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Table 6 Qualitative evaluation of most frequently included sustainability requirements in the analysed document sample

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

Sustainability requirementFitting perceived sustainability risk (Table 5)Context around sustainability requirements (identifier of policy documents according to Table 1 and Table 2 in brackets)Evaluation
“RED criteria”LUC and ILUC, Biodiversity loss, DeforestationIntention to extend RED criteria to other sectors (32,10,50), implementation of European legislation on national level (24), fulfillment of criteria are precondition for financial support and quota obligations in EU member states (37), amendment to 37 (38), statement, that does not express sustainability ambition on top of existing legislation (13)Besides documents referring to the origin of the criteria (RED), only intentions for further implementation or extension to other sectors are declared.
“Climate protection and adaption to climate change”Deforestation, LUC and ILUCSystematic use of LCA, including total GHG emissions, is promoted (19), materials should be assessed for impacts, incl. GHG emissions, CO2 emission reduction should be quantified (30, 11), minimum requirements (e.g. positive climate balance) are recommended (13), reducing total GHG emissions (48), climate protection as area of action (14)The requirements are associated with GHG emission reduction. Particular emission saving targets or obligations for emission reductions are missing.
“Protection of biodiversity”Biodiversity loss, Deforestation, Illegal logging“Protection of biodiversity (48) and nature conservation” as area of action (14), review of an assessment of indirect effects and impacts on biodiversity (38)Very broad requirements, in which precise provisions to protect biodiversity are not included
“Waste and by-product management and EoL options”End of life and reuseMaximization of (organic) residual and waste stream utilization and recycling for the closure of circuits (12), systematic use of LCA (considering waste and by product management and EoL options) is promoted to assess environmental benefits of biobased products (19), Public bodies should consider recyclability and disposal when procuring construction materials and maximize the use of recycled, recyclable material when procuring textiles (reference to guidelines) (47), waste prevention (no specification) (49), “inner circle approaches” such as reuse, repair, redistribution, remanufacturing ahead of recycling and energy recovery (27), recommendation of closed material cycle for raw materials as min. requirement (13), new rules shall be proposed which encourage reuse activities(1), curb microplastic pollution, support recycling (6)Statements, that describe mainly the intention to achieve a more circular economy, but details, thresholds, timelines or similar are not included
  1. The frequency of sustainability requirements is given in Fig. 2
  2. EoL end of life, LUC land use change, ILUC indirect land use change