Carbon and sustainability reporting

The RFA encourages the supply of sustainable biofuels through the carbon and sustainability reporting system. The right biofuels produced with regard to sustainability concerns, delivering greenhouse gas savings, have the potential to be a valuable tool against climate change. There are also however legitimate concerns that biofuels grown without a focus on sustainability risk accelerating local environmental degradation and failing to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. They could potentially also cause or exacerbate social problems, particularly in the developing world.

One of the risks of increasing biofuel mandates is that growing demand for biofuels will increase pressure on land use. This could potentially drive land use change and release greenhouse gases, for instance through deforestation. Another risk is that demand for biofuels from food crops will cause food prices to rise, contributing to food insecurity. Maintaining public confidence in biofuels, and achieving genuine greenhouse gas emissions savings, requires Government and the biofuels industry to find effective ways to manage the potential negative impacts. The RFA encourages fuel suppliers to source certified sustainably biofuels under the RTFO, and advises the Government about the wider environmental and social implications of the biofuels market.  

The RFA requires biofuel suppliers to report on both the net greenhouse gas emissions reductions provided by, and the sustainability of, the biofuels they supply, when applying for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs). These reports address the direct impacts arising from biofuel cultivation that are potentially within the influence of companies sourcing or producing biofuels though effective supply chain management.

The RFA separately considered the potential indirect impacts of biofuel production such as indirect land-use change in the Gallagher review. Our ongoing research programme continues ot consider indirect effects. The RFA's Carbon and Sustainability team is led by Aaron Berry.

Last Modified: 05 Nov 2009

Last Modified: 23 Mar 2010