eBIO welcomes EC sustainability, certification guidelines

By | May 21, 2010
News Release posted June 10, 2010

The European Commission officially published its implementation guidelines June 10 for the EU biofuels sustainability scheme. Any decision on whether to incorporate indirect land use effects, however, will not be made until later this year when a comprehensive report on the issue is due.

"Europe made another important step today towards a more sustainable transport future", said Rob Vierhout, secretary-general of eBIO. "This document is essential to ensure that biofuels used to count towards the European targets have been produced following the toughest sustainability standards applied worldwide".

When presenting the guidelines, Energy Commissioner Gnther Oettinger highlighted the crucial importance of sustainable biofuels for the European climate and energy strategy. Biofuels will remain the only ready-made solution to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector for the foreseeable future. He indicated that biofuels offer far greater opportunities than risks, especially compared to fossil fuels that are more and more costly and risky to produce. "There is no way around biofuels if Europe is serious about its climate and energy security goals", Vierhout commented. "We applaud the Commissioner's clear support for biofuels and for the 10 percent target."

The commission has now called upon industry, government and NGOs to present certification schemes that guarantee that only sustainable biofuels will be used in Europe. The EU bioethanol industry is working very hard to have schemes operational soon, according to Vierhout. The first one from industry REDcert is already approved in Germany.

The European bioethanol fuel industry has been awaiting those guidelines and welcomes their publication. They provide the necessary clarity and pan-European rule-book to allow for business decisions regarding long-term biofuels investments anywhere in the EU27.

The criticism by a number of environmental NGOs that these guidelines are not addressing the effects of indirect land use change (ILUC) is misplaced. The discussion on the still unproven ILUC theory will take place later this year as is foreseen by the directive. "Narrowing down the biofuel debate to ILUC is equal to ignoring the importance and significance of the strictest environmental criteria ever placed upon an industry sector. It is pure spinning of facts and scaremongering, and this is not very constructive", said Vierhout.

The EC sustainability criteria document can be downloaded at the EC Energy website: