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 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.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

In April 2019, Navius Research Inc. (Navius Research) published a report titled “Biofuels in Canada 2019: Tracking biofuel consumption, feedstocks and avoided greenhouse gas emissions.” Using public data, the report analyzes the volume of transportation biofuels consumed in each Canadian province and estimates the impact of this consumption on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and transportation energy costs. An increase in both ethanol and renewable fuel consumption is noted in the report, which has led to reduced fuel expenditures in Canada by 0.42 percent from 2010 through 2017. This decreased expenditure is relative to a counterfactual scenario without biofuel consumption. Relative to this counterfactual scenario, differences in fuel energy density and fuel costs, Canada has ended up paying more taxes due to biofuel blending and consumption.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 17, 2019, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France, and Frank Edelson, Chair of the Network for Greening the Financial Services (NGFS), published an open letter on the financial implications of global warming.  Co-signed by the NGFS coalition, consisting of 34 central banks, the letter warns of global warming’s potential damage to infrastructure and private property, negative human health effects, decrease in productivity, and wealth destruction.  The letter states that no countries are immune to the effects of climate change and that “if some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist.”  Although the Paris agreement has and continues to promote a low-carbon economy, further measures would be central to achieving zero net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Key to reaching this goal would be a massive reallocation of capital, the financial experts highlight.
 
Given the challenges associated with achieving zero-carbon emissions, in the letter, Carney, Villeroy de Galhau, and NGFS members propose four recommendations to policymakers and financial firms:

  • The integration of climate-related financial risks into daily work, financial stability monitoring, and board risk management.  Policymakers and financial firms should conduct scenario analyses and take a long-term strategic approach, which considers risks associated with global warming.  These risks should be embedded it into their business-as-usual governance and risk-management frameworks.
  • Leadership by example, particularly by central banks, to integrate sustainability into their own portfolio management.
  • Internal and external collaboration among public authorities to bridge data gaps important to assessments of climate-related risks.
  • In-house capacity building and knowledge sharing with various stakeholders on the financial risks related to climate change.

According to the letter, the successful implementation of these four recommendations would lead to two broader calls for action on disclosure and classification of these risks.  Market and regulators’ support in assessing risks and opportunities from climate change accompanied by consistent international disclosure are critical.  In addition, NGFS members also encourage the development of a classification system to identify economic activities that would contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy.  In sum, robust leadership and collaboration play a crucial role in identifying global solutions for the financial sector.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 13, 2019, the European Commission (EC) published a fact sheet on the sustainability for biofuels specified.  EC adopted a delegated act that sets out the criteria for determining high low indirect land-use change (ILUC) risk feedstock for biofuels and the criteria for certifying ILUC-risk biofuels, bioliquids, and biomass fuels.  ILUC-risk fuels consist of fuels produced from food and feed crops that significantly expand globally into land with high carbon stock (high ILUC-risk fuels).  The consequences of creating high ILUC-risk fuels relate to the release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which negates the emissions savings from the use of biofuels rather than fossil fuels.  ILUC is addressed in the delegated act through two measures:   one measure sets national limits for the total contribution towards the renewable energy targets for biofuels, bioliquids, and biomass fuels from food or feed crops; and the other measure sets national limits as Member States’ 2019 level for the period 2021-2023.

Tags: EC, Biofuels, ILUC, GHG

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 28, 2019, Growth Energy, an ethanol supporters group, submitted joint comments with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to the Government of Ontario, Canada, in support of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan (Plan). The Plan outlines the government’s commitment to addressing climate change through the protection of land, air, water, and reduction of waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Posted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Plan would increase ethanol use in gasoline by 15 percent in 2025, increase the use of renewable gas and fuels, establish emission performance standards for large emitters, and provide financial assistance for emissions reduction initiatives.  Pleased with the Ontario Government’s proposal to increase the ethanol content of gasoline, Growth Energy and USGC highlight the “tremendous benefits to the public” it will provide through lower GHG emissions and levels of other pollutants, better fuel properties, and economic benefits to Canada’s agricultural economy. The letter also reassures Ontario that the increase in demand from a move to 15 percent ethanol (E15) will be met. The two organizations provide additional information on the approval and use of E15 in the U.S., with a note that since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of this rule in 2011, retail and wholesale of E15 continues to grow. The letter concludes by emphasizing once more the substantial advances to Ontario’s goals should the proposed Plan be implemented. According to the letter, the goals and promises of the Plan are not only achievable, but also would still support consumer choice and ensure compliance flexibility and transparency.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 16, 2019, the Dutch Department of Defense announced that the Dutch Air Force is taking the next steps in reducing its carbon footprint given better affordability of biobased fuels. Provided with biokerosene, the Air Force intends to increase gradually the mixing percentage of biofuels and eventually have all of its equipment fly on biofuel mixtures. The Dutch goal is to achieve 20 percent less dependency on fossil fuels by 2030, and 70 percent by 2050.


 
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