ISO standard to make bioenergy sustainable

Date : 7 January 2010

ISO will develop an International Standard to address sustainability issues linked to bioenergy. The standard will be produced by a new ISO project committee, ISO/PC 248, Sustainability criteria for bioenergy.

ISO/PC 248 will bring together international expertise and state-of-the-art best practice to discuss the social, economic and environmental aspects of the production, supply chain, and use of bioenergy, and identify criteria that could prevent it from being environmentally destructive or socially aggressive.

The decision to develop the standard responds to the growing international interest in bioenergy, and the current lack of globally harmonized sustainability criteria.

Already some 29 countries are involved as participants or observers, including large markets such as China and the USA. Brazil (ISO member ABNT) and Germany (ISO member DIN) will provide the secretariat and leadership of the committee under a twinned arrangement.

The future International Standard is expected to be a key tool in helping governments meet their alternative fuel targets.

Already a number of international initiatives require their signatories to find ways to substitute fossil fuels, and bioenergy has been identified as an alternative fuel with great potential.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the 9th Conference of the Parties, “We clearly need biomass as a source of renewable energy. We cannot do without the contribution to climate protection made by sustainable and ecologically produced biomass. But we have to make sure there is no conflict of aims.”

The future standard (ISO 13065) should make an important contribution to this global goal by for example, helping avoid technical barriers to trade on bioenergy. ISO 13065 will disseminate technical know-how and stimulate the ongoing pursuit for quality through the incentive to research.

In addition to tackling social and environmental issues, the standard will make bioenergy more competitive to the benefit of both national and international markets. ISO 13065 will be particularly valuable in helping developing countries producers to compete.