Evaluation of socio-economic sustainability indicators at Jatropha projects
Rom Colthoff, J.K.
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Biofuels are a possible solution to increase the worldwide energy source diversification in renewable energy of which Jatropha has been marked as a high potential crop. Recently concerns have arisen about the sustainability of the biofuel production process. Therefore there has been a stronger focus on the development of sustainability certification schemes, that can be used to determine and guarantee the sustainability of a biofuel project. The objective of this research is to contribute to the further development of sustainability certification schemes and to determine what indicators can be used for this. Within sustainability certification schemes there is a focus on the socio-economic areas of concern. First, a literature review was conducted to determine the areas of concern to be included. The areas of concern that are included are food security, land rights, rural and social development, labour rights and economic feasibility. These areas of concern have been specified into criteria, indicators and data requirements, which have been put into a data format. During field work in Mozambique the data format was applied to evaluate the sustainability of the projects, but most importantly the practicability and accuracy of the indicators. During the field work 6 Jatropha projects were involved in this research and visited throughout Mozambique. The results of the sustainability of the projects showed that there were no major issues concerning food security, land rights, rural and social development and labour rights. The most concerns were regarding economic feasibility. The still limited knowledge on Jatropha cultivation causes the performance to be below expectations, which causes difficulties for financial projections. The assessment of the indicators’ practicability and accuracy was precarious. Some indicators show good results and could be implemented, especially indicators aimed for individual projects. Indicators aimed for national or regional data are more difficult to implement, partly because of the immature stage of the Jatropha industry currently in Mozambique, and should now be revised or altered.