Land use and sustainability

Sustainability of biofuels

All vegetable oils supplied to the biodiesel industry need to meet the EU RED Sustainability Criteria, which include notably strict land-use and minimum emissions’ savings criteria.  The suppliers of feedstock throughout the biofuel chain need to comply with specific management systems and are verified by certification schemes approved by the European Commission.

FEDIOL believes that it is crucial for the proper functioning of the EU Single Market as well as for the sustainability performance of the biofuels supply chain that the EC-approved voluntary schemes are mutually recognised and valid in all EU Member States.

FEDIOL has a long-standing commitment to sustainability and strives to ensure that EU policies provide coherent and consistent guidelines for environmental, social and economic sustainability.

As a supplier of vegetable oils to the biodiesel industry, FEDIOL is involved in multi-stakeholder platforms to promote sustainable agricultural practices and to foster sustainability along the global supply chains. Since 2007, FEDIOL is a member of Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) and since 2010, an associate member of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). FEDIOL members are also involved in various other industry and civil society led sustainability initiatives.

Understanding the ILUC concept as an "investment"

Indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions are believed to occur when additional land is put on use to compensate for additional biofuels production.

ILUC can neither be observed nor measured in real time. For this reason, causality models are developed where certain assumptions are employed to reach estimations on ILUC impacts. However, due to the magnitude of assumptions in ILUC estimations and lack of reliable databases, it is difficult to assess and assign land-use changes to a particular activity.

Moreover, these initial emissions should be considered as an ILUC “debt”, since, over time, biofuels that are replacing fossil fuels in the EU transport market allow for carbon savings that eventually compensate such initial ILUC factor. In the specific case of rapeseed biodiesel, the ILUC debt can be paid for and amortised over 20 years. After that, biodiesel continues to deliver net emissions savings, since any ILUC emission that might have occurred have been already absorbed by the system.