We're not 100 percent sure what "verified sustainable ethanol" means to everyone, but we do know that Swedish ethanol company SEKAB has worked hard to define the term. In fact, SEKAB is claiming to be the first in the world to supply this type of ethanol, which is made from Brazilian sugarcane and "is quality assured from environmental, climate and social perspectives."
How does SEKAB make this claim? By assuring that the Brazilian producers develop sustainability criteria for the entire lifecycle of the ethanol, from field to fuel tank. With Brazil's questionable labor practices in the ethanol fields (denied by some), SEKAB's criteria include:

  • Zero tolerance for child labour, non-organised working conditions (slave labour) and the destruction of rain forests. There are also requirements concerning working conditions, labour laws and wages.
  • Harvesting is to be at least 30 per cent mechanised today and this will increase to 100 per cent by 2014.
  • In terms of the climate, the demands will result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from farming, production and transport by at least 85 per cent compared with gasoline.

The sustainable ethanol will begin showing up in Swedish pumps in August. We've posted the company's release after the jump; it's also available as a PDF.


Press Release:

The World's First Verified Sustainable Ethanol Introduced

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, May 26/PRNewswire/ -- Swedish SEKAB today announced that it is the first company in the world to supply verified sustainable ethanol. This ethanol from Brazilian sugarcane is quality assured from environmental, climate and social perspectives.

"Consumers and other stakeholders need guarantees that the ethanol is verified sustainable," says Anders Fredriksson, EVP of SEKAB BioFuels & Chemicals.

SEKAB has together with progressive Brazilian producers developed criteria that cover the entire lifecycle of ethanol from the sugarcane fields to its use in flexi-fuel (FFV) cars.

The criteria are in line with demands highlighted in the ongoing processes being led by organisations like the UN, EU, ILO and a number of NGOs.

The requirements have zero tolerance for child labour, non-organised working conditions (slave labour) and the destruction of rain forests. There are also requirements concerning working conditions, labour laws and wages.

Harvesting is to be at least 30 per cent mechanised today and this will increase to 100 per cent by 2014.

In terms of the climate, the demands will result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from farming, production and transport by at least 85 per cent compared with gasoline.

An independent international verification company will audit all production units twice a year to ensure the established criteria are met.

"This initiative is the first of its kind in the world and a major step for speeding up the replacement of gasoline and diesel," says Anders Fredriksson. "The criteria will gradually be developed over the coming years and synchronised with international regulations when these are in place."

SEKAB delivers about 90 per cent of all ethanol in Sweden for E85 and ED95 (ethanol for heavy vehicles).

"The first harvest of sugarcane for verified sustainable ethanol has just begun," explains Anders Fredriksson. "Over 100 000 Swedish owners of E85 cars can begin filling up with verified sustainable ethanol in August."

About SEKAB

SEKAB focuses on developing the market for bioethanol in northern Europe and the construction and operation of ethanol production facilities. SEKAB is also a world leader in development of technology and production processes for ethanol from cellulose, with a pilot plant in operation since 2004. Its main office and pilot plant are in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

[Source: SEKAB]

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