Archive Reports

Recent reports on sustainability and biofuels are regularly added to the EBTP reports database, reflecting a range of views on the issue. Links to some notable archive reports are listed below.

Renewable Fuels Agency Review of the Indirect Effects of Biofuels

On 21 February 2008, the UK Secretary of State for Transport Ruth Kelly invited the Renewable Fuels Agency to undertake a Review of the Indirect Effects of Biofuels. This was done in the light of new evidence suggesting that an increasing demand for biofuels might indirectly cause carbon emissions because of land use change, and concerns that demand for biofuels may be driving food insecurity by causing food commodity price increases.

icon Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels: Global Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Biofuels Production Version Zero (8.9 Mb - link updated April 2016)

In June 2007, the Steering Board of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) published draft principles for sustainable biofuels production, as the basis for a global stakeholder discussion around requirements for sustainable biofuels. A period of global consultation followed, and this document (Version Zero) presents the resulting draft standard – principles and criteria, along with key elements of the guidance for implementation.

Sustainability Standards for Bioenergy (1.5 Mb PDF) – Uwe R. Fritsche, Katja Hünecke, Andreas Hermann, Falk Schulze and Kirsten Wiegmann with contributions from Michel Adolphe, Öko-Institut e.V., Darmstadt. Published by WWF Germany, Frankfurt am Main, November 2006. Please note that the material in this report is copyright of WWF Germany, Frankfurt am Main and that any reproduction in full or in part of this publication must mention the title and credit the copyright holder.

IDB Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard

The Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative (SECCI) and the Structured and Corporate Finance Department (SCF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have created the IDB Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard based on the sustainability criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB). The primary objective of the Scorecard is to encourage higher levels of sustainability in biofuels projects by providing a tool to think through the range of complex issues associated with biofuels.

BIOSEA Project, Italy

In Italy, the BIOSEA project (optimization of biomass energy for economic and environmental sustainability) aims to optimise supply chains by making use of existing agricultural research and genetic engineering and LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) for a proper comparison between options and for the identification and elimination of critical points relating to economic sustainability and environmental processes.

Social Aspects of Biofuels Development

In September 2009, the Potsdam Institute, Germany, launched a 3-year project Biofuel as Social Fuel, which is analysing the societal impact of biofuel development, for example, the potential of technological innovation to enhance 'social progress'.

Biofuel Sustainability in the US

As in Europe, sustainability of biofuels is becoming increasingly important in the United States, and is addressed by the EPA and groups such as California Low Carbon Fuel Standards Sustainability Work Group.

Other projects and initiatives to improve the sustainability of biofuels


GBEP sustainability indicators for biofuels

In May 2011, the Global Bio-Energy Partnership (GBEP) published a report on sustainability indicators for bioenergy. GBEP brings together public, private and civil society stakeholders in a joint commitment to promote bioenergy for sustainable development. 

PDF icon View GBEP sustainability indicators briefing note



In the US, this concept was the subject of a paper by Timothy Searchinger et al, Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change, published in Science in February 2008 [Vol. 319 no. 5867 pp. 1238-1240]. It has been suggested that increased use of rape seed oil for biodiesel production in Europe could reduce the amount available for the food industry, leading in turn to increased demands for imports of palm oil (potentially increasing deforestation in producer countries).

Since 2008, there has been much debate about the assumptions made and methods used to establish the impact of Indirect Land Use Change. There is a concensus among scientists that land use change is very complex and affected by a wide range of factors, not only biofuels. Nonetheless, public concerns have led to the amendment of EC biofuels policies and the role of biofuels in sustainable transport strategy.