The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) welcomes new European Commission's biofuels guidelines on sustainability criteria 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.
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