Sustainable use of bioenergy

NEWS Published

The European Commission recently presented a proposal containing sustainability criteria on bioenergy. Issues like the definition of sustainable bioenergy and its impact on the future use of biomass and forest management were discussed at a seminar in co-organised by Swedish Enterprise, the Federation of Swedish Farmers and the Swedish Forestry Industries Federation on December 7th.

Seminar Sustainable use of bioenergy, panel
Seminar Sustainable use of bioenergy, panel
Sustainable use of bioenergy panel
Sustainable use of bioenergy panel
Sustainable use of bioenergy Mårten Larsson
Sustainable use of bioenergy Mårten Larsson
Sustainable use of bioenergy
Christofer Fjellner, Emma Berglund, Gustav Egnell, Magnus Kindbom, Giulio Volpi, Anders Wijkman, Mårten Larsson

MEP Christofer Fjellner, the host of the seminar, moderated the discussion moderator of the discussion among the invited speakers:

  • Emma Berglund, Secretary General CEPF
  • Gustav Egnell, Researcher, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • Magnus Kindbom, Director of Forestry Federation of Swedish Farmers
  • Giulio Volpi, European Commission, DG Energy, renewable energy & CCS
  • Anders Wijkman, President of Club of Rome & former President of Environmental objectives council of Sweden

Mårten Larsson (Forestry Director, Swedish Forestry Industries Federation) introduced the seminar by talking about biomass from a system perspective. He underlined that parts of a tree are used for many different purposes and stressed that the Swedish forest sector is driving growth in the global bioeconomy.

- Think about it as a bank account, if you have 100 euros, you have 5 euros in revenue you can use every year without removing money from the account. If you have 200 euros you get 10 euros every year. The more forest you have, the more you can use sustainable. Europe should grow trees!

When MEP Christofer Fjellner, MEP for EPP, asked about Larsson’s key concerns, the answer was immediate:

- Don’t regulate and put a cap on forest harvesting. Let the member states decide how much harvest they can allow in a sustainable manner.

Emma Berglund (Secretary General  of the European Forest Owners) raised the forest owners’ perspective and put forward three messages: Europe’s forest are sustainable, energy demand does not drive harvest and bioenergy does not put European forests at risk. Berglund also said that there there is already legislation in place for timber, LULUCF, biodiversity and national principles for sustainable forest management.

-But this is the first time the European Commission moves away from subsidiarity principle, and puts forward legislation on the sustainability of forests, Berglund stated.

To understand the carbon neutrality principles Gustaf Egnell (Researcher, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) presented the European Forest Institute report "Forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation". He argued that carbon neutrality is a debated topic and that there is no clear consensus among the scientists.  

-When someone presents you a result, you always have to ask what assumptions are behind. When assessing the climate impact of biomass, it’s crucial to look at assumptions on timeframe, scope and how biomass is compared to fossil fuels.

Egnell concluded by stating that he does not want the Commission to create policies where renewable energy sources are pitted against each other instead of competing with fossil fuels. A one-size-fits-all policy is unlikely to be optimal.

Giulio Volpi (DG Energy, renewable energy & CCS) introduced the Commission’s proposal by underlining the wish to create incentives for the efficient use of wood. He also made clear the intention of the Commission to phase out the first generation of biofuels but create clear incentives to promote advanced biofuels.

-The Commission’s approach is pragmatic and we have presented sustainability criteria that constitute a minimum level of responsibility. There are many uncertainties concerning the sustainability of biomass we have recognized that in our work, Volpi explained.

Anders Wijkman (President of Club of Rome & former President of Environmental objectives council of Sweden) stressed that the Commission needs to be careful with the transaction costs and not put too much regulation and administrative burden on small market actors. Wijkman also raised the fact that bio-based economy is a pillar in Sweden’s Climate strategy.

-Sweden is covered to 65% of forests and we have a long tradition of taking care of our forests. The approach to forest management is divided in Europe, Wijkman said.

During the discussion Magnus Kindbom (Director of Forestry Federation of Swedish Farmers) explained the environmental benefits of managed forests and its contribution to mitigating climate change.

-Trees are like teenagers, they are eating most CO2 in when they are growing up! Older forest don’t contribute as much, Kindbom stated.

MEP Christofer Fjellner summed up the discussion with one last warning,

-We have to be careful so we don’t regulate biomass to hard and fails to reach the main goal, tackling climate change and phasing out fossil fuels.

News

NEWS Published:

How the Nordics achieved an integrated electricity market – Lessons for Europe?

Last November, the European Commission presented its package "Clean Energy for All in Europe". Among the proposals currently being discussed in the Council of Ministers and in the European Parliament are the draft legislation on the electricity market design, security of supply and governance of the energy union.
NEWS Published:

Close the ecocycle – recycling is better than burning

INNOVATION Anders Olsson is CEO for recovery business, Cassandra Oil, in Västerås, Sweden. He thinks that misdirected regulatory frameworks skew the way society manages plastic waste.
NEWS Published:

Free data flows in focus for the entrepreneurial sector

Global free trade, technical development and free data flows are entirely essential to export dependent Sweden. We are in the midst of a transformation to a thoroughly digitalised society where the possibilities for innovation are great and integrity needs equally great. Companies cannot conduct their business across national borders without moving data, as well – whether small or large, and in every industry. How can Sweden and Europe establish data-driven policy where all interests – personal, business, and societal needs – are preserved in the long term?
NEWS Published:

Plenty of red tape waiting to be cut

BETTER REGULATION Cutting red tape has long been a dream of Swedish companies. But the current coalition government (Social Democrats and the Green Party) has put little effort into this issue. Strong measures are needed now, argues a second report from the project A Challenged Sweden.
NEWS Published:

Red tape clogs the Single Market

RED TAPE Design and Lighting business, Watt & Veke, struggles with the administrative burden of selling to the EU Single Market. Right now, they’re having trouble with administering producer responsibility obligations and recycling electrical products. “Things are not as open as we would like,” says CEO Johan Pehrson.
NEWS Published:

Business community has an important role in the future EU

EU The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and BusinessEurope remain active in working to impact the EU’s agenda for the future. “The way forward will build on its original ideas of openness, trade, and economic integration,” commented Jens Hedström in celebrating the Union’s 60th birthday.
NEWS Published:

Reaction to the UK’s decision to leave the EU

COMMENT “We regret that the UK Government has decided to take this step” says Director-General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Carola Lemne, “This is the beginning of a process entailing great risks for our companies and bringing few positive aspects with it”.
NEWS Published:

The VAT base and VAT rates - A contribution to the EU VAT Action Plan

TAXATION On the 7 of April 2016 the European Commission adopted the Action Plan on VAT - Towards a single EU VAT area. As a part of the action plan the Commission will present a proposal on VAT rates, with the aim of giving member states more freedom in this area. From a Swedish perspective this is the perfect time to further analyse and discuss how we want the VAT rules to be designed in the future.
NEWS Published:

Positive announcement on changed trading rules for emission allowances

EU The European Parliament voted on changes to the EU Emission Trading System for 2021 to 2030. The proposal includes an increase of emission allowances allocated free to industry, representing a victory for this globally competitive industry.
NEWS Published:

Is the EU single market SME-friendly?

COMMENT The European single market is supposed to be free from obstacles. People and goods, services and capital are to be treated equally - independent of which EU or ESS country they originate from. The single market is also a major reason why Swedish companies are generally very positive towards the EU.
NEWS Published:

Government Welfare Inquiry proposal leads to total ban on profit

WELFARE SERVICES – WELFARE SERVICES – The Government Welfare Inquiry led by Ilmar Reepalu presenting a proposal for regulating profits was premised on enabling continued private sector provision of welfare services. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise begs to disagree, based on a special study we assigned auditors PWC, and as argued by Caroline af Ugglas and Anders Morin.
NEWS Published:

Proposal on Pillar of Social Rights threatens the Swedish model

PILLAR OF SOCIAL RIGHTS The EU is pushing strongly to address social problems. However, the Commission’s recent proposal restricts Member States’ right to decide, and so threatens the Swedish model.
NEWS Published:

Free Flow of Data crucial for the Data Economy

COMMENTS Do not burden the digital development in the EU with a complicated framework that is too complex for companies to understand, let alone comply with. The digitisation of society and business will bring us great opportunities if the policies governing the data economy can develop strategically with an eye to the future.
NEWS Published:

Creating a competitive EU post-Brexit

BREXIT The British government is expected to trigger Article 50 in a few months and the ultimate effect on both Britain and the European Union are still largely unknown. Since the British referendum on the exit of the EU, intense discussions on the future UK-EU relationship have unfolded. What is missing from the debate is an emphasis on how to make sure EU competitiveness is strengthened in this period of political uncertainty.
NEWS Published:

The EU Commission publishes its “Services Package”

FREE MOVEMENT On 11 January 2017, the EU Commission a package containing four initiatives aimed at improving the free movement of services in the single market. The Commission’s ambition is to create “A European services economy that works for Europeans”. The services package was first announced in the Commission’s Single Market Strategy “Upgrading the Single Market: more opportunities for people and business” adopted on 28 October 2015. The response of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise to the Single Market Strategy is available here
NEWS Published:

Free movement in the internal market

EU For companies engaged in cross-border trade within the EU, it is particularly important that the obstacles to free movement in the internal market are removed.Särskilt angeläget är ett effektivt samarbete mellan EU:s institutioner och medlemsstaterna för att förfärdiga den inre marknaden. It is especially important that there is an effective cooperation between the EU institutions and Member States to complete the internal market.Större politisk tyngd måste ges till den gemensamma inre marknaden som är nyckeln till framgång i EU-samarbetet och avgörande för EU:s ekonomiska tillväxt. Greater political weight must be given to the common internal market, which is key to the success of EU cooperation and crucial for EU economic growth.
NEWS Published:

Low growth expected for Swedish economy

ECONOMY The economy continues to show slow growth, in Sweden and around the world – as shown in the latest forecast from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. “Most concerning is the labour market. Bifurcation in the labour market is widening over time and will continue to do so without structural reforms,” says Bettina Kashefi, Chief Economist at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

Cutting red tape essential for a functioning Single Digital Market

OPINION Digitalisation enables faster growth and jobs creation. But the EU could miss this opportunity if the EU Commission Digital Single Market Strategy turns into a long list of demands on businesses, writes Carolina Brånby, Legal and Policy Advisor for Digitalisation at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

Uncertain environmental policy

OPINION The All Party Committee on Environmental Objectives has submitted its final report to the Swedish government. Though this is a broad agreement with clear formulations, it is unfortunately based on wishful thinking and hopes rather than facts and proper documentation, writes Maria Sunér Fleming, Head of Energy and Climate Policy at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, who also participated as specialist on the committee.
NEWS Published:

Minister for Digital Development Peter Eriksson visits Brussels

Sweden should drive the development of a real Digital Single Market. The Swedish Minister for Digital Development Peter Eriksson came to Brussels, to meet with Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market in the European Commission. He also attended a lunch seminar with the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise along with Swedish businesses represented in Brussels.