Sustainability Schemes Integrated into EU’s RED
EU approves seven sustainability schemes for biofuels. All biofuels integrated into EU market must meet one of the approved schemes.
The European Union (EU) on Tuesday announced that its Commission approved the first seven sustainability schemes for biofuels. The announcement comes on the heels of indications that the EC will pursue a feedstock-neutral approach to regulating biofuels.
Approved schemes will be required to check a set of sustainability criteria for biofuels produced or imported to the EU. Among the requirements, biofuels cannot be produced from areas which have a high biodiversity value. These include protected areas, rain forests, or natural grasslands with a unique ecosystem. Biofuels also should not come from areas that store a high amount of carbon, such as forests or peatlands in order to assure that tropical forests and carbon rich peatlands are not turned into oil palm or sugarcane plantations.
In addition, the EU is requiring that biofuels used in the region deliver tangible greenhouse gas savings. Specifically, the EU is mandating that emissions over the whole production chain be at least 35 percent lower than fossil fuel equivalent. These measures need to be checked by Member States or through voluntary schemes which have been approved by the European Commission.
The seven approved schemes include:
- International Sustainability and Carbon Certification – a global initiative including a large number of companies from the supply chain and non-governmental organizations including the World Wildlife Fund.
- Bonsucro EU – a roundtable initiative that serves as a standard for sugarcane-based ethanol with a focus on Brazilian sugarcane production.
- Roundtable for Responsible Soy EU RED – a version of the Roundtable for Responsible Soy scheme designed to meet the requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive. It serves as a standard for soy-based biodiesel with a focus on Argentinean and Brazilian soy production.
- Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels EU RED – a roundtable initiative that covers all types of biofuels and has a global scope.
- 2BSvs – otherwise known as the Biomass Biofuels Sustainability voluntary scheme, the scheme is a French initiative that covers all types of biofuels and is global in scope.
- RBSA – developed by industry member Abengoa, the scheme covers ethanol and has a global scope. According to the EU Commission, it is characterized by a mandatory requirement to calculate actual GHG values as opposed to also allowing default values.
- Greenergy Brazilian bioethanol verification program – also an industry initiative, the standard was developed by UK-based fuel distributor and biodiesel producer Greenergy and is applied to Brazilian sugarcane ethanol.
A total of 25 voluntary scheme applications have been received by the European Commission. The seven schemes approved on July 19 were the first applications to be received by the commission. Other applications will continue to be assessed and may be approved at a later time.
Commissioner of Energy Günther Oettinger says:
We need to make sure that the entire biofuels’ production and supply chain is sustainable. This is why we have set the highest sustainability standards in the world. The schemes recognized on the EU level today are a good example of a transparent and reliable system which ensures that these high standards are met.
Learn more about biomass sustainability.
EU’s biofuels sustainability in the news:
- The EU schemes in detail from Ethanol Producer