UN-backed expert group takes steps to establish new biofuel standard

Sugar cane used in the production of the biofuel, ethanol

13 August 2008 – A United Nations-backed group of international experts has endorsed a first draft of a new global sustainability standard for biofuels to assess their economic, social and environmental effects.

The Steering Board of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), which includes an expert from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), today signed off on the draft criteria, called “Version Zero,” which is based on a comprehensive “land to tank” analysis spanning the entire chain of biofuel production.

It is hoped that the new standard will be used by investors, governments, corporations and civil society to analyze the sustainability of different types of biofuels.

Version Zero contains input – submitted during teleconferences, over an innovative Wiki online format and at various meetings held worldwide – from over 300 experts from dozens of countries.

It addressed such concerns as biofuels’ potential contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change, the protection of land and labour rights, soil pollution, water availability and food security.

It is hoped that all feedback on the draft standard will be submitted by February 2009.

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