Contribution of Biomass Supply Chains for Bioenergy to Sustainable Development Goals
Land 2021, 10(2), 181; available open access here
This work evaluates the relationships between bioenergy and related biomass supply chains and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Using Nilsson et al. (2016) seven-point scoring framework, the relationships between biomass supply for bioenergy and the SDGs were evaluated based on existing synthesis papers, modeling studies and empirical analyses, and expert knowledge. To complement this, contributions to SDG targets of 37 best practice case studies from around the world were documented. In reviewing these case studies, it was found that when supply chains are implemented appropriately and integrated with existing systems, they can have overwhelmingly positive contributions. Beyond directly contributing to SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), at least half of all case studies supported progress toward SDGs 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), and 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption); however, the ways in which supply chains contributed often differed. Agricultural biomass supply chains (energy crops and residues) were most likely to contribute to SDGs 2 (Zero Hunger) and 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), while waste and forest supply chains were most likely to contribute to SDG 15 (Life on Land). The development of bioenergy systems in rural and indigenous communities also indirectly supports societal SDGs such as SDGs 1 (No Poverty), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Inequality), and 10 (Reduced Inequalities). This work informs how SDGs can be used as a normative framework to guide the implementation of sustainable biomass supply chains, whether it is used for bioenergy or the broader bioeconomy. Recommendations for key stakeholders and topics for future work are also proposed.