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Biofuels case study

  1. Créé par Rudi COEL
  2. Le 28/04/2022
  3. 18192021Dans Services Consultance Via email Belgique

Détails de l'annonce

Organisation : Oxfam-België
Durée estimée : 40 jours
Montant estimé du marché : 20000 euros
Période d'exécution : 30/05/2022 au 10/07/2022
Date de publication : 28/04/2022
Date limite de soumission : 10/05/2022
Personne de contact :

Résumé du marché

Oxfam-België (hereafter OBE or Oxfam), non-governmental organisation for humanitarian assistance and development aid, launches an Invitation to Quote (IQ) for a  Biofuels case study

Belgium is relying on biofuels to achieve its CO2 emissions reductions. Previous studies have shown the negative effects associated with biodiesel production, but there’s insufficient information on negative effects around bioethanol production, which is expected to increase in the coming years. A previous Oxfam study has shed light on several human rights violations within sugar cane plantations, but there’s yet sufficient information on shared responsibilities for these violations along the value chain. This research will give an answer to that.

Building on the first research, the objective of this consultancy will be to map the sugarcane’s ethanol value chain from Peru and Brazil into Belgium, by identifying the flows, actors, and European countries involved, as well as their roles and responsibility in respecting social sustainability. It will try to cast light on some of the loopholes in the legislation allowing for ethanol to flow into the EU, besides its clear contradictions with basic European human rights principles. Since the current incorporation of biofuels into the Belgian market is mandated by the EU and the Belgian government, the results of this study will be useful to put pressure not only on the companies involved, but on the European and Belgian decision makers.

Résumé des attentes des prestataires

Research questions

Overall: Focus on sugar cane. Describe value chain and how is it possible that given the evidence of HR violations, the product arrived to BE consumers.

  1. Sugarcane’s ethanol value chain mapping. The consultant will build a clear map including: countries (names and roles), companies (names, and roles), amounts, flows, since 2003 (first EU biofuel directive) to date.
    1. Sugarcane’s ethanol flows
      1. leaving Peru and Brazil
      2. entering Belgium
      3. passing through: the Netherlands, the UK and Switzerland, and other EU countries
    2. Describing the mechanism (where is sugar cane transformed into ethanol, how is to sold, etc)
    3. Describing the purposes: which amount if for transport, and which amount for other purposes (e.g. medical ethanol[1], bioplastics, etc)
    4. Identifying stakeholders: farming companies, transforming, brokers, investors, buyers, mixing, companies distributing to Belgian consumers, (advertising companies? Certifying companies?), investors. Target the enterprises that buy, and have a responsibility to respect HR and thus identify and address risks in their value chain. Also target the government, as a buyer (pillar 2 of the UNGPs) but also as a government that has the duty to implement measures that make business respect human rights (pillar 1 of UNGPs). Among others obtain information about the role of:
      2. Main oil companies in Belgium.
  2. The consultant will give a view of the role, gaps and possibilities that different sectoral policies provide for tackling the issues identified in the previous studye. What roles are other policies playing on biofuel/energy markets?
    1. Energy policies (e.g.: RED, ESR, EU Climate Law, EU NDC, BE PNEC, BE transposition) - Social safeguards: which are already included, which could be improved. Formulate EU policy recommendations on how to improve the above-mentioned EU policies, [with the ultimate aim of excluding land-based biofuels of the energy-mix.]
    2. Trade policies: How are trade policies (Trade Agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru, EU-Mercosur, ) favoring investments that enable the export (from producing country) and import (into belgium) of sugar cane’s ethanol (e.g. reduced taxation for pesticides, tariff reduction, investment protections). Formulate EU policy recommendations on how to improve the above-mentioned EU-Colombia & Peru FTA and the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, [with the ultimate aim of excluding land-based biofuels of the energy-mix.]
    3. HRDD perspective
      1. Where are the actors identified in question 1 falling short?
      2. Map significance/size of the actors involved or, put differently, the power relations between the actors (e.g. when a Belgian company is the biggest buyer of a specific processing facility this means it has more leverage and this a bigger responsibility). This should allow us to identify actors that bear biggest responsibility, and may be most interesting to target.
      3. What efforts they are already doing, to evaluate to what extend the are laggards or not.
      4. Stakeholder consultation is one of the things that we try to prioritize (consulting all possible stakeholders – field work would be quite extensive)
      5. We also stress the need for gender sensitive HREDD, which means assessing impacts, consulting stakeholders, and monitoring and reporting on progress should be done with a gender lens (making sure all vulnerable groups are being taken into consideration), and segregated data (on who has been consulted, what types of risks are most salient for which groups) should be available.
      6. Formulate EU policy recommendations on how to improve the recently launched Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence proposal, [with the ultimate aim of effectively addressing negative environmental and Human Rights impacts of biofuel production.]
      7. Who has leverage at what point in the value chain? (and then tax exemptions)
    4. Investors/Fiscal policies
      1. Further investigate the issue of “green bonds”/ Next Generation EU found in the first research. Which country gave them to the company? Which measures of control? How is it possible that it was received regardless of the environmental violations?
      2. European financial sectors and companies investing in biofuels (including BIO - Has BIO invested on sugarcane in other places?

Requested profile

The senior consultant is expected to lead the research project which aim is to document the sugar cane value chain feeding the Belgian market from Peruvian and Brazilian exports.

The consultant should have strong data analysis and research skills, excellent economic knowledge and experience in biofuel markets. Strong background in EU and Belgian policy frameworks.

  • PhD or Masters degree in an area relevant to the assignment.
  • Strong background in trade and policy analysis
  • At least 3 years’ experience in one of the following policy fields: Energy policies, Climate Policies, Trade Policies, HRDDD.
  • Demonstrated analysis, synthesis and writing capacity in English.
  • Ability write for policy makers and the wider public.
  • Professional knowledge of French and Dutch is an asset

[1] Might be particularly important given the COVID pandemic.