Assessing environmental sustainability to support a bio-based economy

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Producing biochemicals from renewable resources is a key driver for developing a viable, bioeconomy, in support of progressing toward global sustainable development targets. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a standardized tool to measure related progress by quantifying environmental sustainability performance of chemical products along entire life cycles. However, there are currently only few available studies that comprehensively and systematically assess environmental performance of biochemical products. These studies show inconsistencies in coverage of environmental impacts and life cycle stages, with varying conclusions. Claims of better sustainability performance of biochemicals over functionally equivalent fossil-based chemicals are often based on comparing global warming impacts, while ignoring other impacts from bio-feedstock production. To boost sustainable biochemicals, we recommend that LCA practitioners include the broader range of impact indicators and entire life cycles, follow standards and guidance, and address missing data. The biochemical industry should systematically use LCA to direct research, identify impact hotspots, and develop methods to estimate full-scale process performance. This will promote biotechnology as important contributor to solving existing sustainability challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventProBioRefine 2021 - International workshop on system analysis and technologies for biorefineries - Online event, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
Duration: 6 May 20217 May 2021


ConferenceProBioRefine 2021 - International workshop on system analysis and technologies for biorefineries
LocationOnline event
CityKgs. Lyngby
Internet address


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