Sustainable Bioenergy

If properly managed and environmental and social standards applied, WWF believes that bioenergy can provide diverse alternatives to fossil fuels and contribute to sustainable development.

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Biofuels - Searching for Sustainability
Comparative Analysis of Certification Schemes for Biomass used for the Production of Biofuels
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Transforming markets

WWF supports bioenergy production that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

By improving the way global commodities such as palm oil, soy and sugarcane used for biofuels are produced, we can reduce our global environmental footprint and significantly drive up markets that offer responsible products, goods and services.

To achieve this, WWF is working with governments and the private sector in bioenergy producing and consuming countries to:


WWF's work is based on the latest scientific evidence and field projects to demonstrate production impacts and how good practices can maximize benefits for the environment and livelihoods.

Ensuring sustainability

Energy policy measures should apply to all forms of bioenergy, whether used for heat, transport, power, production of goods or feed.

Policy measures should ensure that:
  • bioenergy contributes to mitigating climate change
  • natural resources are protected and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas are preserved
  • impacts on soil erosion, degradation and water use and pollution are limited
  • the use of agrochemical and pesticides are significantly reduced
  • negative impacts, including economic exclusion of vulnerable local and indigenous communities, are avoided
  • policy targets for bioenergy production are part of a broader sustainability transport policy
  • true market transformation for the production, supply and consumption of commodities are encouraged by governments and the private sector

WWF supports bioenergy production that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

Best practices

Sustainable standards or certification are key tools for reducing the major environmental impacts caused by current commodity production patterns.
A WWF-commissioned study shows that the best way to achieve a harmonized sustainable certification scheme for biomass is by applying the meta-standard approach

This approach, where existing standards are evaluated against a set of general principles, is being increasingly used by businesses and organizations to judge the performance of systems. Instead of requiring bioenergy producers to get certified directly, they can apply already existing standards that have proven to comply with meta-standard criteria.

EU bioenergy policy

WWF is pushing for the legal implementation of sustainability criteria for bioenergy in the European Union.

The EU has agreed on the Renewable Energy Directive, whose main outcome is a 20% renewable legally-binding target for EU Member States and a 10% renewable energy target when it comes to land transport.

The Directive also calls for criteria for sustainable bioenergy production and consumption, including a list of “no-go" areas where bioenergy can not be produced based on biodiversity and carbon emission criteria.

WWF is working to ensure that the EU will meet its targets and apply these criteria to ensure sustainable bioenergy.

 / ©: Deutsche Welle
Global Ideas is a series of videos courtesy of Deutsche Welle.
© Deutsche Welle
Global Ideas is a series of videos courtesy of Deutsche Welle. They showcase people and projects whose innovative ideas are helping combat global warming.

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