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From Sustainability-as-usual to Sustainability Excellence in Local Bioenergy Business

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2017, pp 240-272
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d5.0146
Heli Kasurinen , Ville Uusitalo, Sanni Väisänen, Risto Soukka, Jouni Havukainen
Sustainability Science, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Skinnarilankatu 34, 53850 Lappeenranta, Finland


Bioenergy business operators can significantly contribute to the sustainability of bioenergy systems. While research has addressed the maturity of corporate responsibility for sustainability, the maturity levels of bioenergy business have not been determined. The objectives of this research were to characterise the maturity levels of bioenergy corporate responsibility for sustainability and outline an approach by which companies can operate at the most mature sustainability excellence level. Literature, three workshops attended by bioenergy experts and a case study on biobutanol production in Brazil were used to develop the maturity model and approach. The results characterise the profitability, acceptability, and sustainability orientation maturity levels through sustainability questions and methods, and list the components of a systemic, holistic approach. Although the shift of business mindset from sustainability-as-usual to sustainability excellence is challenging, a systemic approach is necessary to broadly identify sustainability questions and a multitude of methods by which they can be answered.

Keywords: Sustainability, Bioenergy, Biofuel, Biobutanol, System analysis, Life cycle.

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