7180. Policy Coherence Biofuels

The Inclusive Green Growth Department (IGG) of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) requested the Dutch Sustainability Unit (DSU), part of the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment, to address a number of questions relevant to the debate about the way to integrate impacts in developing countries in decisions on biofuels in transport. The following set of questions has been stipulated by the MFA: What criteria should be considered in determining the best policy options to achievepolicy coherence, i.e. to achieve the objectives of both the Renewable Energy Directive, the Fuel Quality Directive and the Dutch government’s objectives for development cooperation and trade? To which extent have these criteria been sufficiently assessed in a study conducted by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency? If not, what information is lacking? Based on expert judgement, how will developing countries be affected by a choice: a) between maximum blending scenarios of 2%, 5% or 7% for conventional biofuels in transport and/or b) to eliminate ‘double counting’ of advanced biofuels.  

Advisory reports and other documents

27 Nov 2015: Advisory review
Advice on Policy Coherence Biofuels
12 Sep 2016: Other

Significant details

A working group of experts was formed to comprise the advisory report. This report argues that criteria considered in determining the best policy options to achieve policy coherence should be based on a) fundamental physical-chemical, biological and ecological processes related to the production of biomass for biofuels  and b) goals set at national (the coherence goals) and international level (e.g. the SDGs). On this basis, this review proposes criteria from the following categories to be assessed:  ecological aspects (at least food security, greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, fertilizer use, biodiversity), socio-economic implications (at least food price, land grabbing, labour requirement, inclusiveness, women participation) and transparency and stakeholder involvement, also in monitoring and certification.

The aim of the study conducted by  the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO) was to assess the influence of Dutch policy choices for biofuels in transport on achieving the targets of the RED and FQD Directives. For this reason the criteria relevant to assess sustainability of biofuels and policy coherence are not addressed.

Biofuel measures in the Netherlands have global implications because of indirect land use change and GHG emissions, but also on global price implications of food and fuel, and substitution practices. Implementation practices under real-life conditions directly affect people’s livelihoods.In this report a short assessment has been made what might be the influence on developing countries when choosing between a 5% or 7% blending scenario for biofuels in transport and/or eliminating ‘double counting’ of advanced biofuels.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Premchand (Prem) Soebhaschander Bindraban, MBA
Jan Paul van Soest

Technical secretary: Corrie Smit

Further details

Last modified: 06 Nov 2018