Summary Report No. 124
Assessment of Trade-off Decisions for Sustainable Bioenergy Development in the Philippines: An Application of Conjoint Analysis
L. A. Acosta, D. B. Magcale-Macandog, W. Lucht, K. G. Engay, M. N. Q. Herrera, O. B. S. Nicopior, M. I. V. Sumilang, V. Espaldon (November 2011)
Sustainability assessments of bioenergy production are essential because it can have both positive and negative impacts on society. Human preferences that influence trade-off decisions on the relevant determinants and indicators of sustainability should be taken into account in these assessments. In this paper, we conducted a survey with five groups of respondents including (1) government officials and employees, (2) academic and research professionals, (3) private company managers and workers, (4) farm owners and workers, and (5) “others” (e.g. students, residents, etc.) to assess their trade-off decisions on bioenergy development in the Philippines. The analysis of the survey results reveal that sustainability of bioenergy production will depend on the choice of biomass feedstock and these choices depend on people’s perceptions. Heterogeneous perceptions among the different groups of respondents on the appropriate bioenergy feedstock to achieve economic, social and ecological sustainability suggest that sustainability of bioenergy is not a generic concept. The use of aggregate indices for sustainability assessments that ignore these perceptions on bioenergy production can thus be very misleading. The preference weights from conjoint analysis, which measure human preferences on different determinants and indicators of economic, social and ecological sustainability, can help improve sustainability assessments.