Monthly news from the Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI), December 2023

The new RCI Scientific Background Report is published and the RCS Label has been presented at the EBC2023, RCI got reinforcement with Jörn Harrandt, you may find project overviews and an invitation to a free RCI webinar

Let’s take a look at what happened in December 2023 at RCI:

1) Publication of RCI’s Scientific Background Report “Non-level playing field for renewable materials vs. fossil in Life Cycles Assessments – Critical aspects of the JRC Plastics LCA methodology and its policy implications”

This RCI Scientific Background Report was published on 10 January 2024. It is mainly motivated by a JRC a study titled: “LCA of alternative feedstocks for plastic products”, commonly referred to as the JRC Plastics LCA method (Nessi et al. 2021). Alternative feedstocks refer to the same three feedstocks that RCI defines as renewable carbon: biomass, CO2 utilisation and recycling. The above-mentioned study describes a methodology developed by the JRC to compare the environmental performance of alternative feedstocks with fossil-based plastic products. 

However, the methodology has been subject to criticism by various stakeholders, mainly from the bio-based sector, which has even prompted responses from the JRC. The main purpose of this RCI report is to provide additional context to highlight issues that may arise in the implementation of the JRC Plastics LCA methodology, and dives deeper into five issues:

  1.  The fossil footprint is likely to be underestimated, not transparent and lacks regional differentiation
  2.  Renewable feedstocks are more critically evaluated than fossil feedstocks
  3.  Methodological inconsistency and different regulatory support between energy and material use of renewable feedstocks
  4.  Biogenic/Atmospheric carbon uptake cannot be transparently visualised at factory in PEF / JRC Plastics LCA methodologies
  5.  The methodology should acknowledge the wider interface of sustainability assessment, policy design and landscape

The report contains several recommendations to remedy the above-mentioned aspects.

Find out more here:

2) Upcoming free RCI webinar on 29 February 2024

Interested in learning more about RCI’s latest publication? The next RCI webinar will take place on 29 February 2024 from 14:00 to 15:00 h CET, and will share some of the key take-aways from the “Non-level playing field for renewable materials vs. fossil in Life Cycles Assessments – Critical aspects of the JRC Plastics LCA methodology and its policy implications”.

You are cordially invited to join us for this free webinar via:

3) Presentation of the RCS Label at the EBC2023 in Berlin

At the 18th edition of the European Bioplastics Conference 2023, which brought together 380 delegates online and in person in Berlin, Philippe Dewolfs from our RCI member TÜV Austria gave an update and overview on the development of the Renewable Carbon Share (RCS) Label. 

In May 2023, RCI and TÜV Austria have joined forces up to launch such an RCS certificate and label to the market. The main purpose of the label is to indicate the share of renewable, non-fossil carbon in a material or product, acting as a meta-label that builds on the existing landscape. An Advisory Committee has been established to guide the further development of the certification scheme, and several case studies are currently under development. 

Interested in the RCS label? Don’t hesitate to contact!

4) 2024 – RCI’s current projects overview

At the beginning of 2024, the RCI is currently working on several notable projects, each carefully designed to provide a significant contribution to advancing the renewable carbon strategy and address critical topics of interest. 

The following projects are currently under development with planned publications in 2024: 

  • Chemical Recycling – A position paper on the topic of chemical recycling, to highlight the importance of the technology and recommend key items to enable chemical recycling.
  • LCA frameworks methodology – A scientific background report that dives deep into LCA frameworks and methodologies for different aspects relevant to renewable carbon.
  • Biofuel Transformation Strategy  An examination of the biofuel sector and future demand, and whether potential opportunities or synergies can be identified for the chemical and material sectors.
  • Sustainable Biomass Modelling – A joint project with BIC focusing on modelling sustainable biomass availability for different scenarios.

Another large project currently under development plans assess and evaluate policy measures in detail. More to come.

5) Reinforcement for the RCI – Jörn Harrandt joins the team

Jörn Harrandt, new employee of the RCI
© nova-Institut

As a result of on the continued growth, RCI welcomes Jörn Harrandt as a new member of staff. Jörn will support the RCI team in project management, scientific work, advocacy, representation at events and administrative tasks and joined the RCI Executive Office in the Hürth office in January 2024. 

Jörn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Master’s degree in “Natural Resources Management and Ecological Engineering” with a focus on biotechnology, sustainability in a globalised economy and ecosystems. 

6) Innovation Award at RMC

The Renewable Materials Conference (RMC), an event partnered by RCI, has established itself as one of the world’s leading events – RMC 2023 welcomed a staggering 465 delegates from 32 countries.

RMC 2024 will take place from 11-13 June 2024, once again at the Rhein-Sieg-Forum in Siegburg near Cologne, Germany. As part of the conference, the innovation award “Renewable Material of the Year 2024”, organised by nova-Institute and sponsored by Covestro, will be presented. Producers and inventors of innovative technologies and applications based on biomass, CO2 or advanced recycling are invited to submit their innovation. 

If you would also like to be part of the selection process, simply submit a completed application form by 28 February 2024.

Find out more at:


Renewable Carbon Initiative, press release, 2024-01-11.


European Bioplastics e.V.
Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI)


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