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One critical success factor for the deployment of the bio-based economy is reliable communication about the bio-based content in products. The “Bio-based content certification scheme” is used to specify and validate the amount of biomass in a bio-based product, based on the European standard EN 16785-1:2015. Suppliers can use the scheme to label products with their bio-based content to facilitate both business to business and business to consumer communication.

Single European certification scheme

The “Bio-based content certification scheme” is the European certification scheme that enables independent assessment of claims about the bio-based content of products based on the European standard EN 16785-1. This certification scheme has been developed and validated by a broadly composed group of European stakeholders (e.g. companies active in biopolymers, bio-based chemicals, bio-based plastics, natural rubbers, paints/coatings, certification bodies, procurers).

The European certification scheme contains provisions for the determination, verification and monitoring of the bio-based content of products or product families and is applicable to all kinds of products containing carbon.

Drivers for credible claims

Procurement of bio-based products is gaining more and more interest as a driver for the uptake of bio-based products. Procurers can apply this European standard, as well as other standards in the field of bio-based products, to specify the required characteristics of bio-based products. Suppliers can use certificates and labels to demonstrate that they comply with these requirements. In this respect, procurers can also require that the claim of bio-based content is assessed by a third party (i.e. certification body).

Kraton, which received the first bio-based content certification, has made an animation about their crude tall oil refining that illustrates drivers for making credible claims:

Organisational structure

The European certification scheme has been developed and validated by the Committee of Experts ‘Bio-based content’ composed of representatives of various stakeholder groups across Europe, under the umbrella of Committee ‘NEN scheme management’. Tasks and responsibilities of this committee of experts include:

Decisions by the committee of experts (e.g. establishing the certification scheme, changes, interpretations, logo/label) are preferably taken by consensus (unanimity). If needed, a vote will take place to see whether a majority is in agreement with proposed decision. Sustained objection will be documented in the meeting proceedings.

The Committee of Experts ‘Bio-based content’ consisted of experts from Braskem, Bridgestone, DIN CERTCO, ECN part of TNO, European Bioplastics, Kraton, Nature Works, ONIP and Roquette (both representing ACDV), Total-Carbion PLA, TÜV Austria Belgium, and Wageningen University, at the time of developing and validating the Bio-based content certification scheme.

More information is available in the NEN Scheme management manual (see Certification documents).


NEN is the Dutch standards body that also represents the Netherlands as formal member in European (CEN and CENELEC) and international (ISO and IEC) standardisation activities. In addition to developing and publishing national, European and international standards, NEN also supports organisations with implementing standards (e.g. training courses, events, tools, guidelines). Another activity of NEN concerns the development and management of certification schemes, labels and other conformity assessment related tools. NEN does not certify. The Bio-based content certification scheme is one of the schemes that operate under the umbrella of NEN.


Your contact


Scheme manager

+31 6 21934262


+31(0)15 2 690 326