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Regulating a global value chain with the European Union's sustainability criteria – experiences from the Swedish liquid transport biofuel sector

Harnesk, David LU ; Brogaard, Sara LU and Peck, Philip LU (2017) In Journal of Cleaner Production 153 . p.580-591
Abstract (Swedish)
Despite promises that they can contribute toward more environmentally beneficial transportation there are many sustainability concerns about liquid transport biofuels. In response to pressure from civil society, the European Union (EU) has introduced sustainability criteria for biofuels. A hybrid regulatory system involving state and non-state actors stipulates that retailers and producers must comply to be eligible for fiscal support such as tax exemptions. Flexibility in the system allows choice between different means of compliance, including a range of voluntary schemes. We present an analysis of views within the Swedish liquid transport biofuel sector in 2012 – a year after the introduction of EU sustainability criteria. Using... (More)
Despite promises that they can contribute toward more environmentally beneficial transportation there are many sustainability concerns about liquid transport biofuels. In response to pressure from civil society, the European Union (EU) has introduced sustainability criteria for biofuels. A hybrid regulatory system involving state and non-state actors stipulates that retailers and producers must comply to be eligible for fiscal support such as tax exemptions. Flexibility in the system allows choice between different means of compliance, including a range of voluntary schemes. We present an analysis of views within the Swedish liquid transport biofuel sector in 2012 – a year after the introduction of EU sustainability criteria. Using document analysis, official statistics, and a survey, we use four key structures of global value chains — input–output structure, territorial configuration, institutional framework, and firm-level chain governance structure — to structure an analysis of biofuel value chain coordination. This yields three main findings regarding how the Swedish liquid transport biofuel system operates within, and views, the new regulatory framework. Firstly that it uses a broad portfolio of feedstock mainly from within Europe, seemingly avoiding countries where any supply conditions may be in doubt; second, larger retailers and producers achieve compliance without the need to provide additional social sustainability information; third, that actors exhibit predominantly Eurocentric perspectives on sustainability, express confidence that their supply chains have strong ‘sustainability performance’ and desire long-term policy stability. We conclude that despite a deep critique of the sustainability of biofuels amongst civil society and academia, EU regulation allows for production systems that reflect a European- and climate change mitigation-centred view on biofuel ‘sustainability’. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Cleaner Production
volume
153
pages
12 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84951853875
  • wos:000401042100053
ISSN
0959-6526
DOI
10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.09.039
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
93c755be-88f9-4be1-ae3b-e0c0fcd68da5
date added to LUP
2017-02-28 16:54:47
date last changed
2018-01-16 13:24:25
@article{93c755be-88f9-4be1-ae3b-e0c0fcd68da5,
  abstract     = {Despite promises that they can contribute toward more environmentally beneficial transportation there are many sustainability concerns about liquid transport biofuels. In response to pressure from civil society, the European Union (EU) has introduced sustainability criteria for biofuels. A hybrid regulatory system involving state and non-state actors stipulates that retailers and producers must comply to be eligible for fiscal support such as tax exemptions. Flexibility in the system allows choice between different means of compliance, including a range of voluntary schemes. We present an analysis of views within the Swedish liquid transport biofuel sector in 2012 – a year after the introduction of EU sustainability criteria. Using document analysis, official statistics, and a survey, we use four key structures of global value chains — input–output structure, territorial configuration, institutional framework, and firm-level chain governance structure — to structure an analysis of biofuel value chain coordination. This yields three main findings regarding how the Swedish liquid transport biofuel system operates within, and views, the new regulatory framework. Firstly that it uses a broad portfolio of feedstock mainly from within Europe, seemingly avoiding countries where any supply conditions may be in doubt; second, larger retailers and producers achieve compliance without the need to provide additional social sustainability information; third, that actors exhibit predominantly Eurocentric perspectives on sustainability, express confidence that their supply chains have strong ‘sustainability performance’ and desire long-term policy stability. We conclude that despite a deep critique of the sustainability of biofuels amongst civil society and academia, EU regulation allows for production systems that reflect a European- and climate change mitigation-centred view on biofuel ‘sustainability’.},
  author       = {Harnesk, David and Brogaard, Sara and Peck, Philip},
  issn         = {0959-6526},
  language     = {swe},
  month        = {06},
  pages        = {580--591},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Cleaner Production},
  title        = {Regulating a global value chain with the European Union's sustainability criteria – experiences from the Swedish liquid transport biofuel sector},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.09.039},
  volume       = {153 },
  year         = {2017},
}