Led in part by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) has launched the first global third-party certification system for sustainable biofuels. To be certified “sustainable” the fuel must meet a set of environmental, social and economic principles and criteria set forth by the group. The certification process takes place online and there are online tools available to assist in the process.
“It’s one thing to say your product is sustainable and another to prove it,” said Barbara Bramble, Senior Advisor for the International Climate and Energy Program at the National Wildlife Federation. “This new system makes it easy to differentiate between biofuels that are environmentally destructive and biofuels that deliver on the promise of sustainability.”
Many groups and organizations have lobbied global concerns over the development of biofuels including indirect land use, food versus fuel, biogenic emissions and land grabbing. The certification system covers all of these major issues and more including their contribution to climate change mitigation and rural development; their protection of land and labor rights; and their impacts on biodiversity, soil and water pollution, water availability and food security.
“All biofuels are not created equal,” said Bramble. “Bringing accountability, consistency and transparency to the global biofuels market is a giant first step toward stopping those practices that result in tropical deforestation, habitat destruction and increased pollution. The RSB is all about enabling biofuels markets to reward those producers who protect natural resources and avoid negative impacts on local communities.”
The certification system will be operated by RSB Services, which is the “business arm” of the RSB, providing access to the certification process, licensing, and auditors’ training among other activities. During the meetings to approve the certification, more than 120 organizations that included farmers, refiners, retailers, and NGOs came to an agreement. Now the group is asking the marketplace to recognize the industry leaders who are producing sustainable biofuels.