(UPM and WWF Finland, Helsinki, 4 December 2014 at 11:30) - UPM and WWF Finland have engaged in a dialogue on the status of wood-based liquid biofuels in Finland and present a list of joint measures to be carried out to promote sustainability.
Renewable sources of energy and sustainable production methods are key in reducing our ecological footprint. Sustainable wood-based liquid biofuels can be an essential part of fossil fuel replacement solutions and play an important role in a sustainability for the transport sector, that presently have no other renewable alternatives, namely aviation, heavy duty road transport and shipping, since they can considerably reduce transport emissions.
Wood-based liquid biofuels have several benefits
When wood-based liquid biofuels are produced using raw materials from sustainably managed (such as FSC certified) forests and provided that the carbon stock impacts and indirect impacts are accounted for and minimised, they are among the most promising biofuel alternatives in terms of low environmental and social risks.
"We have worked together with UPM for a long time, and wood-based biofuels have been the most recent topic of our joint discussions. We agree on a number of matters. However, there are also issues that we disagree on, such as stump removal, and our dialogue on these issues continues," says Liisa Rohweder, CEO of WWF Finland.
UPM and WWF Finland support new generation biofuels, which considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions when compared to fossil fuels while meeting credible sustainability criteria.
Sustainability of wood-based biofuels must be ensured
UPM and WWF Finland work together to minimise the impact of wood-based liquid biofuel production on forest biodiversity and carbon stocks, as well as limiting the impact on food production.
Biodiversity must be preserved by protecting sufficient amount of forests and by adhering to the highest possible sustainability standard in the management of commercial forests. The impact of biofuels on the climate must be minimised by creating lower greenhouse gas emissions from biofuel production, by reducing the climate impact caused by the use of forests and by using residue streams as raw material wherever possible.
The wider impact of using residues in biofuels production should be investigated further. Residue streams of the forest industry, such as tall oil, represent a lower risk wood-based raw material for biofuels.
At EU level, both WWF Finland and UPM promote legally binding, robust and ambitious sustainability criteria for biofuels. Transparency in the production of sustainable biofuels and continuous improvement of practices and public policies are the best methods in ensuring the sustainable production and use of wood-based biomass.
Improving certification is part of the co-operation
UPM and WWF Finland are committed to jointly developing the current practices. Both contribute to the development of the RSB certification for wood-based biofuels by conducting a feasibility study on the certification of wood-based biofuels in UPM operations, which is based on the RSB requirements.
The parties will jointly conduct a scientific forest carbon impact study related to wood-based biofuels.
UPM and WWF Finland also commit to further developing the FSC standard and promoting its credibility and use in Finland.
"UPM aims to communicate the opportunities of wood-based biofuels and matters related to sustainability to new stakeholders in the transport fuel sector. Certification of biofuels, sustainable forest industry and forest certification programmes are the primary ways to promote the responsible production of biofuels and supply chain management," says Sari Mannonen, Director, Sales and Marketing, UPM Biofuels.
To read the dialogue between WWF Finland and UPM in its entirety, please see www.upmbiofuels.com.