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Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) welcomes European Union's cautious approach to Indirect Land-Use Change (ILUC)


14 Jan 2011



Brussels, 12 January 2011 - The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) is pleased that the European Union is pursuing a vigilant and cautious approach to indirect land-use change (ILUC) as it relates to biofuels and bioliquids. The report issued by the European Commission on December 22 is an example of continued commitment to improving the science behind ILUC.

The Commission's report acknowledges the important role biofuels play in decarbonizing transport and providing opportunities for economic development. But the European Union also recognises that considerable discrepancies between different models of ILUC measurement do cause confusion when it comes to assessing the potential impact of biofuels.

"We applaud the European Commissions' engagement to continue improving the science that is essential to determine how ILUC is to be measured. Developing science to understand ILUC for all land-based activities is crucial," says UNICA's Chief Representative in the European Union, Emmanuel Desplechin. "Current modeling is still too immature to evaluate the magnitude of ILUC for biofuels. Defining public policy based on unproven science would be risky, while raising the possibility that EU legislation could run afoul of international trade rules."

Furthermore, existing models do not take into account sustainability criteria set in place by a number of stakeholders to ensure that biofuel production is sustainable. While the report recognises many current efforts aimed at producing sustainable biofuels, ILUC studies should consider initiatives such as the AgroEcological Zoning for Sugarcane, introduced by the Brazilian Government in 2010 to organize and manage the expansion of energy crops and protect sensitive habitats.




The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) represents the top producers of sugar and ethanol in the country's South-Central region, especially the state of Sao Paulo, which accounts for about 60% of the country's sugarcane harvest and of total ethanol production. UNICA develops position papers, statistics and specific research in support of Brazil's sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity sectors. In 2009, Brazil produced an estimated 598 million metric tonnes of sugarcane, which yielded 33 million tonnes of sugar and 25.5 billion litres of ethanol, making it the number-one sugarcane grower and sugar producer in the world, and the second-largest ethanol producer on the planet, behind the United States.


Amandine de Coster /+32 2 894 90 17/