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Biofuels for Transport in Europe: Lessons about Governance, Innovation and Sustainability

  • Kes McCormick
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Document type: Conference paper

Abstract english

In the context of growing concerns over climate change and peak oil, biofuels for transport are attracting considerable support from the European Union (EU). However, the sustainability of biofuels is under increasing debate. Furthermore, the complexity of the biofuels industry (involving different resources and feedstock suppliers, different logistics providers and options, a range of technologies and systems, and multiple end-products and end-uses) and the diversity of actors (such as biofuels producers and suppliers, trade associations, oil companies, automobile manufacturers, local municipalities, national governments, public agencies, research organisations, and NGOs) create significant challenges for policy-making and governance. The purpose of this paper is to explore the interlinkages between governance, innovation and sustainability for the biofuels industry in Europe, focusing on Sweden and the UK.

Based on discussions and interviews with European researchers and practitioners, this paper analyses five key (interlinking) factors that are shaping the markets for biofuels in Europe. The key factors are visionary plans, policy frameworks, stakeholder networks, local actions and sustainability issues. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to expand biofuels and bioenergy, especially when considering sustainability. However, there are lessons to learn about governance and policy-making related to biofuels, particularly in the early stages of a biofuels industry. Sweden and the UK are selected as the main cases in this paper as they provide contrasting pictures of the biofuels industry in Europe – Sweden is a “leader” on biofuels while the UK is in the “infant” stage of development. Furthermore, the key factors defined in this paper are developing quite differently in Sweden and the UK.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Biofuels
  • Sustainability
  • Policy
  • Governance
  • Innovation


Workshop on Governance of Innovation towards Sustainability: The Global Transport Sector
2010-09-16 - 2010-09-17
Stockholm, Sweden
Kes McCormick
E-mail: kes [dot] mccormick [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

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