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Table 5 Major identified risk perceptions for sustainability in different BE value chains based on the expert survey

From: Strengths and gaps of the EU frameworks for the sustainability assessment of bio-based products and bioenergy

Bioeconomy sectorFinal product(s)/main technology pathway(s)Main feedstock or feedstock groupMain sustainability risk(s)Risk level / significance
BioenergyBiofuels (focus on biodiesel, bioethanol and biomethane)Oilseed cropsLUC and ILUChigha
Starch and sugar cropsDeforestation
Food price increase
Biodiversity loss (by expanding cultivation area and by intensification)
Water quality (leaching of nutrients)
Lignocellulosic energy cropsDeforestationhigha
Biodiversity loss (by expanding crop cultivation areas)
Wastes and residuesCreation of competing uses due to the introduction of strong policy incentives.low
Heat & powerLignocellulosic energy cropsDeforestationmedium to high
Heat (small scale units)Lignocellulosic energy cropsBiodiversity loss (by expanding cultivation areas)
Air quality
ForestryBuildings and industrial applicationsTimberIllegal logging causing deforestationhigh
Biodiversity loss
Negative impacts on local communities (imported wood)
Paper and boardLabour conditions in producing countries
ConstructionConstruction materials, fibreboards, thermal insulationTimberIllegal logging causing deforestationlow to mediumb
Biodiversity loss
Non-certified import from other countries or poor certification processes
Negative impacts on local communities (at least on imported wood)
Fibre crops (hemp, flax)Competition with food/feed productionlow
Food & FeedPlant-based food & feedGrains RiceBiodiversity losshigh
Soil erosion
Decrease in soil and water quality (nutrients leaching)
Impact of fertilisers and pesticides
  Oilseed cropsLUC and ILUC causing deforestationlow to high
Sugar cropsLand use rights
 Higher food prices
TextilesGarments, fabric, carpets, geotextiles, etc.CottonHigh input of energy, water and agrochemicalshigh
LUC and ILUC (cultivation)
Labour conditions in producing countries
Chemicals use and leakage (production)
Fibre crops (flax, hemp)Competition with food/feed productionlow
WoolCompetition with food/feed productionlow
Labour conditions in producing countries
Chemicals and PlasticsBioplastics, packaging materials, bottles, bags, mulch film, biolubricants, biopolymersStarch and sugar cropsEnd of life & reusehigh
Oilseed cropsSame as bioenergysame as bioenergy
PharmacyMedicine applications & pharmaceuticalsPlantsChemical use and leakage (production)medium
Materials/ ProductsCardboard, filters, cordsFibre crops (hemp, flax)Competition with food/feed productionlow
BiocompositesLignocellulosic cropsSame as bioenergysame as bioenergy
  1. EoL end of life, LUC land use change, ILUC indirect land use change
  2. aDepending on the cultivation region
  3. bIt is low to medium, because of the amount of feedstock used at the moment, but pressure on raw material will grow when demand for bio-construction products grow