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UNICA: Now it’s time to think about a post-2020 biofuels policy

BRUSSELS/SAO PAOLO (14 APRIL 2015) – UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, issued the following statement on the European Parliament Environment Committee’s vote on the compromise text agreed by the Council on 1 April 2015 on the issue of indirect land use change, or ILUC:

“UNICA is glad that the process is finally coming to a conclusion, as the industry urgently needs predictability to continue operating. We look forward to a continued improvement of the framework for the post-2020”, said UNICA CEO, Elizabeth Farina.

Overall, the deal includes a 7% cap to be applied to conventional biofuels against the 10% target for renewables in transport. Even if UNICA believes that a cap is a black and white approach which does not reflect the sustainability of biofuels, 7% could provide a bit more flexibility to biofuels producers.

On the other hand, one of the provisions which would have truly guaranteed a share of the European biofuels market for bioethanol – the 6.5% sub-target for renewables in petrol – is no longer part of the compromise. Neither is the 1.25% sub-target for advanced biofuels, a missed opportunity to encourage a new generation of biofuels.

“A cap at 7% alone is not enough to keep bioethanol in the market. Biodiesel installed capacity will cover the European needs for traditional biofuels and absorb most of the 7%” explained Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs at UNICA.

UNICA regrets that the hard work done by MEPs in reaching an agreement on the 6.5% sub-target was not met with Member States’ approval. Against scientific and factual evidence, Member States were regrettably concerned about the implications of a widespread use of higher bioethanol blends.

The Brazilian sugarcane Industry now looks at the next steps and, should this deal be confirmed by the EP plenary on 29 April, calls on the EU institutions to start thinking about the post-2020 framework.

Biofuels still represent the most viable solution to decarbonize transport and should be still part of the game. Sooner or later Europe will also follow the examples of the U.S., where the E10 blend is widespread, and of Brazil, where even higher blends are being successfully introduced.

“UNICA will continue advocating for a more balanced EU biofuels policy which recognizes and incentivizes the use of the most sustainable biofuels, such as sugarcane bioethanol” concluded Ms Kutas.

For further information, please contact: Géraldine Kutas, Head of International Affairs at UNICA (Geraldine@unica.com.br, tel: +32495120869) 

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.


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