On the occasion of the Global Clean Energy Action Forum, Biofuture Platform Initiative organized a Sustainable Bioenergy and Biorefineries Roundtable. The aim was to affirm and increase public and private sector commitment to the innovation, investment, and policy needed to fulfill the potential for bio-based fuels, chemicals, and materials to enable the Net Zero future. The Roundtable participants consisted of 6 Ministers and 14 CEOs and Executives.
The roundtable was very successful with ministers discussing best uses of biomass. The interventions focused not just on energy, but offered a balanced discussion on energy, biochemicals, and materials and the importance of the bioeconomy. Biofuels have numerous advantages and for example can be used to replace plastics in some applications. Bioenergy is especially crucial now in a strained energy environment and access to basic energy services is still a major problem for millions of people around the world. Further we must reduce and reuse wastes to the maximum extent possible and seek to create the highest value from these resources.
Government and industry members discussed the role of the Biofuture Clean Energy Ministerial Initiative and Campaign and announced the release of their Biofuture Statement that affirms the essential role of sustainable bio-based fuels, chemicals, and materials to enabling an inclusive clean energy transition and a Net Zero, circular economy. Praise for the Biofuture CEM Initiative work and an invitation for other countries to participate in the sustainability workstream was also advanced by several participants.
The sustainable production and use of bio-based fuels and products are key to increasing energy security, job creation, and socio-economic development. Government and industry attendees emphasized that delivering the GHG reduction benefits, while conserving biodiversity and ensuring high-functioning environmental services, requires 1) improving the evidence-based approaches to quantification of sustainable biomass resources and 2) strengthening sustainability governance.
Other main take-aways from the round table included:
- We are at inflection point. Private sector drives innovation, governments have the key responsibility to enable it.
- Innovation and a focus on scaling up sustainably are critical to deployment.
- The private sector is willing to pay more for higher value products and ready to invest at scale, but standards are needed to operate in a level playing field.
- Supportive policy is critically needed to enable bioenergy/bioproducts growth in the near term.
- Transparent methodologies on life cycle carbon accounting are needed to ensure actual GHG savings and reliable communication to clients and stakeholders.
- All of the above are vital to enable a secure investment climate.
Participants stressed that a stable policy framework, including coherence among related clean energy sectors, like CCUS and hydrogen, would enable the transition to a Circular Bioeconomy. Developing markets for products featuring the highest value usage of biomass resources would encourage the private investment needed to realize the sustainable biofuture. The bioeconomy industry has to be active in the public debate. The clean energy evolution must be done with great care assuring a just transition for all peoples.