Governing the sustainability of biofuels through certification: a square peg in a round hole?

2 May 2012, 12.00 PM - 2 May 2012, 12.00 PM

NSQI Seminar Room, Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1FD
The fourth in a series of climate change policy seminars with Ben Richardson, Assistant Professor/Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Warwick and Elizabeth Fortin, British Academy, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bristol.

Also participating: Elizabeth Fortin, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Bristol University

Discussants: Janine Sargoni, Bristol University & Tina Wegg, UEA


The last decade has seen the dramatic growth of large-scale biofuels production in both the global North and South.

While such expansion has been supported by an array of national and regional policies, subsidies and mandates, criticisms levelled at adverse environmental and socio-economic impacts of biofuels have also grown in prominence.

Accordingly, the EU’s climate change and energy strategy not only mandates the increased use of biofuels, it also demands that biofuels making up such quotas must conform to certain sustainability criteria. 

To prove conformity, the biofuel must be certified according to particular standards schemes approved by the EU Commission.

In this paper, we consider two of these schemes: the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) and Bonsucro. 

Both of these standards and certification systems face a range of both practical as well as systemic challenges in governing some of the ills of biofuels production. 

Moreover, questions can be raised as to the employment of a mode of global governance that effectively enables the continued expansion of a particular form of neoliberalised industrial agriculture.

A light lunch will be provided.  For further information contact

This is a free event, but you still need to register your attendance here.

Timings of event:

12 pm - 12.30 pm      Lunch

12.30 pm - 2 pm        Seminar and discussion

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