The biodiesel chain calls on European legislators to recognise the direct advantages of biodiesel for the EU’s climate and energy policies, for its agricultural sector and the European economy

Press release of EBB, FEDIOL, EOA

BRUSSELS 21 January, 2015 – On the occasion of a high-level policy conference in Brussels organised by the biodiesel supply chain, prominent researchers have underlined the benefits of biodiesel as well as their reservations regarding the readiness of the iLUC science for EU policy-making. The EBB, EOA and FEDIOL call on EU decision-makers to safeguard existing investments from the introduction of iLUC methodology, be it for reporting or accounting.

The event “Biodiesel: Direct Advantages for Europe”, which took place in the European Parliament on Wednesday after the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee discussions on the iLUC file, brought together a wide spectrum of stakeholders. The co-host of the event, French centre-right MEP Delahaye stated that “we need to fully grasp the consequences of a shift in the European biofuels policy, for farmers who saw new opportunities/prospects in the production of first-generation biofuels, but also for the industry who invested”.

Her centre-left counterpart MEP Kumpula-Natri from Finland concluded that “With regards to setting up a real European bioeconomy, alleviating climate change and strengthening the EU’s energy security, and due to increasing demand of transport fuels, existing biofuel investments need to remain part of the answer. They are an important part of future sustainable transport solutions.”

Opening the debate, Carlo Hamelinck (Ecofys) reminded that transport is responsible for 25% of all global GHG emissions and that biofuels are an important part of future sustainable transport solutions. With emission savings 80% better than what is commonly thought according to Ecofys calculations, the current EU legislation substantially underestimates biofuels’ climate benefits.

Mike Hambly (UK National Farmers Union) insisted on the fact that the European biofuels policy has enabled the EU to produce 30% of its protein needs domestically. Introducing iLUC methodology into EU policy-making would rule out domestically produced rapeseed and biodiesel, affecting a major source of farming revenue in lesser productive European regions and 100,000 rural jobs.

Alexandre Gohin (INRA) highlighted that land use changes cannot be directly observed and that choices on data and parameters in economic models have dramatic effects on ILUC assessments. For example, using OECD-FAO figures for crop yield responses in the fully transparent and public GTAP- BIO model leads to 80% lower ILUC figures for biodiesel, compared to those produced by the opaque IFPRI model used by the Commission. From an international perspective,

Fred Ghatala (International Standards Organisation) reminded that after reviewing 161 publications, ISO had a consensus that iLUC science is inconclusive and unable to assign causality to biofuels. ISO therefore decided not to include iLUC into standards until the science is more developed.

Bearing in mind these iLUC science uncertainties, Raffaello Garofalo (EBB - on behalf of the biodiesel supply chain) called on EU legislators at the end of the conference, to safeguard jobs and investments by at the very least protecting the existing biofuel production from iLUC factors, be it for reporting or accounting. Considering the GHG savings of biodiesel produced from waste and residues and the difficulties that EU Member states will face to fulfill their advanced biofuel objectives, such feedstocks should be counted towards this sub-target. Finally, he called for a renewed policy framework beyond 2020 for EU investments to materialize and to enable onto the market more sustainable biofuels, both conventional and advanced, with the corresponding benefits in terms of energy security, economic growth and climate change mitigation.

Note to editors:

The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) is a non-profit organization established in January 1997. Today, EBB gathers nearly 80 members across 21 Member-States, which represents 75% of the European output. Biodiesel is the main European solution to reduce emissions from transport and dependence on imported oil. EBB aims to promote the use of biodiesel in the European Union and is committed to fulfil the International standards for sustainability in GHG emissions and sustainable feedstock. EBB is constantly working towards the development of improved and greener technologies.
Contact: Raffaello Garofalo, Secretary General of EBB (+32 (0)2 763 24 77)

The European Oilseed Alliance (EOA) brings together the oilseed organizations of the major European producing countries (Germany France, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, Belgium) EOA members represents 90 % of EU oilseed production - EOA works in association with the European organizations representing the oilseed supply chain, producers, processors, and seed breeders: Copa-Cogeca, FEDIOL, EBB, ESA.
Contact: Philippe Dusser, Secretary General of EOA (+33 (0)1 4069 4880)

FEDIOL represents the interests of the European vegetable oils and protein-meal industry. With over 150 facilities in Europe, the sector provides over 20.000 direct employments. Our members process approximately 56 million tonnes of basic products a year for the food and non-food markets. Oilseed crushing produces vegetable oils and protein meals as co-products. While vegetable oils are used for food and technical uses (pharmaceuticals, paints, detergents, biodiesel, etc.), protein meals are used to meet the increasing global demand for meat and protein.
Contact: Nathalie Lecocq, Director General of FEDIOL (+32 (0)2 771 53 30)