benefits and concerns of the bioeconomy, understood as the “umbrella” of the biomaterials, food/feed, fiber and timber producing sectors, and bioenergy.
  • Cost-efficient solutions to implement good practices that achieve the Sustainable Development Goals are needed, and those need clear documentation accessible to consumers. In late 2018, IEA Bioenergy created the new Task 45 on “Climate and sustainability effects of bioenergy within the broader bioeconomy”. One of its aims is to identify approaches and implementation strategies for sustainable cross‐sectoral supply‐chain management, together with many partners.

This workshop kicks‐off this work and presents an overview of what relevant sustainability governance already exists and what more may be needed, and how collaboration of policy and market actors across sectors as well as civil society could support a sustainable bioeconomy. More specifically, the aim of the workshop will be to discuss:

  • What can we learn from experiences with sustainability governance (in agriculture, bioenergy, forestry) for the broader bioeconomy?
  • Pragmatic solutions to operationalize sustainability governance (public and private sector, financial institutions).
  • What actions are needed to progress towards a sustainable, circular bioeconomy?
  • How can we provide confidence and gain trust in a sustainable bioeconomy, including bioenergy?
  • How can international collaboration provide a way forward?

This workshop is by invitation only and will be held under the Chatham House Rule.

Preliminary agenda

8.30 Registration with coffee and tea
8:45 Welcoming remarks and introduction to the workshop

  • Kees Kwant, RVO
  • Uwe R. Fritsche, IINAS

9:15 Session 1: Setting the scene and policy experiences

  • Welcome addresses from the Dutch Government, and Anders Wijkman, former EP member
  • Biobased systems in sustainability transitions, Göran Berndes, Chalmers University and IEA Bioenergy
  • Bioenergy in the IEA’s scenarios for sustainable energy transitions, Paolo Frankl, IEA
  • Lessons learnt from the IEA Bioenergy Intertask Project “Measuring, governing and gaining support for sustainable bioenergy supply chain” Inge Stupak, University of Copenhagen and IEA Bioenergy
  • U view on bioeconomy governance and bioenergy experiences, Giulio Volpi, EC DG ENER
  • Beyond Europe: OECD perspective, Jim Philp, OECD
    • Bioeconomy governance in developing countries, Jan Börner, ZEF
    • Bioeconomy development and sustainability governance in China, Dongming Ren, CRED‐ERI
  • Moderator: Kees Kwant

Voices from the plenary: brief interventions on “where we are” (moderated discussion).

11:00 Tea/coffee break and informal talks

11:15 Collecting the evidence: Views from multi‐lateral partnerships, industry, and civil society; success stories and lessons learned

  • The global fora: brief interventions on
    • Luisa Marelli, Global Bioeconomy Summits and International Bioeconomy Forum, JRC
    • Renato D. Godinho, Biofuture Platform, Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Michela Morese, Global Bioenergy Partnership, GBEP Secretariat, FAO
  • Sustainable supply‐chain governance – brief interventions on experiences from
    • Ignacio Gavilan, Consumer Goods Forum
    • Gerard Ostheimer, Below 50
  • Views and comments from
    • industry: Craig Winneker, ePURE representing EUBA
    • civil society:
      • Jenny Walther‐Thoss, WWF
      • Katie Minderhoud, Solidaridad
  • Moderator: Uwe R. Fritsche, IINAS

Roundtable with the speakers: What are the joint views on sustainability governance of the bioeconomy?

12:50 Brief introduction to World Café 1 + 2 (by the moderator)

13:00 Lunch break and informal talks

14:00 World Café 1: What actions are needed for progressing towards a sustainable, circular bioeconomy (moderated parallel groups, with rapporteurs)

  • What research is needed to address sustainability and how can governance contribute to gaining support for sustainable biobased systems and supply chains?
  • What are the top three priorities to enable align international sustainability criteria, to move beyond controversies on biobased systems and enable developing sustainable biobased systems?
  • What are the roles, responsibilities and resources required?

15:00 Tea/coffee break and informal talks

15:30 World Café 2 and 3: A collaborative way forward (moderated parallel groups, with rapporteurs)

  • Who should be included in the future dialogue?
  • Which events, fora and so on could be used to continue the dialogue?
  • What are next steps, and which contributions are foreseen by workshop participants?

17:00 Tea/coffee break and informal talks

17:15 Plenary Session 5: Panel with World Café 2 rapporteurs

  • Moderator: Uwe R. Fritsche

17:45 Conclusions on next steps, Jim Spaeth, US DOE, chair IEA Bioenergy

18:00  Reception and informal discussions

SEI team at the event

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