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A timber truck fully loaded with logs drives over a very simple wooden bridge in a forest.
© Thünen-Institut
A timber truck fully loaded with logs drives over a very simple wooden bridge in a forest.
Institute of

WF Forestry


The Bioeconomy and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (BioSDG)

© Erik Grüneberg; Grecaud Paul -; Michael Welling

BioSDG - "Sustainable Development Goals": What is the contribution of the bioeconomy?

With the Agenda 2030 the international community set itself 17 goals (the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG) for a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable development. To fulfill these SDGs, the development towards bioeconomy is considered as a possible solution. The impact of such transformations on specific SDGs will be analyzed within the project “BioSDG”.

Background and Objective

Germany is committed to implement the SGDs, the “National Research Strategy Bioeconomy 2030” and the “National Policy Strategy Bioeconomy” intend to contribute to this commitment. Main areas of action of the bioeconomy are the worldwide food security (SDG 2), the sustainable design of agricultural production (SDG 12), the industrial use of renewable energies and the expansion of the energy use of biomass (SDG 7). But the intended development towards bioeconomy goes along with an increased consumption of the scarce resources such as land, woody biomass and other renewable raw materials. There is thereby a risk that the expansion of the bioeconomy could be in conflict with the objectives of other SDGs or that it could arise conflicting goals between individual SDGs.

In this context, the objective of the “BioSDG” project is to analyze the transformation towards bioeconomy using different scenarios and examine its contribution to achieving the SDGs. Potentially arising conflicts of objectives between individual SDGs are also to be identified and studied.

Target Group

Policy, Industry, Population


Biomass is produced and traded worldwide. Consequently, the analysis of the bioeconomy starts on a global level. Within this project, the Thünen-Institute analyzes the specific impacts of the bioeconomy on the forestry and wood sector. As wood-based products represent an important part of biomass, it is to be expected that the development of bioeconomy will be linked to an increased demand for woody biomass for material and energy uses. This, in turn, could have effects on the pressure on existing forestland and on the use of scarce wood resources. In the first step of the analysis, global feedback mechanisms on agricultural and wood markets should be examined. Because land-use changes and their impacts such as increased greenhouse gas emissions occur at local level, the consideration of the local dimension must be part of the analysis.

The interactions between the different scales will be examined using an interdisciplinary, model-based approach. Therefore, biophysical and socio-economic influencing factors will be considered on a global, regional and local level.

Data and Methods

As part of the analysis, possible pathways of the bioeconomy are elaborated in the form of scenarios in collaboration with stakeholders and experts within a workshop process for the time horizon 2030. The scenarios display different developments of the bioeconomy (most relevant technologies and policies) and global changes (among others the development of population and economic growth, consumption patterns and climate change). As a central technology option of the bioeconomy, different developments of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) will be reflected within the scenarios.

To quantify the development of bioeconomy as well as its economic and ecological impact on the forestry and wood sector, the plant growth model PROMET, the macroeconomic general equilibrium model DART and the global forest products model GFPM will be linked within an integrative model network. Finally, the simulation results will be analyzed and interpreted with regard to their impacts on the different SDGs.

Our Research Questions

  • What contribution can make bioenergy with carbon capture and storage to climate protection?
  • How land-use changes affect the contribution of the bioeconomy to the achievement of different SDGs, particularly considering SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and SDG 15 (Life on land)?
  • Which effects on SDGs other than those mentioned can be expected from the expansion of the bioeconomy? How does the development of the bioeconomy impact global and regional prices of agricultural goods as well as of wood-based products and energy? What are the effects on food prices as an indicator for nutrition security? Which welfare effects emerge? How is trade affected?
  • Which interactions with other policy measures such as those in the framework of climate change mitigation efforts exist (EU-ETS or subsidies for renewable energies)? Which potential measures are suitable to increase the contribution of the bioeconomy to the achievement of single SGDs?


In order to establish the modelling scenarios, an expert survey on the global BECCS potential by 2050 was conducted in addition to the review of the relevant literature. In the course of this, 25 experts from the fields of science, business and politics were interviewed worldwide. The thematic focus of the survey was on the economic areas of application of BECCS technologies, usable energy raw materials and other technical properties (including operating costs). The aim is to integrate the representation of BECCS technologies in the model network with realistic properties.

In addition, the conception of the model network (DART-BIO-ILANCE-GFPM) was completed. The first results of the global BECCS scenarios are expected in the course of 2023.

Links and Downloads


Dr. Holger Weimar

+49 40 739 62 314
+49 40 739 62 314

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
    (national, öffentlich)


4.2020 - 12.2023

More Information

Project funding number: 031B0788C
Project status: finished

List of Publications

  1. 0

    Honkomp T, Schier F (2024) Scoping review of carbon pricing systems in forest sector models. Environ Res Lett 19(1):013001, DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/ad101d

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