Region-specific indicators for assessing the sustainability of biomass utilisation in East Asia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Sustainability (Switzerland), 2015, 7 (12), pp. 16237 - 16259
Issue Date:
2015-01-01
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© 2015 by the authors, licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This paper presents the findings of an expert working group of researchers from East Asian countries. The group was tasked with developing a theoretically sound and practically implementable methodology for assessing the sustainability of biomass utilisation in East Asian countries based on the needs and potential of biomass resources in this region. Building on six years of research conducted between 2007 and 2013, the working group formulated a set of main and secondary indicators for biomass utilisation under three pillars of sustainability. For the environmental pillar, the main indicator was life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and secondary indicators were water consumption and soil quality. For the economic pillar, the main indicator was total value added and secondary indicators were net profit, productivity, and net energy balance. For the social pillar, the main indicators were employment generation and access to modern energy, and the secondary indicator was the human development index. The application of the working group methodology and indicators in sustainability assessments of biomass utilisation will enable decision makers in East Asian countries to compare the sustainability of biomass utilisation options and to make decisions on whether or not to launch or sustain biomass utilisation initiatives.
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