A rights-based food security principle for biomass production

The shift to biomass-based economies can become a threat to global food security. The publication shows how the human right to adequate food can be ensured in local biomass production and in certification systems in food insecure regions.

With the shift from petroleum-based to biomass-based economies, global biomass demand and  trade is growing. This trend could become a threat to food security. Though rising concerns about  sustainability aspects have led to the development of voluntary certification standards to ensure that  biomass is sustainably produced, food security aspects are hardly addressed as practical criteria and  indicators lack.

The working paper „A rights-based food security principle for biomass sustainability standards and certification systems“, published by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and Welthungerhilfe, shows how the Human right to adequate Food (RtaF), which is applicable in over 100 countries, can be ensured in local biomass production and in certification systems in food insecure regions.

The authors first developed a suitable conceptual framework to integrate the RtaF in biomass production, processing and trade and derived guidance for the choice of the criteria. The conceptual framework is based on the UN “Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the RtaF in the Context of National Food  Security” and the four dimensions of food security. Based on this framework, they developed the rights-based food security principle. To ensure that the RtaF is not adversely affected by certified biomass production and trade, they propose 45 criteria, classified in 17 themes which are derived from the voluntary guidelines. The suggested criteria are applicable to all biomass types and uses and can serve as a best practice set to complement existing sustainability standards for biomass.

(ZEF/Welthungerhilfe/sri)

Download the publication

Further reading:
Rural 21 no 3/2014 issue on Bioeconomy

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