CEN Technical Committees

CEN/TC 411 Bio-based products

The main objective of the CEN (European Standardization Institute) Technical Committee 411 is to develop standards for bio-based products covering horizontal aspects.

This includes a consistent terminology for bio-based products, sampling, bio-based content, application of and correlation towards LCA and sustainability of biomass used, and guidance on the use of existing standards for the end-of-life options.

As the TC’s focus is horizontal standards, there is no intention to present threshold or default values. This is to be done by specific product standards or by political decision. The TC intends to develop classifications and guidance (on for instance product declarations).

Standards developed by CEN/TC 411 bio-based products
Working Group 1 Terminology

The objective is to develop a standard on general terminology applicable to bio-based products, such as bio-lubricants, bio-surfactants, biopolymers and bio-solvents.Where necessary guidance towards the development of terminology for specific bio-based products and use in vertical standards should be developed for both other working groups and for users.


The term bio-based product refers to products wholly or partly derived from biomass, such as plants, trees or animals (the biomass can have undergone physical, chemical or biological treatment).

It is important to understand the meaning of the term and how it is being used. A standard defining general terms to be used in the field of bio-based products, EN 16575, was published by CEN in August 2014.

A selection of the definitions in the standard EN 16575:2014 is available for free:


Working Group 2 Bio-solvents

The development of standards for solvents, covering product functionality (performance), toxicity, ecotoxicity,biodegradability, safety and, if necessary, product specific and sustainability aspects not covered under another CEN/TC 411 working group.

Special attention shall be paid to bio-based solvents and their possible differences, if any. Bio-based solvents might be discriminated by their biological origin, their life-cycle impact and their overall ecological impact. These functions therefore have to be explicitly described and made comparable.

Technical Specification:
Working Group 3 Bio-based content

The task of this Working Group is the development of methods for the determination of the bio-based content of solid, liquid and gaseous products.

Technical Report:
Working Group 4 Sustainability criteria, life cycle analysis and related issue

The development of horizontal standards for bio-based products when it comes to sustainability criteria, life cycle analysis and issues related thereto. It is not the purpose of this standardization work to set thresholds or default values. This is to be done by specific product standards or by political decision.

Technical Report:
Working Group 5 Certification and declaration tools

The development of declaration and certification tools applicable to bio-based products identifying which characteristics can/should be assessed and how they should be reported. It is not in the scope to define criteria for products and/or packaging.


Would you like to get involved in the development of horizontal standards for bio-based products? 

Please contact the secretariat led by NEN (Netherlands Standardization Institute).

More information on European standardization can be found via cen.eu.