The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 2, 2019, the government of Quebec, Canada, published in its Official Gazette a notice of a draft regulation setting standards for the integration of renewable fuels into gasoline and diesel fuel.  Under the draft regulation, the standards will apply on July 1, 2021, and will then increase. As of July 1, 2025, the integration of a minimum volume of ethanol of 15 percent into gasoline and a minimum volume of biobased diesel fuel of 4 percent into diesel fuel will be required. Given the evaluation by the Canadian government of this matter, the notice states that the proposed regulation would have no particular impact on small and medium-sized businesses because the petroleum products distribution sector is made up of large businesses.  Also on July 1, 2025, enterprises subject to the regulation will invest a total of 110 million Canadian dollars in infrastructure to comply with the set standards for the integration of renewable fuels into gasoline and diesel fuel.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On October 2, 2019, the Green Party of Canada commented, via a press release, on its Green Climate Action Plan called “Mission:  Possible.” Aiming to exceed the U.S. Green New Deal, under this plan, the Green Party outlines a 20-step action plan to achieve the goal of zero emissions by 2050.  Part of the strategy outlined emphasizes the idea that heavy-duty industrial machinery will need to rely on biofuels.  Although the plan is to ban internal combustion engines and ensure that cars, buses, and trains are powered by electricity by 2030, biofuels will still be needed for fishing, mining, and forestry equipment.  According to the plan, these biofuel needs will be addressed through the creation of biofuels using waste plant matter from forests and agriculture -- and only plant-based biofuels.  Claiming that food that would otherwise be used to feed Canadians, the Green Party highly opposes food-based biofuels.  Its plan, therefore, promotes development of local, small-scale biodiesel production that would rely primarily on used vegetable fat from restaurants across Canada, along with wood and agricultural waste.  Fuel switching to biodiesel would be required for agricultural, fishing, and forestry equipment.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 3, 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and National Health Commission (NHC) jointly issued a final Technical Framework Guideline for Environmental Risk Assessment of Chemical Substances (Trial). This Trial Guideline provides a basic framework, including evaluation steps, technical requirements, and report preparation, for the environmental risk assessment of a single chemical substance under standard production and uses. The Trial Guideline does not apply to mixtures or exposures due to accidents or leakages. The “four-step” evaluation includes hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. It also outlines uncertainty analysis, data quality assessment, spatial scale of exposure assessment, risk assessment of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) chemical substances, and consideration for risk assessment of metals and their compounds. For further details, see The ACTA Group’s commentary here.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently published a report titled The State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which is the first ever of its kind and focuses on farmed aquatic species and their wild relatives within national jurisdictions. The report builds the information and knowledge base required for action at the national, regional, and international levels sustainably to conserve, use, and develop aquatic genetic resources for food and agriculture. With contributions from more than 90 countries, the report portrays the broad range of aquatic organisms farmed and fished around the globe, the various technologies used, the status of existing programs, the roles of key stakeholders, and the main national and international policies and networking mechanisms at play. In its report, FAO highlights challenges for the responsible management of aquatic genetic resources, which include a need for the acceleration of genetic improvement of key aquaculture species and the development of strong policies and governance systems.

Tags: UN, FAO

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On August 16, 2019, the Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea – Institute of Applied Economic Research) announced its partnership with the Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento (Mapa - Brazilian Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply Ministry) to develop indicators to evaluate the implementation of the Programa Nacional de Insumos para Agricultura Orgânica (Bioinsumos – National Input for Organic Agriculture Program). The objective is to organize the sector’s milestones to facilitate rural producers’ access to organic inputs and expand the use of biobased substances or organisms in farming. Three researchers were selected to act directly within Mapa to assist in the implementation of an analytical method to measure indicators. These measurable indicators are being developed by a Mapa group, and a detailed report on the research results will be released in November 2019.

Tags: Brazil

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On July 23, 2019, the Agencia Nacional de Vigilancia Sanitaria (ANVISA -- National Sanitation Surveillance Agency) in Brazil approved measures that clarify the toxicological classification of agrochemicals. Under the approved rules, the evaluation criteria of agrochemicals’ toxicity categories are established and label requirements are updated to include clearer warnings and pictograms. The changes established by ANVISA were based on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), aligning Brazil’s regulations with European Union (EU) and Asian countries, among others. With the aim of strengthening the commercialization of national products abroad, the approved rules allow one year for stakeholders to begin implementation. Out of the 2,300 agrochemicals registered in Brazil, ANVISA has already received information for the reclassification of 1,981 products.

Tags: Brazil, GHS

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 27, 2019, the Government of Canada’s Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) opened the application process for a grant to develop next generation biobased foam insulation products. Called the Plastics Challenge, this funding opportunity seeks solutions that result in foam insulation products (either spray foam or rigid foam board) that:

  • Are predominantly derived from Canadian forest residue;
     
  • Have similar insulation values (within 20 percent) as currently available petroleum-based versions;
     
  • Would have similar cost (within 20 percent) as currently available versions;
     
  • Are less flammable;
     
  • Are fully recyclable at end of life; and
     
  • Would generate less GHG emissions during manufacturing.
Applications must be submitted prior to 2:00 p.m. (EDT), August 27, 2019.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

In June 2019, the European Commission (EC) Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Sustainable Finance, published its Report on EU Green Bond Standard. The report proposes the creation of a European Union (EU) Green Bond Standard (EU-GBS) to address barriers to market development of green financial products. Also proposing the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment -- “Taxonomy Regulation” -- TEG makes ten recommendations in its GBS Report to:

  1. Create a voluntary EU-GBS;
     
  2. EU-GBS should have four core components -- (1) alignment of Green Projects with the EU Taxonomy, (2) Green Bond Framework, (3) reporting, and (4) verification by accredited verifiers;
     
  3. Encourage set-up of a voluntary interim registration process for verifiers of EU Green Bonds for an estimated transition period of up to three years;
     
  4. Encourage investors to use EU-GBS requirements in their green fixed-income investment strategies and communicate their preference actively to green bond issuers and underwriters;
     
  5. Welcome political compromise on the sustainability-related disclosure regulation;
     
  6. Consider promoting greening the financial system;
     
  7. Consider development of financial incentives supporting the EU Green Bond market;
     
  8. Encourage bond issuers to issue their green bonds in accordance with EU-GBS requirements;
     
  9. Promote adoption of EU-GBS through the EU Ecolabel for financial products; and
     
  10. Monitor impact on the alignment of financial flows with the EU Taxonomy’s Environmental Objectives, considering further supporting action.
Tags: EU, Green

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has negotiated with patent holders to make genetically modified (GM) seeds available at the right time, price, and place to international and African-based technology owners. A business model provided by AATF and its partners, this initiative, called Seeds2B Project (Seeds2B), enables these business owners with the appropriate technologies to license their products to seed companies in Africa. Seeds2B aims to engender agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa, replacing low quality, costly, and unavailable seeds with GM modern, quality varieties through testing, registration, and the establishment of distribution systems.

Tags: AARF, Africa, GM

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On May 31, 2019, the Brazilian government’s Ministry of Energy’s Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE -- Energy Research Company) held an auction for the supply of sustainable energy and biofuel sources for the State of Roraima’s capital, Boa Vista, and its neighboring areas. A federal energy company, EPE provides the Ministry of Energy with R&D services designed for subsidies of the energy sector, covering electricity, petroleum, natural gas and its derivatives, and biofuels. Out of 156 competitions, the nine auction winners presented projects on natural gas, biodiesel, biomass, hybrid solutions, biofuels, solar, and photovoltaic batteries. Winners totaled a capacity of 294 megawatts (MW) to be installed, including seven renewable sources, which will have 15-year contracts and a diesel power plant for seven years starting in June 2021.


 
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