American farmers and ranchers are constantly looking for new markets and opportunities to sell and export their goods. According to the American Soybean Association, conservation practices required for U.S. soybean production to meet EU sustainability standards, and biodiesel produced from documented soybeans can now be used in the EU, the European Commission has formally announced.
The EU requires biofuels to meet a set of sustainability criteria outlined in its Renewable Energy Directive. The U.S. soy industry has its own sustainability guideline, the Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) that, with this announcement, the EU acknowledges meets its rigorous RED requirements.
Davie Stephens, the American Soybean Association president and a soybean grower from Clinton, Kentucky, said, “U.S. farmers have long prided themselves on adopting newer and better methods for producing high-quality soybeans that are grown responsibly and sustainably. The SSAP sets a high standard that demonstrates that commitment, and we are pleased that the EU Commission has recognized our efforts by opening the door for SSAP-certified soybeans to be used in EU biodiesel.”
The United States is the lead supplier of soybeans to the EU, and while this announcement applies only to soybeans exported for biodiesel, ASA sees it as a positive step for enhancing its EU market and validating the quality of the SSAP sustainability initiative. The EU’s decision will remain in place through at least July 1, 2021.
According to the European Commission,”Renewable energy is the future of Europe, and it is important that any biofuels put in the market respect the high sustainability standards we want for our renewables. By submitting the request for recognition, the U.S. has shown that it is ready to play by the rules.”
“The United States is Europe’s main soybean supplier and today’s decision will further expand its market opportunities in Europe. Imports of U.S. soybeans by the European Union increased by 112% over the current market year (July-December 2018), compared to the same period in the previous year. “