Back 27.01.2015

More comprehensive assessment can help to ensure the sustainability of biofuels

The European Union’s targets for renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions can act as a market driver for biofuels, and more comprehensive sustainability assessment can help to evaluate different biofuel options.

The European Union intends to get 20 % of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. It also stipulates that 10 % of the energy used in the transportation sector must come from renewable sources. Fuel suppliers are obliged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 6 % from the 2010 level.

The targets can only be met with biofuels that meet the EU sustainability criteria. These criteria focus mainly on emissions and the origin of biofuels, i.e. their impacts on biodiversity and land use. Greenhouse gas emissions from the use of biofuels need to be cut by at least 50 % by 2017.

This can be good news for the environment as well as for the biofuel market. However, the sustainability of biofuels should be assessed even more comprehensively in the future, taking into account issues like water use, resource efficiency and chemical hazards. Taking a wider look at sustainability allows biofuel producers to find market advantages, avoid risks and prepare for future legislation and market changes.

Among other related initiatives, the EU has presented a roadmap to resource efficiency, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) are working for clean, resource efficient production.

“Gaia Biorefiner is a tool for assessing sustainability benefits and risks. It uses a wide set of indicators, including resource efficiency, to point out competitive advantages and risks of different products and value chains. It also enables benchmarking products and value chains against their alternatives,” says Business Director Tiina Pursulafrom Gaia.

Gaia participated in the Lignofuels 2015 event in Madrid in January 2015 and talked about biofuel sustainability targets and assessment.

More information:

  • Tiina Pursula, Business Director, Gaia Consulting, tel. +358 40 514 9507, email:
  • Pasi Rinne, Chairman of the Board, Gaia Consulting, tel. + 358 400 464 127, email: