International conference on biofuels

Organized by the Copenhagen Biofuels Research Network (COBREN)

Mandag, 19 november, 2012 - 15:00 to 18:00

The international conference on ‘Governing sustainable biofuels: Markets, certification and technology’ will be hosted by the Department of Business and Politics, Copenhagen Business School and the Danish Institute for International Studies on 19-20 November 2012. It is organized by the Copenhagen Biofuels Research Network (COBREN) and funded by the Sustainability Platform, Copenhagen Business School, the Danish Institute for International Studies, BIOSoc (University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University) and the Danish Technical University.

A considerable amount of attention has been paid to biofuels in the past 5-6 years in media, policy and academic circles – on how biofuel industries operate, on technology development and its potential, on environmental impacts, and on processes of land acquisition and impact on livelihoods. Many questions still remain unanswered. This conference will focus on three areas: (1) The role of standards and sustainability certifications in shaping the biofuel industry in the context of larger processes of governance and regulation; (2) The impact of actually existing investments on trade flows, on the structure of regional and global biofuel industries, and on food security, land use, water resources and rural livelihoods; and (3) How discourses and imaginaries on biofuel innovation, technology development and scaling-up impact strategic choices, policies and practices – in relation to both first- and next-generation biofuels.

The conference is structured around seven closed workshop sessions and one public seminar event on Monday 19 November (15:00-18:00, including a reception) at the Danish Institute for International Studies, Main Auditorium, Strandgade 71, Copenhagen C. You are welcome to join us for the open seminar (see programme below). To register for the open seminar, please contact

Preliminary programme:

Keynote Speeches

15:10-15:30 “Biofuel Dichotomies”, by Prof. Arthur Mol (Department of Social Sciences, University of Wageningen)

The landscape of biofuels has developed rapidly during the past decade. Not only are almost all countries involved in the production and/or consumption of biofuels, biofuels have also become global rather than local commodities. Biofuels have also become big business, in which major companies, credit agencies, national and international governmental organizations are involved. And finally biofuels are no longer just a ‘green alternative’ as they face numerous controversies, especially on the social and environmental sustainabilities. These characteristics seems especially valid for liquid biofuels, which are dominant in global developments and debates. But are they also valid for solid biofuels (such as wood pallets) and biogas? With a number of examples. Prof. Mol will illustrate that there exist more than one biofuel landscape (of biofuelscape), with different characteristics, scales, actornetworks, and controversies. To what extent do we see tendencies that these different biofuelscapes develop towards each other (or are dominated by one) and perhaps in the future ‘harmonize’ into one common global biofuelscape? And how should we assess that?

15:30-15:50 “Certified Sustainable: the European Union’s Biofuels Sustainability Scheme”, by Ass. Prof. Jolene Lin (Faculty of Law, the University of Hong Kong)

The EU’s biofuels “sustainability” certification scheme creates a transnational governance regime that combines elements of private certification and public authority. Jolene Lin describes this hybrid regulatory model as one based on a “meta-standard” and will explore the legal complexities that arise from the heavy reliance on voluntary certification schemes along a complex global supply chain. She argues that while the “meta-standard” regime architecture may be favourable in terms of compliance with World Trade Organisation rules and simplifying verification/enforcement processes for the regulator, it will do little to address the true environmental and social costs of “agrofuels” production.

15:50-16:20 Roundtable discussion with:

Anne Grete Holmsgaard, Director, Biorefining Alliance

Kirsten Hjørnholm Sørensen, Policy Advisor, ActionAid Denmark (MS)

15:20-16:45 Open discussion

16:45-18:00 Reception and drinks

Sidst opdateret: Communications // 24/10/2012