The European Bioeconomy Strategy aims at achieving an innovative, resilient and low carbon economy that replaces fossil raw materials with biological ones, promoting resource efficiency and contributing to a more sustainable economy. Bio-based industries are aware of the need to create trust in bio-based products by implementing suitable measures to support their market uptake and by providing consumers with appropriate information on their characteristics. Eco-labels offer great opportunities to provide such consumer information, and in this report, a list of key eco-label criteria and standardisation options for selected case studies have been considered and analysed. Based on four case studies, the report provides a number of recommendations, which also address broader public policy and existing regulations and mechanisms. They also highlight the need to update other independent mechanisms and labels.
The STAR-ProBio project aims to identify and mitigate the risks of negative Land Use Change (LUC) effects associated with the production routes of biobased products. This report details the initial steps in this process which were firstly to assess the status quo and key findings of existing approaches to quantify GHG emissions due to dLUC (direct Land Use Change) and iLUC (indirect Land Use Change) in order to identify, categorise and structure the key drivers and parameters for future strategies to reduce iLUC risks in a developing bioeconomy. The capacity of existing models to cover bio-based materials was then assessed, and links between the key drivers for iLUC and standardisation work related to the sustainability of biofuels and biomaterials were also identified. The outcome of this research has been used to identify specific risk factors that control land expansion (intensive margin, land suitability, co-products, demand elasticity, export – trade elasticity, trade share, supply elasticity) and establish the initial outline of a conceptual model to account for iLUC using a risk-based approach that will be developed further within the STAR-ProBio project.
End of Life (EoL) management represents a great challenge to develop new opportunities towards sustainability. Indeed, international institutions, organizations, academics, researchers and practitioners highlighted the importance of EoL management, since it is associated with relevant environmental, social and economic impacts. Yet, the appraisal of EoL alternatives represents a particularly complex task to address due to the difficulties arising from the assessment of social and economic key-criteria. In this regard, several gaps related to bio-based products have been stressed by the literature, especially with reference to socio-economic indicators. This report focuses on the existing EoL options with the aim of identifying key community priorities for sustainable EoL management of bio-based products. This is achieved by developing a win-win asset-based model that has been tested on a selected case study, i.e. Poly Lactic Acid (PLA)-based packaging film. The results show that recycling (both mechanical and chemical) is the best EoL option for the considered product.
Efforts to promote a sustainable bioeconomy seek to enable markets that create value from renewable resources while satisfying sustainability requirements. Despite recent progress in several European countries in launching strategies to support a bioeconomy, market demand for bio-based products remains moderate. More analysis is required to better understand the drivers and barriers for enabling consumer demand for bio-based products, in particular as this relates to consumers’ sustainability concerns. A previous report developed within the scope of the STAR-ProBio project has presented the results of two rounds of a Delphi survey aimed at better understanding the sustainability preferences of procurement professionals and end consumers. Building on these results, the following tasks were completed: a third and final round of the Delphi survey was conducted with procurement professionals and a framed field experiment was conducted with end consumers to identify their willingness to pay a premium for different types of bio-based products with and without sustainability certification. This report presents the results from these tasks. In particular, it covers findings on the following: i) the relevance of information on final disposal and ii) preferences regarding information on the bio-based raw materials used, including questions related to the share and origin of bio-based raw materials and the form in which this information is communicated. In addition, the report discusses survey results on sustainability principles and potential policy options to promote the demand for bio-based products. The field experiment conducted on three products, i.e. coloured pens, hand soap and food storage bags shows that on average end consumers assign a higher price for bio-based products than conventional ones.
This report describes the development of an environmental impact assessment framework dedicated to evaluating the sustainability characteristics of managed end-of-life routes relevant to bio-based products. This environmental assessment framework was developed in coherence with the recommendations made within the Product Environmental Footprint guidance which in turn complies with the ISO14040 and EN16760 standards for life cycle assessment (LCA) of products. The framework consists of a set of LCA impact indicators and novel, non-LCA ‘hybridised’ indicators which were developed based on the combination of principles of resource efficiency and green chemistry.
The aim of this extended framework is to quantify and highlight the use of potentially hazardous chemicals, describe effective resource utilisation and waste reduction strategies employed in given technology routes, alongside reporting the impacts and credits associated to resource production and consumption during the management of post-consumer products. In addition to these indicators, science-based relative thresholds have been proposed. These thresholds were developed based on the qualitative guidance presented within global initiatives and goals including the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. Nevertheless, this study does recommend the use of subjective thresholds based on consensus reached with a broad range of stakeholders.
To test the effectiveness of the framework, the developed methods and metrics were adopted for a follow-on environmental impact evaluation and applied to the end-of-life management of the selected bio-based products and their petroleum-derived commercial counterparts. As many managed end-of-life options as practical were captured within this study, following the guidance provided under CEN/TR/16957 for developing end-of-life inventory for bio-based products. The outcomes of this method evaluation, its strengths and limitations have been elaborated within this report.
This report describes an environmental life cycle assessment (E-LCA) methodology developed by STAR-ProBio for biobased products that is based on selected relevant life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methodologies and their respective environmental indicators. The chosen hierarchical assessment criteria for selection of the methodologies were defined as 1) ability be used for comparing bio-based materials amongst themselves and for comparing bio-based materials against conventional petrochemical products, 2) Scientific relevance, 3) Political and social priority, 4) Reliability and robustness, 5) Representativeness and 6) Stakeholder and market perception. A final set of 11 indicators and associated models are recommended to be used for the environmental assessment of bio-based materials and be tested through the STAR-ProBio case studies.
This report details the methodology employed in order to identify, select and map exemplary bio-based value chains for further analysis within the STAR-ProBio project. In order to determine their strengths, weaknesses, costs and benefits, a long-list of bio-based value chains was subjected to a systematic review of their promise with regards to a two-tiered set of criteria. Tier 1 covered analysis of feedstock variability, multi-regional supply chain, a variety of end-of-life options, gaps in sustainability schemes, EU preference feedstock, multi-sector application and potential for growth, and Tier 2 examined their relevance to target feedstock and technology preferences of EU-based bio-economy initiatives and other relevant sustainability schemes. The final resulting 4 bio-based values chains were mapped fully at each supply chain stage for visualisation of system dynamics, interconnections, chain actors, employed conversion routes, and existing/potential end-of-life options. These maps are made available in the report.
STAR-ProBio constitutes a multidisciplinary and multi-actor collaborative project that will meet environmental, social and economic challenges, paving the way for a much-needed sustainability transition towards a bio-based economy.
The overall objective of the project is to promote a more efficient and harmonized policy regulation framework, needed to promote the market-pull of bio-based products. This will be achieved by developing a fit-for-purpose sustainability scheme, including standards, labels and certifications for bio-based products. To this aim, an integral part of STAR-ProBio will be the adoption of life-cycle methodologies to assess the roll-out of bio-based products.
Environmental assessment will be performed, through LCA, in a circular economy framework (with a focus on end-of-life analysis) looking at issues which emerge upstream and downstream the value chain. This will be complemented by a techno-economic assessment and by a social impact assessment conducted through stakeholder analysis, SLCA, surveys and field experiments. Indirect land use change issues (ILUC) will also be addressed from an environmental, economic and social perspective. Moreover, the analysis of selected case studies on (1) construction materials, (2) bio-based polymers, and (3) fine chemicals, will ensure that the approach is not too broad and theoretic, allowing the benchmarking against non bio-based products.
Hence, STAR-ProBio will integrate scientific and engineering approaches with social sciences and humanities-based approaches in order to formulate guidelines for a common framework promoting the development of regulations and standards to support the adoption of business innovation models in the bio-based products sector.
Grant Agreement ID727740
DurationFrom: 2017-05-01To: 2020-04-30
Overall Budget5 306 371,50 €
CoordinatorUNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI ROMA UNITELMA SAPIENZA