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Commission’s biofuel sustainability criteria shows commitment but fails to provide clear guidance for industry


10 Jun 2010


Agriculture & Food
Climate & Environment

Brazilian sugarcane ethanol industry calls for increased clarity around biofuels sustainability rules as industry moves forward with certification scheme  

BRUSSELS, 10 June 2010 – The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) welcomes the European Commission’s biofuels guidelines on sustainability criteria released today but calls for clearer definitions to allow the biofuels sector to develop a comprehensive certification scheme that fully meets Europe’s requirements. 

“Today’s announcements are an important first step. They provide examples of compliance and details on improved agricultural management practices. However further issues still need to be addressed, including the criteria for defining highly biodiverse grasslands as well as a methodology for identifying degraded lands. We urge the Commission to fill these gaps as soon as possible, so that industry has a clear framework within which to operate,” says Emmanuel Desplechin, Chief Representative in the European Union for the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

Brazilian sugarcane ethanol’s environmental practices are a global benchmark and the industry is committed to not only demonstrate compliance with the EU’s sustainability requirements, but to go beyond the established criteria. The Brazilian sugarcane industry is already taking steps towards sustainability certification, for example through the Better Sugar Cane Initiative (BSI). This international roundtable, gathering producers, buyers, end users and non-profits, is establishing transparent and verifiable criteria for sustainable sugarcane-derived production, focusing on continuously improving outstanding social, environmental and economic issues such as soil productivity, rational water use, waste water management, biodiversity maintenance and equitable labour. 



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.


Rebecca Brown / +32 2 894 90 29 /



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