The Energy Center at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)—one of the two federal institutes of technology in Switzerland—announced the formation of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels to create draft global standards for sustainable biofuels production and processing.
Founding Steering Board members include, among others, the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), Toyota, BP, the Mali Folkecenter, the National Wildlife Federation, Shell, the Dutch and Swiss governments, the UN Foundation, Petrobras, the World Economic Forum, the University of California at Berkeley, Bunge, TERI India, and Amigos da Terra - Amazônia Brasileira (Friends of the Earth Brazil).
Many people are worried about biofuels contributing to deforestation and air pollution in the name of protecting the planet. Companies and farmers want global rules that they can follow. The Roundtable will bring together all of these actors to start writing these rules together, to ensure that biofuels deliver on their promise of sustainability.—Claude Martin, former Director-General of WWF International and Chair of the Roundtable's Steering Board
The Steering Board will invite affected parties to join working groups or otherwise participate in developing and commenting on principles and criteria related to biofuels’ environmental and social impacts, as well as overall greenhouse gas benefits.
Areas of interest will include protecting biodiversity, water resources, and labor and land rights, as well as encouraging biofuels’ contribution to economic development in rural areas. The Roundtable will gather opinions and feedback through online technology, conference calls, and regional meetings, to ensure that developing countries and disadvantaged groups have a meaningful opportunity to contribute to the elaboration of the standards.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels aims to develop draft standards through a global feedback process by early 2008. Already more than 80 organizations from the US to Argentina to Kenya to Malaysia have signed up to participate.