RSB principle on Technologies

11. Biofuels shall be produced in the most cost-effective way. The use of technology must improve production efficiency and social and environmental performance in all stages of the biofuel value chain.


  • 11.a Biofuel projects shall implement a business plan that reflects a commitment to economic viability.

Key guidance: Biofuel projects should seek to be economically viable without distortive public support (for instance, tariffs and production subsidies).

  • 11.b Biofuel projects shall demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement in energy balance, productivity per hectare, and input use.
  • 11.c Information on the use of technologies along the biofuel value chain must be fully available, unless limited by national law or international agreements on intellectual property.

Guidance: The focus shall be on technologies that might pose a hazard to people or the environment. The technology provider must not withold any relevant information that might influence the choice of another stakeholder to use a technology. Biofuel producers must be able to provide information about any technology used along the value chain as far as it does not violate intellectual property. The use of biotechnologies must be in full compliance with the Cartagena Protocol and any relevant national legislation.

  • 11.d The choice of technologies used along the biofuel value chain shall minimize the risk of damages to environment and people, and continuously improve environmental and/or social performance.

Guidance: All technologies must be applied following nationally or internationally available risk assessments and recommended measures.

  • 11.e The use of genetically modified: plants, micro-organisms, and algae for biofuel production must improve productivity and maintain or improve social and environmental performance, as compared to common practices and materials under local conditions. Adequate monitoring and preventative measures must be taken to prevent gene migration.

Guidance: An improved productivity is understood as a higher amount of biomass obtained per hectare/acre of cultivated crop.An increased environmental performance is a lower amount of surface, water, chemicals or any other input used, for a similar or higher amount of biomass under local conditions. An improved social performance is a reduction of the risk of crop failure/economic losses and/or an increased income for producers relative to available conventional technologies under local conditions, and a more equitable distribution of profit in the value chain.Common practices are the conditions under which non GM Organisms of the same species are produced locally.

  • 11.f Micro-organisms used in biofuel processing must be used in contained systems only.

Guidance: The release of genetically modified material outside the biomass processing unit must receive the approval of national health and safety regulating authorities. In absence of enforced legislation on dissemination of genetically modified material outside processing units, this material can not be disseminated outside the contained systems of the biomass processing unit. This includes the treatment of water effluents and wastes.

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