Policy instruments to promote good practices in bioenergy feedstock production March 2012

Modern bioenergy development, through its environmental and socio-economic impacts, may have positive or negative effects on the four dimensions of food security: availability; access; utilization, and stability.
In order to ensure that modern bioenergy development is sustainable and that it safeguards food security, a number of good practices can be implemented throughout the bioenergy supply chain. Building on FAO’s work on good practices in agriculture and forestry, the Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators (BEFSCI) project has compiled a set of good environmental practices that can be implemented by bioenergy feedstock producers in
order to minimize the risk of negative environmental impacts from their operations, and to ensure that modern bioenergy contributes to climate change mitigation while safeguarding and possibly fostering food security. BEFSCI has also compiled a set of good socio-economic practices that can help minimize the risks and increase the opportunities for food security associated with bioenergy operations.
Most of the good practices that BEFSCI has compiled present various challenges and there are a number of both economic and non-economic barriers to their implementation. If proper policy instruments and incentives are not in place, the costs of implementing these practices might be too high for producers.
BEFSCI has identified a range of policy instruments that can be used to require or promote – either directly or indirectly – good environmental and socioeconomic practices in bioenergy feedstock production, and to discourage bad practices.
These instruments can be grouped into four main categories:
• mandates with sustainability requirements
• national standards for certification
• financial incentives
• capacity building
An overview of these instruments, and examples of their application in bioenergy (where available) or agriculture, are provided in this policy brief.
The viability and effectiveness of these instruments in a certain country will depend on a number of factors, including the financial resources available, and the administrative and enforcement capacity of the government.

By: A. Rossi, P. Cadoni (FAO)