Global Bioenergy Partnership Agrees on Sustainability Indicators for Bioenergy

24 May 2011: The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) has agreed on a set of 24 voluntary, science-based indicators for assessing the sustainable production and use of all forms of bioenergy. The agreement represents the first global and government-level consensus on such indicators.

The sustainability indicators for bioenergy aim to assist countries in assessing and developing national sustainable production and use of bioenergy that is consistent with multilateral trade obligations. The indicators cover all three sustainability pillars, economic, environmental and social, and specifically include provisions on: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; biological diversity; the price and supply of a national food basket; access to energy; economic development; land tenure; female and child labor; and energy security. The indicators represent factors by which the sustainability of biofuels production and use can be measured and are not prescriptive in terms of policy, nor are they legally binding.

In addition, the Partnership has approved to launch a capacity building initiative that seeks to promote the optimum use of modern bioenergy for sustainable development. The Global Bioenergy Partnership was launched in January 2007 in response to the July 2005 Gleneagles Plan of Action of the G8 +5 (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa), which called for "a Global Bioenergy Partnership to support wider, cost effective, biomass and biofuels deployment, particularly in developing countries where biomass use is prevalent." Its partners currently consist of 23 national governments and 13 international organizations, with an additional 22 governments and nine international organizations acting as observers. [GBEP Press Release] [The Sustainability Indicators]