European Union

EU Sets Biofuel Sustainability Standards

The European Union has established what it is calling the “highest sustainability standards in the world” for certification of bio-fuels. The seven voluntary schemes endorsed by the European Commission would deny of designation of sustainable production to any bio-fuel produced from feedstock grown in areas which have a high biodiversity value.
EU Sets Biofuel Sustainability Standards

These would include tropical rainforests. Other areas eyed for protection include carbon-rich peatlands

“We need to make sure that the entire bio-fuels’ production and supply chain is sustainable,” said Günther Oettinger, the EU’s Commissioner for Energy. “The schemes recognised on the EU level today are a good example of a transparent and reliable system which ensures that these high standards are met.”

Bio-fuels are considered a potent alternative to the unsustainable use of fossil fuels. But where rainforest slash-and-burn gives way to oil palm plantations, which is the case in many parts of the developing world, bio-fuel is seen as something less than an environmentally friendly alternative.

The EU has set itself an objective to achieve a minimum share of 10 percent renewable energy in transport by 2020.

Companies can now choose whether to demonstrate compliance with these sustainability requirements through national systems or by joining a voluntary scheme which is recognised by the Commission.

When the Commission has thoroughly checked a scheme against the sustainability requirements and is satisfied that it adequately covers the sustainability requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive 1, it will give its recognition for five years.

Such a scheme verifies where and how the biofuels are produced. If the rules of the voluntary scheme have been met, the scheme can issue a certificate for that product.

In all 25 voluntary schemes were considered by the Commission, which ultimately chose to endorse the following:

•ISCC (German (government financed) scheme covering all types of biofuels);

•Bonsucro EU (Roundtable initiative for sugarcane based biofuels, focus on Brazil);

•RTRS EU RED (Roundtable initiative for soy based biofuels, focus on Argentina and Brazil);

•RSB EU RED (Roundtable initiative covering all types of biofuels);

•2BSvs (French industry scheme covering all types of biofuels);

•RSBA (Industry scheme for Abengoa covering their supply chain); and,

•Greenergy (Industry scheme for Greenergy covering sugar cane ethanol from Brazil).

For additional information

European Commission statement on bio-fuel sustainability schemes

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