Have Your Say: Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels Requests Comment on Sustainability Criteria

palm oil protest sticker with orangutan photo

photo by Mathias Klang

The idea that without stronger and enforceable sustainability criteria biofuels may increase as many social and environmental problems as they solve is one which is increasingly gaining acceptance. In order to solidify these criteria, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels has announced that they have created "Version Zero" of their principles and criteria which they feel need to be addressed for a biofuel to be considered sustainable.

12 Criteria For Sustainable Biofuels
Version Zero explains each one of these in more detail, but these are the 12 criteria necessary for sustainability:

1. Biofuel production shall follow all applicable laws of the country in which they occur, and shall endeavor to follow all international treaties relevant to biofuels' production to which the relevant country is a party.
2. Biofuels projects shall be designed and operated under appropriate, comprehensive, transparent, consultative, and participatory processes that involve all relevant stakeholders.

3. Biofuels shall contribute to climate change mitigation by significantly reducing GHG emissions as compared to fossil fuels.

4. Biofuel production shall not violate human rights or labor rights, and shall ensure decent work and the well-being of workers.

5. Biofuel production shall contribute to the social and economic development of local, rural and indigenous peoples and communities.

6. Biofuel production shall not impair food security.

7. Biofuel production shall avoid negative impacts on biodiversity, ecosystems, and areas of High Conservation Value.

8. Biofuel production shall promote practices that seek to improve soil health and minimize degradation.

9. Biofuel production shall optimize surface and groundwater resource use, including minimizing contamination or depletion of these resources, and shall not violate existing formal and customary water rights

10. Air pollution from biofuel production and processing shall be minimized along the supply chain.

11. Biofuels shall be produced in the most cost-effective way. The use of technology must improve production efficiency and social and environmental performance in all stages of the biofuel value chain.

12. Biofuel production shall not violate land rights.

Stakeholders Invited to Comment
From now through February 2009, all interested stakeholders (which pretty much means everyone reading this) are invited to comment on these criteria. After this comment period a "Version One" document will be published in April 2009.

Those wishing to add their voice to this important discussion can do so at the Bioenergy Wiki.

:: Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels
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