Biofuels certification and verification systems in Europe

As biofuels gain market share and international trading of biomass, raw materials and biofuels expands, the need to ensure socio-economic sustainability along the whole supply chain becomes more pressing. This includes aspects such as land use, agricultural practices, competition with food, energy efficiency and GHG emissions, life cycle analysis (LCA), etc.

A strategy to achieve sustainability includes the need for certification systems. Developing certification procedures for biomass feedstock to be used in biofuel production requires identification and assessment of existing systems followed by measures taken to improve them. Certification procedures need to be applicable at both global and local level and relate both to small farmers or foresters as well as large conglomerates.

Sustainability of a given biofuel needs to be guaranteed in a transparent way. This is only possible if appropriate policy measures influencing and steering the overall supply chain are adopted. A strategy to achieve sustainability includes the need for certification systems (i.e. proof of compliance with sustainability criteris) and systems for verifying the origin of sustainable biofuels.

EC certification of sustainable biofuels

On 10 June 2010, the EC announced its scheme for certifying sustainable biofuels, part of a set of guidelines explaining how the Renewable Energy Directive, coming into effect in December 2010, should be implemented.

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