Biomass currently provides a significant proportion of Europe’s renewable energy, but there are questions over the sustainability of this in terms of wider environmental impacts, efficiency of resource use and level of resulting greenhouse gas emission reductions. Delivering environmentally responsible bioenergy requires the consideration of a wide range of interrelated factors, including: existing uses of biomass; direct and indirect land use impacts; understanding waste management and residue use; environmental, social and economic consequences; as well as trade and inter-institutional factors across a wide range of sectors.

IEEP’s work in this area aims to improve the sustainability of bioenergy policies, given that this is an important part of Europe’s future energy policy as well as essential for the resource efficiency agenda.

IEEP takes a multi-disciplinary approach to assessing these complex relationships, focussing on the interconnectivity of impacts across sectors as diverse as food production, waste management, energy and transport. With expertise in agriculture, forestry, economics, energy, trade and environmental policy IEEP is able to take a trans-disciplinary look at bioenergy and its potential role in the future. We were one of the first organisations to raise, at the EU level, the indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts resulting from EU biofuel use, and our work on the carbon debt of bioenergy has helped to increase consideration of sustainability in the use of solid biomass. Our work involves research into the most sustainable means of delivering bioenergy as well as offering advice to EU and Member State law-makers, academics, regulatory authorities, industry and NGOs.