Newsletter EUBIA
February 2018

Biomass Industry Official Newsletter : BE Sustainable Magazine

European Parliament Votes


On Tuesday 6th of February, during the EP Plenary session, the MEPs voted on the following topics: pesticides, CO2 emissions and clean energy innovation.

Regarding the vote on Pesticides, a special committee has been designated to examine EU’s authorisation procedure for pesticides, more specifically on the role of the European Commission on renewing glyphosate licence, process of approval, possible failures on the scientific evaluation and approval of substances, and conflicts of interest. The special committee has been created due to the controversy created after the renewal of glyphosate licence for the upcoming five years, on November 2017. The discussion on glyphosate has started following the IARC evaluation, which classifies glyphosate as potentially cancerous for the human body.  The committee, particularly wanted from two Members of the Parliament, Eric Andrieu and Marc Tarabella (Social & Democrats), has been approved in unanimity and will be voted on Thursday 8th of February.

Please find here the Press Release on Pesticides.

CO2 Emissions

The Parliament has approved a new law that provides:

-increase on the reduction of CO2 emissions allowances on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) on the market (the linear reduction factor) by 2.2 percent from 2021, up from the 1.74 percent planned at present;

-a doubling of the ETS Market Stability Reserve’s capacity to mop up excess emission allowances on the market. When triggered, it would absorb up to 24% of excess allowances in each auctioning year, for the first four years, therefore increasing their price and promoting emissions’ reduction.

-two funds to promote innovation and speed the transition towards a low-carbon economy: a modernisation fund to support the upgrade of energy systems in lower-income EU member states; and an innovation fund to support renewable energy, CCS (carbon capture and storage), and low-carbon innovation projects.

Moreover, this law focuses on the prevention of carbon leakage (relocation of the companies outside Europe).  The sectors at the highest risk will receive their ETS allowances for free, while less exposed sectors will receive 30% for free. Overall, the aim is to meet Paris Agreements on Climate.

Please find here the Press Release on CO2 emissions.

Clean Energy Innovation

On Clean Energy Innovation it has been stated that citizens have to be a central part to promote the energy transition and engaging them in the change will need to be done through education. Further investment on research and development has to be devoted for financing low-emission energy projects and make them available for innovators. As said by Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL), rapporteur ‘we need to simplify EU programmes and funds, so that researchers and investors can use them more efficiently. We need more national expenditure to be better coordinated in infrastructure, research, and structural funds; and we need to apply a technology-neutral approach.” 

Please find here the Press Release on Clean Energy Innovation.

Agriculture Corner

Call for Proposals: Promotion of Agricultural Products

The Call for Proposals follows the Commission's decision to increase the funding for agricultural products by an amount of €27 million.The work programme for agriculture (total funding €169 million)  aims at promoting EU food products in EU and non-EU countries with high potential to increase exports, such as Canada, Japan China, Mexico or Colombia.
The topics that the EU is going to tackle are EU quality schemes and labels (geographical indications, organic products) and specially sustainable breeding (focus on sheep and goat). Also the Commission provides funding to promote consumption of fruits and vegetables due to its concerns on healthy eating.

On Tuesday 31st of January an Info Day was held on the Call for Proposals for Promotion of Agricultural Products. 

Please find here the Press Release on the Calls for Proposals.
Please find here the Calls for Proposals.

European Innovation Partnership EIP-AGRI 
The European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural productivity and Sustainability EIP-AGRI was founded by the European Commission and launched in 2012.

Drilona Shtjefni, Deputy Secretary General of EUBIA had a meeting last week with EIP-Agri  with the aim to establish a close cooperation and find opportunities in the sector. EIP-Agri creates Focus groups on certain topics, where experts from all across Europe can cooperate. Moreover, on their website there is a section of Multi-actors project on which AgroCycle is included in the sector of waste. It is an useful resource to find projects that are on the Agriculture field. Please find it here.

A Meeting Point section on the website is dedicated to find other projects, project ideas, and funding opportunities between others. Please find the 'Meeting Point' here.
Italy and France moving towards a phase out of glyphosate
          Glyphosate, the most used herbicide in the European Union was approved for renewal for five years with a qualified majority on November 2017. There are countries such as France or Italy that strongly oppose its use and following this decision at the EU level, Emmanuel Macron stated that glyphosate would be banned in France, showing his disagreement with the extension. The controversy resides on the different results on studies about glyphosate questioning if this pesticide can cause cancer.

However, Macron also said on 25th January that farmers will be exempted from the ban for a period of three years since there is no credible alternative still to this pesticide. While acknowledging the need for research, Macron argued ‘I will never impose an exit if there is no credible alternative’. Yet, farmers state that the period of time given is not long enough to find an environmental and economically efficient solution.

On the meantime, Italy has decided to adopt a law which prohibits the use of glyphosate in the pre-harvest phase in agriculture, as well as the use of some chemicals (particularly Poe-tallowamine) in combination with the herbicide. The law forbids its use in public areas such as parks, gardens and sports fields.  The next step will consist in restricting the import of products from countries that allow the usage of glyphosate in the pre-harvest phase.

Please find here more about this news.

Energy Corner

Upcoming changes on energy and climate for 2018


There are several policies on the field of energy and climate that will need to be tackled and updated during the present year: Brexit and energy, 2030 climate rules, clean energy package, meeting Paris Agreement gas pipelines and coal investments.

Brexit will officially take place in 2019 but UK companies will start to be separated from the EU’s Emissions Trading System this year. The ETS is a system established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. During the present and the following year, UK companies have permits although there is a fear in Brussels about the possibility of the leave of the UK and an unexpected destabilisation of the ETS due to those permits.

Regarding 2030 Climate rules, policies will be implemented this year following the decisions made on climate files about cutting emissions and deforestation, which include binding national emissions targets for sectors as transports and agriculture and rules for land use and forestry.

On November 2016, the Clean Energy Package was launched with the aim to enable clean energy transition, it will be one of the main files to follow this year. The main focus is to promote the inclusion of renewables, energy saving and a focus on green targets as well as establishing the role of crop-based biofuels in transport, and how to collaborate in case of power shortages. The Clean Energy Package includes the Energy Efficiency and Renewables directives as well as the Electricity market which are currently under discussion. In this same direction, the EU will have to focus on its commitments made with the Paris Agreement, to limit global warming under 2°C pre-industrial levels with the long-term goal of 1.5°C

Concerning energy sources, gas pipelines and coal aids will be in the spotlight. On one hand, the EU will focus on building gas pipelines that will ensure energy security for Europe as Brussels suggested to extend its infrastructure as it is written down on the 2018 Commission Work Programme its willingness to negotiate with Russia about the Nord Stream 2 project. The objective of this project is to transport gas from Russia to the European Union owned by Gazprom. Some issues could during the project due to several reasons, the new government in Germany, a new Danish law that may interfere in the route or U.S. sanctions that may pose difficulties on financing.

On the other hand, coal will experience a decrease in funds in form of state aid to cover production losses. It is expected a decrease in its activity due to the emissions-reduction policies following the aim to reduce its use in favour of renewable resources, although the Commission has still approved aid for several countries. Those are Spain, Romania, the Czech Republic and Poland and still there are mines in Poland that without being subsidized will still continue functioning.

Please find here more about this news.

Which is the cost of reducing CO2 emissions ?                      

EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, in charge of Climate Action defended the EU proposals to limit carbon emissions after they were condemned for not being ambitious enough.

The Commissioner argued that several targets need to be taken into account while establishing this objective. The reduction of CO2 emissions has a direct effect on the car industry. Electrical car need only 300 parts compared with the 1,300 needed for traditional considerations, it is a major change on the supply chain. Therefore the change on the car manufacturing industry would have a direct impact on unemployment. This effect of CO2 emissions on unemployment is a delicate question for the EU Institutions, as it is shown in the Commission’s programme for 2018, the first of the new initiatives is ‘New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment’ showing a clear concern on unemployment.

Moreover, there is an awareness about the lack of battery charging infrastructure and, as argued by the Commission it is national responsibility that has generated a non homogenous network within Europe.

Meanwhile, this is a controversial issue for the car industry. From their side there are several critics: the few options left with the legislatives changes to consumer choice and the lack of time that has been given to the industry to adapt to the changes. Furthermore, as said by Carlos Tavares, Chairman of managing board of French carmaker group PSA Peugeot Citroen it is also a question of feasibility and acceptance in the market “either we don’t sell those vehicles, we don’t meet the CO2 objectives, and we have huge penalties which puts our companies in stress. Or we need to push those vehicles into the market with a significant level of incentives, which means margins become thin or negative, and this means our companies need to restructure”

Please find here what was said by the EU Commissioner in charge of Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete about this issue.

Please find here what was said by Carlos Tavares, Chairman of managing board of French carmaker group PSA Peugeot Citroen.

News on Plastics

Reaction from the Industry to the Strategy on Plastics

On January, the European Commission launched the first Strategy on Plastics which aim is to protect the environment from plastic pollution, in particular to reduce single-use plastic, restrict the use of microplastics, and ensure that all plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable in a cost-effective manner by 2030.

Leaders from the plastic manufacturing sector in Europe met the following week in Brussels to discuss the upcoming changes in order to phase-out plastic.

Several companies have rapidly reacted to the Strategy on Plastics such as McDonald’s, Danone, Iceland or Costa Coffee. They have announced that they will make changes on their packaging, either by reducing plastic packaging or only using packaging which origin is sustainable resources. Furthermore, it is remarkable to mention that citizens awareness has been essential for the companies to start these initiatives, as said by Lévi Alvarès, coordinator of the Rethink Plastic Alliance ‘Plastic pollution is visible for people, and it touches their heart because it’s harming marine creatures and polluting the places where they go on holiday.’

This Strategy on Plastics aims to help in the transition towards a Circular Economy by promoting plastic recycling but also the search for more sustainable alternatives.


Please find here the Press release about the Strategy on Plastics, as well as some Q&A on the topic addressed to the European Commission.

Please find here more about this news.

EUBCE European Biomass Conference and Exhibition

The EUBCE is taking place in Copenhagen on 14th - 18 May  2018.

EUBIA's member will have the opportunity to participate to networking cocktail, have a dedicated exposition space, as well as discounted rate for registration.

The Conference programme is available here.
Find here the website more information about the event.
The European Biopolymer Summit


The European Biopolymer Summit took place the 14th and 15 of February in Dusseldorf, Germany. EUBIA's Deputy Secretary General, Drilona Shtjefni, was the chairman of the event.


Find here the website more information about the event.
Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference

The Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference took place during the 20th-21st of February 2018. EUBIA attended the plenary session called 'What's Next After the EU Strategy for Plastics?' and the Session 'Circular Solutions for the Low-Carbon Transition'.

The Plenary session focused on a discussion following the first EU Strategy for Plastics of 2018 which aims to reuse and recycle plastics and avoid further damage in the environment. Several experts from the sector shared their views on the topic of promoting the circular economy. Aloy Guitton, Directeur RSE Auchan Retail from Auchan (tbc) remarked the importance of being reponsible consumers 'How can we go faster? How can we upscale this circular economy model? It is important to understand how complicated it is and how can we create value, consume less and better consume'.

The session on solutions for a low-carbon transition was focused on looking how to implement circular solutions all along the industrial value chain, promote the use of secondary raw materials and recycling. Several speakers highlighted the importance between others to put a stress on material management and its contribution to reduce emissions, acknowledge the problem of the transition towards a low carbon economy and use recycle materials in products, as well as using alternative raw materials.

Find here the European Circular Stakeholder Platform

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