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Call for Tender for NGOs – Stopping ecosystem and climate-harming unsustainable bioenergy

Stopping ecosystem and climate-harming unsustainable bioenergy, linking key drivers of unsustainable land use and forest management, and highlighting deviations from European Union climate and environmental ambition to inform policy decisions and reform

Application deadline
Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Stichting BirdLife Europe (BLE) is looking for relevant environmental NGOs that want to perform research, investigative work, communications or related advocacy in certain EU Member States on the impact on the environment, public health and climate change mitigation from unsustainable practices such as forms of bioenergy (including biofuels, biomass, biogas), ensuring the Renewable Energy Directive and other relevant policy effectively contribute to climate change mitigation while minimizing adverse environmental impacts in line with objectives under the European Green Deal (EGD).

The call for tender is particularly intended to establish stronger capacity in European Union Member States for civil society organisations dedicated to working on bioenergy policies at EU and national level. Support for this work aims to increase the knowledge and awareness of the impact that EU and Member State policies, and resulting land management practices, have on climate and the environment. This information is intended to contribute to sustainability discussions for the implementation of renewable energy policy and climate mitigation strategies and communicated to national decision-makers and the European Commission.

Specifics of the call for tender:

  • This call for tender is for civil society organizations to apply for monetary grants to carry out work in line with the specifications in this document. 
  • To apply to this call for tender the accompanying Strategy Proposal should be completed.
  • Participants to the call are requested to submit a strategy detailing the activities that are suggested to be carried out and the needed staff capacity. Please read the requirements below carefully and bear in mind that funding does not allow any direct lobbying activities1.
  • The grant period will run from the 14th of February until end of December 2023, with the possibility for renewal dependent on funding and delivery.
  • An indicative budget of € 12 – 15,000 is recommended.
  • Applicants need to have a legal entity to handle administration and financial aspects of the grant.
  • Joint applications for multiple NGOs to work on a shared campaign are welcome, but one of the applying organizations needs to be nominated to handle the administrative requirements and receive instalments of the grant.  
  • Applications should be in line with the aims, and take into account the practicalities, outlined in this document.

In 2021-2023 the European Green Deal presents an opportunity to re-open the RED and introduce meaningful safeguards and limits on bioenergy. 

The European Green Deal is the EU’s far-reaching and extensive roadmap for making its economy sustainable. It encompasses multiple initiatives to realise this overarching aim, a number of which have direct relevance for bioenergy; in particular the Emissions Trading System Directive; the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation; and the Biodiversity Strategy.

Of particular importance, is the review of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII). The review presents an opportunity to re-open the legislation and to either remove eligibility for bioenergy altogether or introduce new and meaningful limits and safeguards on the use of bioenergy counted towards national and European renewable energy targets. Removal or more stringent limits to bioenergy are particularly critical at this stage because an increase in renewable energy targets in the RED – without additional limits and safeguards – could lead to even more wood being burned for energy resulting in subsequent damage, such as land use intensification, forest degradation, indirect land use changes and an increase in net GHG emissions.

The EU Commission presented a proposal for the review of the Renewable Energy Directive in July 2021. The proposal is now passing through the co-decision process, in which both the European Parliament and Council can add amendments to the Commission’s proposal, which they must eventually agree on. This process could extend well into 2023.

Following the finalisation of the RED review the directive will have to be transposed into national law, providing an opportunity for national groups to strive to improve the legislation at national level.

Within the wider context of the European Green Deal, there is a need and an opportunity to recognise and promote the achievement of these climate ambitions through higher energy-efficiency, lower energy consumption, avoided deforestation and protection of carbon sinks and stocks alongside the rapid but appropriate development of renewable energy to displace polluting fossil energy.


An aim of this tender is to identify links between bioenergy policy, land and resource management, trade and energy production, and impacts on the environment, biodiversity or climate mitigation. Studies and findings should be used to inform the public and decision-makers at national level, and work with BLE to provide input toward potential review of policy at European level.

Potential areas NGO tenders could focus on:

  • Pushing for key EU policies (such as the Renewable Energy Directive, EU ETS & EU Green Finance Taxonomy) to be revised to put limits on the use of bioenergy, fully account for its GHG emissions and reduce incentives for its use. Specifically during the RED trilogue period now extended into 2023.
  • Inform key stakeholders in EU and Member States of the implications of policy options with regards to the review of the RED and other key polices.
  • Track and provide input into the implementation of key EU policies (such as the Renewable Energy Directive, EU ETS & EU Green Finance Taxonomy) into national legislation.
  • Identify opportunities provided by the newly implemented legislation to oppose unsustainable practices in member states.
  • Gather evidence and material for further concrete case studies on the environmental, climate or societal impacts of bioenergy and provide media and decision makers with country specific, targeted information.
  • Investigations or studies into ecosystem harming implementation practices; trade which is pushing these practices; or the impacts of processing plants and energy producers on the environment, health or climate.
  • Solutions for moving away from, or improving, unsustainable bioenergy practices.

Potential work and activities NGO tenders could include:

  • Outreach to decision makers and media (e.g. press briefings) to disseminate new research and knowledge, but a reminder this cannot include any direct lobbying activities as per Annex 1.
  • Organize events and / or workshops on national level to promote NGO views on bioenergy.
  • National and trans-national coalition building.
  • Support capacity building and understanding of the role of EU policies on climate and the environment.
  • Engage in national policy debates and position formulation on bioenergy.
  • Take part in NGO networking meetings on bioenergy organized by BLE.
  • Media work especially on key moments during the political timeline when European climate and energy policy is being reviewed.
  • Actively engage with national policy makers to inform them of the sustainability concerns related to growing bioenergy use and of ways to address these concerns.


The organization needs to present BLE a strategy document and budget proposal by filling in the strategy template attached to this call for tender. Joint proposals between different NGOs are possible if responsibilities are clearly explained.

A budget of €12 -15,000 is a recommended guide. The proposal and the budget should include a full or part-time member of staff that will be dedicated to carrying out the work suggested in the proposal and that provides a point of contact. The budget should also include necessary resources to carry out the work proposed including travel and events for example.

A successful applicant shares the policy objectives mentioned in this document of BLE, is non-profit, is located in the geographical areas identified in this proposal, has a proven track record in successful national-level advocacy work and can provide a convincing proposal and budget that

supports the aims of this call. Please also note that the proposed activities cannot include direct lobby activities as explained in Annex 1 of this call for tender.

The deadline for submitting the proposal is 1st February 2023.

Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible, with a pre-project meeting/call to be held to discuss the scope of the projects and outcomes. The grant period will run until the end of December 2023, with a final report due at mid-January 2024. For planning purposes if outcomes or deliverables are produced in advance, this will allow cooperation with BLE to disseminate messages and key findings.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss project ideas. If you would like to submit a proposal but know beforehand that the deadline is not possible, please contact us immediately.

Please send all proposals to: [email protected] [email protected]


The funds provided herein may not be used for “lobbying” activities, defined as any communication with: (i) legislators, their staff, or other government officials with the intention of influencing a specific legislation; or (ii) the general public expressing a view on a specific legislation and encouraging them to contact a legislative representative through a “call to action.” These funds may not be used for these activities under any circumstance.

Several other activities, however, are permissible under this grant, including:

1. Providing technical assistance or advice to a governmental body or committee in response to its unsolicited written request. The request must be from the body or committee, not merely an individual sitting on it, and the response must be made available to every member of the requesting body or committee.

2. Making available the results of nonpartisan analysis, study or research. A nonpartisan analysis is defined as a full and fair exposition of a particular subject that may advocate a view so long as the presentation of the relevant facts is sufficient to enable readers to reach independent conclusions, e.g. presenting information on both sides of a legislative controversy in a balanced and objective manner. Distribution may not be limited to or solely directed toward persons interested solely in one side of a particular issue but must include all sides.

3. Examining and discussing broad social, economic, and similar policy issues whose resolution would require legislation—even if such legislation is pending—so long as the discussion does not address the merits of a specific legislation.

4. Communicating with members about pending or proposed legislation, unless the communications directly encourage the members to attempt to influence a specific legislation.

These activities do not constitute “lobbying” even though such communications may advocate a view on proposed or pending legislation. In the instance it is not clear whether any activity being performed is prohibited, the grantee shall contact the grantor prior to engaging in it.