When regulatory co-production is too narrow: carbon and sustainability reporting under UK biofuel certification regulations

P. Upham, J. Tomei, L. Dendler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Biofuel policy has become highly contentious in Europe, originally driven by the Biofuels Directive (2003/30/EC), which requires that "biofuels or other renewable fuels" constitute 5.75% of the energy content of petrol and diesel sold for transport in member states by 2010, and now superseded by the Renewable Energy Directive. Here we discuss governance aspects of the environmental and social sustainability components of the expression of these directives in UK law via the 2008 UK Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). We observe that commercial and energy security priorities have dominated the design of carbon and sustainability performance management under the RTFO. As an environmental management tool, the RTFO has been exceptionally weak, being a reporting standard rather than a performance or design standard. While it will be strengthened by the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), significant concerns remain in relation to the sourcing of biomass for energy. RTFO certification is of a meta-type, being built upon existing certification and labelling schemes (e.g. the Roundtable on Responsible Soy, Forest 2 Stewardship Council, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and others), all of which are more or less contested by NGOs. Yet despite claiming legitimacy from these non-state initiatives, the serious concerns of environment and development NGOs have been largely ignored in regulatory terms. We draw on documentary evidence, interviews, the science in policy and environmental governance literatures, particularly ideas on regulatory co-production, post-normal science and the legitimacy of non-state certification and labelling processes, to suggest that until critical voices are given a stronger expression in UK and EC biofuel policy, biofuel policy cannot be said to have achieved a social mandate or a durable legitimacy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationhttp://tinyurl.com/3537scf
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherFreie Universität Berlin
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2010
EventBerlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change - Freie Universitat Berlin
Duration: 8 Oct 20109 Oct 2010

Conference

ConferenceBerlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change
CityFreie Universitat Berlin
Period8/10/109/10/10

Keywords

  • Biofuels, sustainability

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'When regulatory co-production is too narrow: carbon and sustainability reporting under UK biofuel certification regulations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this