Insights from the sustainability monitoring tool SUMINISTRO applied to a case study system of prospective wood-based industry networks in central Germany
Bioeconomy regions are a young concept representing emerging amalgamation points for the implementation of cross-sectoral value-added chains. When sustainable bioeconomy strategies are rolled out, their proof-of-concept implies that industrial R&D activities should lead to impact decoupling and that the valorization of locally available lignocellulosic biomass has to contribute to an increase in added value. Furthermore, regional co-benefits for society and a positive influence on local environmental and socioeconomic conditions are major factors. The fulfillment of these strategic goals would be a milestone achievement when progressing from the blueprint development and the road-mapping stage towards socially accepted and sustainable wood-based bioeconomy strategies. For regional industrial and science stakeholders who run pilot facilities for process upscaling and for energy and material flow integration, this requires well-orchestrated integrative processes, which go beyond conventional "Life Cycle Management" approaches. It is obvious that assessing and monitoring such integrative systems will have to account for different stakeholder perspectives and for detailed technology deployment and resource conversion scenarios. Applying a sustainability index methodology in a case study region must include an evaluation of the whole supply chain and the process networks associated with the characteristic products of the evaluated region. To date, no such integrative assessment methods exist in the literature. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to lay out, on the basis of a practical example in the case study region of Central Germany, an assessment of the sustainability level of wood-based bioeconomy networks by applying the Sustainability Monitoring Tool-SUMINISTRO"-to examine regional bio-based industry networks.