The development of sustainable biofuels is a key issue for both IUCN and Shell. In 2009, a scoping project began under the IUCN-Shell collaborative partnership agreement to identify areas where a collaborative approach could meaningfully progress sustainability issues towards:
- Reducing Shell’s environmental impact by improving the sustainability of its biofuels portfolio
- Improving the understanding of sustainable resource use, biodiversity conservation and livelihood risks in the biofuels supply chain
- Developing comprehensive systems and best practices to address the direct and indirect impacts of biofuels production
- Contributing to the development and harmonization of biofuels sustainability standards
- Convening experts and stakeholders to develop practical solutions that address sustainability challenges across the biofuels sector.
As part of this project, a stakeholder workshop was held to identify barriers to sustainability in the biofuels value chain. The workshop produced an action plan for overcoming these barriers, with four critical areas of work.
A specific Shell-IUCN Biofuels Agreement was then initiated to realize this action plan through four complementary and interrelated approaches:
- Harmonizing sustainability standards
- Encouraging consistent and robust policy
- Developing better environmental information
- Identifying good land-use planning approaches
A key issue cutting across all four components is mitigation against indirect land-use change (iLUC) – an increasingly growing concern for biofuels production and one of IUCN’s current areas of work in relation to biofuels.