An eco-efficient bioeconomy, combining environmental sustainability and economic advantage, has been promoted to alleviate resource constraints of rising global demand. For political forces resisting environmental degradation and people’s dispossession, several means are necessary to contest this global agenda and counterpose alternatives.
Ben McKay, Sérgio Sauer, Ben Richardson, Roman Herre
15 September 2014
Flex crops, spread over greater expanses of land, are increasingly interlinked through international exchange in food, feed and fuel. Brazilian exports of sugarcane ethanol to the US are in part influenced by the domestic US production of maize ethanol, which in turn is shaped by the price of feed and the soybean supply.
Flex trees seem to offer timely opportunities for socio-environmentally sustainable solutions, but also present dangers, particularly if such changes accelerate the concentration of land and plantation-based development, whereby forests compete with and may replace food production.
Maria Luisa Mendonça, Fabio T. Pitta, Carlos Vinicius Xavier
18 July 2013
An examination of ethanol production in Brazil, highlighting the role of financial capital, the territorial expansion of agribusiness and the impacts on labour relations and indigenous peoples and peasant farmers.
Why despite ten years of accumulating evidence on the social and environmental cost of agrofuels, does the European Commission persist with its failed policies? An analysis of the EU's bioeconomy vision, how it is fuelling land grabs in Africa, the agrofuels lobby that drives policy, and the alternative visions for energy that are being ignored.
In the face of violent dispossession and incorporation into an exploitative labor regime, indigenous peasant families in northern Guatemala are struggling to access land and defend their resources as the basis of their collective identity.
While the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) persists with its central focus of fostering competitiveness and exports of European agribusiness, it will continue to undermine small-scale farming and create greater food insecurity in the global South.
The Procana Bioethanol project in Mozambique is a clear example of how agrofuel investments contribute rather than mitigate climate change, and are often accompanied by dispossession and impoverishment caused by landgrabbing.
Jennifer Franco, Lucia Goldfarb, David Fig, Les Levidow, S.M.Oreszczyn et al.
23 February 2011
The Europe 2020 strategy's promotion of resource-efficient technologies and market incentives as the solution for sustainable agriculture is contradicted by experience where techno-fixes and market pressures have increased overall demand on resources.
The green potential of agrofuels has been wasted by businesses that put profits above environmental protection, which has led to an absurd situation where an energy source that should be sustainable actually increases human and ecological damage.
The spectre of a global land grab by foreign transnationals has captured media attention, but perhaps the bigger danger lies in the response by institutions like the World Bank, whose supposedly ameliorative measures are likely to entrench dispossession rather than prevent it.
Jennifer Franco, Lucia Goldfarb, David Fig, Luisa Mendonca, Les Levidow, Mireille Hoenicke
06 April 2010
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in developing agrofuels on a large scale as an alternative to fossil fuel. EU biofuels policy, in particular, assumes that the environmental impacts associated with agrofuels production will be largely beneficial. This study questions such optimistic assumptions.
The possible impact of agrofuels on the human right to adequate food for the most oppressed and marginalised social groups must be considered prior to applying policies and programmes that encourage the production, investment and trade of agrofuels.
This document focuses on particular types of ‘biofuel’ which we prefer to call agrofuel because of the intensive, industrial way it is produced, generally as monocultures, often covering thousands of hectares, most often in the global South.