The EU has set ambitious targets to raise the share of renewable energies, particularly biofuels. With an increasingly controversial public debate and more scientific evidence about the downsites of biofuels, recently the European Unions biofuel targets have been bound to the condition that they have to be produced sustainable. Therefore the European Commission is currently developing sustainability criteria for biofuels.Establishing certification schemes is a possible strategy to ensure that bioenergy crops are produced in a sustainable manner. However, many questions with regard to the design and implementation of sustainability criteria and certification schemes remain unsolved.This article discusses the role that bioenergy plays in the European policy context and the approach the EU is currently following in order to ensure the sustainability of biofuels. It addresses the limits of the chosen approach, concluding that certification schemes can not serve as the only safeguard for sustainable bioenergy, but need to be complemented by other tools and policies.

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Stephanie Schlegel
Timo Kaphengst
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