Towards a sustainable biofuels industry

02 September 2011 | News story

IUCN, in collaboration with more than 100 organizations, contributed to the development of a recently launched sustainable biofuels standard that promotes sustainable land use choices and natural resource management for positive economic and social development.

The Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) is a leading multi-stakeholder initiative that was launched in March and has now received official recognition by the European Commission (EC) for meeting the sustainability criteria of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

IUCN is now promoting the adoption of the new RSB certification system by biofuel producers, as it is crucial for biofuels to be produced in a way that is consistent with sustainable land use choices and natural resource management, contributing to both positive economic and social development. IUCN welcomes the recent decision of the EC to recognize the RSB certification system. The EC is the first regulator to have set legally binding sustainability criteria for biofuels, and is now recognizing voluntary certification schemes against this minimum standard. Thereby encouraging economic operators to use ambitious voluntary standards, like RSB.

Protecting diverse ecosystems and carbon stocks, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to the fossil fuel reference, and supporting rural development are all key elements of a sustainable biofuels industry. We are pleased that the RSB certification system will recognize biofuels produced in such a way. To this effect, IUCN is encouraging relevant economic operators to make commitments with regards to the production or procurement of RSB certified biofuels to facilitate the adoption of the standard.

Standards and certification systems help create market conditions that support responsible management practices through good practices that reduce environmental impacts in every step of the supply chain. RSB aims to be similarly effective in creating these conditions for the biofuels industry and is therefore an important tool to advance the sustainability of the global biofuels industry.
IUCN, along with other RSB member organizations including business, will closely follow developments in the adoption of the RSB standard promote its wider recognition by other regulators around the world, and ensure continual improvement in the years to come...