Agricultural Biodiversity

Tools and Approaches for Sustainable Use of Biofuels

In paragraph 11 of COP decision X/37, the Executive Secretary was requested to:

-Compile, analyse and summarize information on tools for voluntary use, including on available standards and methodologies to assess direct and indirect effects and impacts on biodiversity of the production and use of biofuels, in their full life cycle as compared to that of other types of fuels, and impacts on biodiversity that affect related socio-economic conditions;

-Carry out this work taking into account the work of, and in collaboration with, relevant partner organizations and processes;

-Disseminate and facilitate access to the summarised information on tools through the clearing-house mechanism and other relevant means.

Compilations of Tools and Approaches

  • Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) Toolkit: Searchable compilation of tools. Includes analytical tools to assess and unlock sustainable bioenergy potential; financing options for bioenergy projects and programmes; and clearing-house on methodologies to calculate GHG emissions from bioenergy.

Tools and Approaches for Biofuels Sustainability Assessments

  • BIOBIB–A Database for biofuels: Provides combustion data and ash analysis for various feedstocks and biomass wastes – K. Reisinger et al. at University of Technology, Vienna.

  • BIOMITRE software tool: BIOmass based Climate Change MITigation through Renewable Energy Systems: Runs calculations that provide various possible scenarios of energy and GHG balances from different bioenergy and fossil reference systems–by IEA Bioenergy.

  • Sustainability Quick Check for Biofuels (SQCB) tool: Provides a quick assessment of environmental impacts of biofuels. It allows producers from south countries to verify sustainability certification criteria for their biofuels to facilitate access to the Swiss market – cited in Switzerland's submission to notification 2011-121.

         Criteria and Indicators

Tools and Approaches for Sustainable Land Use

         Degraded Lands

  • Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA): Provides policy advice on land degradation at global, national and local levels and assesses land degradation at different spatial and temporal scales, and a baseline at global level for future monitoring – Developed by the FAO.

         Direct Land-Use Change

         Indirect Land-Use Change

Tools and Approaches for Policy and Decision-Making


  • Eco Crop: A decision support tool that provides information on bioenergy crops and their environmental requirements.–developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

  • UN-Energy: Bioenergy decision support tool: Stepwise guidance to decision-makers in governments to develop sustainable bioenergy policies and strategies, and to assess investment proposals. By FAO, UNEP and UN-Energy–submitted by UNEP in response to notification 2011-121.

         Information on Legislation and Policy Measures

  • Switzerland's Submission to notification 2011-121– see page 5, section 4: Legal Basis, and page 6, section 5: Measures to support the sustainable production of imported biofuels (2011).

Biofuels Criteria, Standards and Certification Schemes

Tools and Approaches Addressing Socioeconomic Issues

  • Biofuel Group Certification: Ensuring that smallholders can participate in biofuel markets. Bioenergy Issue Paper Series #5–prepared by UNEP.

  • Interactive renewable energy toolkit – iRET: Interactive tool produced by Practical Action Consulting for Oxfam and Christian Aid to help build skills and knowledge to deliver renewable energy access projects for poverty reduction worldwide.

Other Tools and Approaches

  • Bioenergy Atlas: BioEnergy Atlas is an interactive map, built into Google Maps, which can compare and analyze biomass feedstocks, biopower and biofuels data by location – by U.S. Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.