Effective and robust sustainability certification schemes and labels for biobased resources, materials and products can set higher levels for sustainability standards within and beyond EU borders. Sustainability certification schemes and labels have many advantages over national or regional laws and regulations: they can be applied to assess and steer toward sustainability along (global) value chains, be designed for specific commodities, are more flexible than public regulation and can complement it.
The Harmonitor project aims to improve the effectiveness of certification schemes and labels in different sectors of the EU Bioeconomy and strengthen their use as a co-regulation instrument. Harmonitor's goal is to promote and contribute to better quality and more trustable certification schemes and labels available in the market. The Harmonitor project will also establish and test a participative review platform concept that allows certification schemes and labels to find commonalities and cooperation when operating in bio-based value chains within and across EU borders. EU policy makers will also be invited to use and support the concept platform.
The Harmonitor project aims to achieve the following outcomes:
1 Enhanced transparency and traceability of environmental impacts along value chains and in business-to-business (B2B) trade and communications.
2 Higher levels of effectiveness and robustness of CSLs through systematic monitoring.
3 Increased awareness of trade flows and their impacts.
4 Possible use of CSLs as a co-regulation instrument as part of the EU Bioeconomy policy framework.
The specific objectives of the Harmonitor project and its Harmonitor platform are:
1 To establish a review platform to capture the dynamic development of certification schemes and labels and encourage their harmonisation and continuous improvement through the exchange of information and promotion of best practices, as well as contributing to the development of new criteria and indicators for the preparation of industrial standards.
2 To provide quantitative, transparent data on bio-based value chains through analysis and dissemination of trade flows of biological resources, bio-based materials and products (certified and non-certified), and quantification of direct and indirect costs and benefits of certification.
3 To review and compare performance requirements (criteria and indicators) and assurance and governance systems for comprehensive sustainability coverage of international and EU certification schemes and labels for bio-based systems.
4 To develop and apply a monitoring system on the effectiveness and robustness of bio-based certification schemes and labels.
5 To improve the understanding of the opportunities and limitations of using certification schemes and labels as a co-regulation instrument for the future development of the EU bio-economy policy framework.