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A cautious welcome to the agreed Renewable Energy Directive

Brussels and São Paulo, 15 June 2018 — UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, issued a cautious welcome to the agreed Renewable Energy Directive.

After months of intense negotiations, the European Parliament and Member States have come to an agreement that improves the initial Renewable Energy Directive proposal. Both have recognised that transport needs to contribute more to reducing GHG emissions.

Negotiators agreed on a target of 14% renewables in transport by 2030, an important signal that the EU has at last become serious about reducing emissions in a sector that in the past had made no progress at all.

The agreement freezes the share of crop-based biofuels at the Member State level in 2020 with a maximum of 7%. While this is certainly better than the cut to 3.8% proposed by the European Commission, it will also disincentivise the further investments that would be required
to optimise the technologies that would drive further significant savings in GHG emissions from crop-based biofuels.

Unfortunately, the agreement also contains multipliers for advanced biofuels and electricity used in different transport modes that will undermine the 14% target. A large part of that target will be filled by these multipliers without actually reducing GHG emissions.

Commenting on the agreement, Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs of UNICA, said: “We give the agreement a cautious welcome. We fear that this ambivalent commitment to biofuels will damage investor sentiment that will lead to delayed development of 2nd generation biofuels. Today, crop-based ethanol contributes meaningfully to reducing GHG emissions by more than 60%. Brazilian sugarcane ethanol in particular is a highly sustainable biofuel with minimal impact on land use change.”


UNICA is the leading trade association for the sugarcane industry in Brazil, representing 60 percent of the country’s sugarcane production and processing. UNICA’s priorities include serving as a source for credible information and analysis about the efficiency and sustainability of sugarcane products, particularly ethanol. The association works to encourage the continuous advancement of sustainable practices throughout the sugarcane industry and to promote sugarcane-based biofuels as a clean, reliable and renewable alternative to fossil fuels.

Contact: Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs, 0495/120869, geraldine@unica.com.br


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