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Biofuels industry entities produce biofuels and process raw materials for production. Using organic feedstocks, entities manufacture biofuels that are used primarily in transportation. Entities typically source feedstocks, which include food, oil crops and animal products, from agricultural product distributors. Ethanol and biodiesel are the most widely produced biofuels, while other types include biogas, biohydrogen and synthetic biofuels, produced from a variety of organic feedstocks. Biofuels entities’ customers are chiefly fuel-blending and fuel-supply entities, including major integrated oil entities. Government regulations related to the use of renewable fuel are a significant demand driver in the industry.

Relevant Issues (6 of 26)

Why are some issues greyed out? The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.

Disclosure Topics

What is the relationship between General Issue Category and Disclosure Topics? The General Issue Category is an industry-agnostic version of the Disclosure Topics that appear in each SASB Standard. Disclosure topics represent the industry-specific impacts of General Issue Categories. The industry-specific Disclosure Topics ensure each SASB Standard is tailored to the industry, while the General Issue Categories enable comparability across industries. For example, Health & Nutrition is a disclosure topic in the Non-Alcoholic Beverages industry, representing an industry-specific measure of the general issue of Customer Welfare. The issue of Customer Welfare, however, manifests as the Counterfeit Drugs disclosure topic in the Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals industry.
General Issue Category
(Industry agnostic)

Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Biofuels

Air Quality
  • Air Quality

    Biofuel refineries generate air emissions that may include air pollutants and volatile organic compounds. Grain-handling equipment, boilers, wastewater treatment, and cooling, drying, distillation and fermentation units generate emissions. In most regions, such emissions typically are subject to jurisdictional regulations that limit emissions below specific thresholds. As a result, air emissions often are subject to emissions permits and abatement that may result in incremental operating and compliance costs or capital expenditures. Entities also may face regulatory penalties, as well as permit restrictions or delays from jurisdictional legal or regulatory authorities for non-compliance.
Water & Wastewater Management
  • Water Management in Manufacturing

    Biofuel refining is water-intensive. Biorefineries require water for feedstock processing, fermentation, distillation and cooling. Although water use at biorefineries is modest relative to the quantities consumed during feedstock crop production, it is concentrated, and thus may affect local water resources. Facilities also may generate wastewater containing salts, organic compounds, dissolved solids, phosphorus and other substances, requiring wastewater treatment. Biofuel refineries also may face reduced water availability, related cost increases or operational disruptions. Water extraction from particular areas for refining, as well as contamination of water supplies because of refining operations, also could create regulatory risk and tensions with local communities. Water efficiency in operations and the proper treatment of effluents are therefore important for biofuels entities.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
  • Lifecycle Emissions Balance

    The rapid growth in global biofuels production has been encouraged by government energy policies that seek to reduce net GHG emissions from transportation fuels and dependence on fossil fuels. Most major renewable-fuel policies worldwide require that biofuels achieve lifecycle GHG emissions reductions relative to a fossil-fuel baseline to qualify for renewable fuel-mandate thresholds. The biofuel lifecycle emission calculation may include indirect and direct emissions from feedstock crop production and land use, fuel refining, fuel and feedstock transport, and vehicle exhaust emissions. Biofuel producers may influence net emissions directly during the refining process through energy management (fuel use), process innovations and by using feedstocks with lower emissions profiles. Fuel products that achieve a reduction in net emissions may qualify as advanced biofuels, which could increase future demand. Biofuel entities that cost-effectively reduce product net carbon emissions may gain a competitive product advantage, spur revenue growth and increase market share.
Supply Chain Management
  • Sourcing & Environmental Impacts of Feedstock Production

    The Biofuels industry uses a variety of plant-based feedstocks for production. Most entities purchase feedstocks from agricultural producers and distributors. A growing proportion of the world’s arable land now is occupied by biofuel crops. Unsustainable cultivation practices can have negative environmental externalities, including deforestation and biodiversity loss, soil degradation, and water pollution. These factors may affect feedstock crop yields adversely over the short- and long-term. This, in turn, may influence the price and availability of feedstocks for biofuels producers. Consequently, vetting the sustainability of supply chains, such as through certifications or engagement with suppliers, is an important consideration for biofuels producers.
Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
  • Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment

    The Biofuels industry is dependent on government policies and regulations that create market demand and incentivise supply with tax breaks and other support for feedstock production. The Biofuels industry supports some regulations and policies related to renewable fuel policy, production tax credits and feedstock production. While regulatory support can result in positive short-term gains by supporting the biofuels market, the potential long-term adverse environmental impacts from feedstock and biofuels production may result in a reversal of beneficial policies, leading to a more uncertain regulatory environment. Consequently, biofuels entities may benefit from developing clear strategies for engaging regulators that are aligned with long-term sustainable business outcomes and that account for environmental externalities.
Critical Incident Risk Management
  • Operational Safety, Emergency Preparedness & Response

    Biofuel production presents operational safety hazards because of the presence of flammable and explosive substances, high temperatures, and pressurised equipment. Process safety incidents can damage facilities, injure workers, and affect the local environment and communities. Although the frequency of accidents in the industry is relatively low, when they do take place, the outcomes may be severe, with significant effects on financial performance. Damaged facilities may be inoperable for extended periods, resulting in lost revenues and large capital expenditures for repairs. Entities perceived to be at a greater risk of process safety incidents may have a higher cost of capital, while workforce injuries could result in regulatory penalties and litigation. Conversely, entities with a strong safety culture and operational safety oversight may detect and respond more effectively to such incidents, mitigating potential financial risks and improving operational efficiency.

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