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Improving biofuels policy in Europe

With some clear successes, Wetlands International has been strongly involved in the EU Renewable Energy Directive. We are currently working closely with other NGOs to guide the implementation policies and limit the adverse land use impacts of biofuels demand.

Action Description:

The EU biofuel policy

The EU Renewable Energy Directive was adopted in 2009. It promotes the use of biofuels (plant-based fuels) through a mandatory, binding target: by 2020, 10% of all fuels for road transport must come from biofuels, requiring a massive increase in production. We welcome all efforts to promote renewable energy sources as alternatives to fossil fuels. At the same time, we are concerned about the potential for deforestation, drainage of wetlands and increased carbon dioxide emissions from the production of biofuels.

Our objective

Sustainability criteria and standards are needed to prevent negative impacts on food production and the loss of forests, peat soils and other natural areas from conversion to biofuel crops. Land use change criteria should address both direct and indirect land use impacts due to the increased demands for biofuels (see explanation).

What we do

We continue to actively highlight the impacts of European biodiesel demand on greenhouse gas emissions due to increased palm oil production on carbon-dense peat soils. We communicated our views to the European Commission, working closely with Brussels-based NGOs. See our issue paper.

Our policy briefs:

- Briefing: biofuels and indirect land use change
- Submission on indirect land use Change regarding EU biofuel policies
- Joint NGO submission to the European Commission regarding indirect land use change due to biofuels
- Letter opposing EU 10% mandatory biofuel target


What we achieved

Thanks to our inputs, the Renewable Energy Directive has strong sustainability criteria to limit the impacts on wetlands. The directive prohibits biofuels produced on carbon-rich wetlands including peatlands if these areas were drained for this purpose. (See our press release for more information).


More information:


Action Partners:

We work through our Biofuels NGO Coalition in Brussels, through the RSPO and other local partners in different countries.