Sustainability and certification in the biofuels sector: some critical observations

Zuurbier, P.J.P.


The society at large demand sustainable production of products often defined in terms of the planet, profit and people categories. Many industrial sectors started to internalize sustainability in their company processes. Public policies underscored these initiatives by giving incentives to raise awareness, support initiatives and disseminate the value of sustainability. In the last decade initiatives came to life to connect confidence, trust and sustainability in the agri- fuel- and food industry. One of the more interesting attempts are Round Tables for sustainable production of palm oil, forest exploitation, biofuels, sugar or soybean. However, are the results positive. Some of these initiatives seem more successful than others. The question is why? How can one interpret these initiatives in terms of performance, structure and governance mechanisms? Based on a comparison of several of these initiatives, conclusions are drawn and hypotheses defined. More in particular, the observations focus on network development, weaknesses in the governance structures, ambivalence in the public domain and the resulting societal confusion.