The European policy aimed at promoting sustainable biofuels belongs to the set of measures aiming at the fight against climate change. The target of these biofuels is to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas (GHG) of fossil fuels by 6% by 2020 (Directive 2009/30/EC). This means that the GHG-intensity of a biofuel must necessarily be lower than that of a fossil fuel.
In order to achieve this, 5 environmental criteria have been established (Directive 2009/28/EC, transposed into Belgian legislation by the royal decree of 26/11/2011):
• The first criterion deals with the biofuel's GHG-balance, which must be 35% lower compared to fossil fuels’ GHG-balance. This threshold will be increased to 50 (2017) and later to 60% (2018).
• The following three criteria aim at protecting land against changes in land use. They protect lands with high biodiversity value, lands with high carbon stocks as well as peatlands.
• Finally, vegetal materials produced in EU countries and used in the production should respect the conditions imposed in the frame of the Common Agricultural Policy. This criterion does not apply to biomass produced outside the EU.
In Belgium the professionals who want to introduce batches of biofuels on the market must record their batches in a database together with the durability criteria. Afterwards they can transfer their whole batches or parts of them to their clients. So the companies can show proof of the respect of durability criteria.
During the production cycle of biofuels, key information is kept and communicated to each economic operator. This cycle comprises the production of vegetal and animal substances, the gathering and transportation of that material to the collection points, the stages of transformation of the raw materials to produce biofuel and its transportation the location where it is mixed with fossil fuels.
These Schemes are aprouved by the European commission and are available here: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/renewables/biofuels/sustainability_schemes_en.htm
The Directorate-General Environment of the FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment sees to it that all biofuels placed on the market come with a declaration of compliance indicating that the environmental criteria are met.