The global biofuels sector has expanded rapidly in the past decade, with feedstock expansion penetrating many tropical areas. While the emerging demand for biofuels represents an opportunity for developing countries, it also poses a host of social and environmental risks. Large investments are needed to finance expansion of biofuel and feedstock production, suggesting that the financial sector may have a crucial role to play in mitigating these risks. This paper seeks to explore the role of financiers in expanding biofuel feedstock production and refining in tropical forest‐rich countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America to better understand the role and future potential of responsible finance in the biofuel sector.
The analysis draws on published data and reports from academia, industry, governments, civil society and the press, to quantify the magnitude and source of investments made from 2000‐2010 in 16 countries sampled from “ecoregions” subject to high rates of forest conversion, weak land tenure institutions, and vulnerable communities.
It is found that the case study countries received USD 5.3‐7.3 billion for feedstock production and USD 5.7‐6.7 billion for biofuel refining between 2000 and 2009. This was financed by a mix of entrepreneurs, private banks, investors, governments and multilateral banks. While no clear patterns emerge, foreign banks and institutional investors rank as “important” for most feedstocks and regions. Multilateral banks and domestic institutional investors seem to be the least important. Few financiers have criteria in place in order to ensure sustainable investing practices, and those who do tend to have policies of limited quality.
While much has been written on biofuel sustainability and governance, there is little research that delineates the nature of investment and finance in the sector.
Willem van Gelder, J., German, L. and Bailis, R. (2012), "Biofuels investments in tropical forest‐rich countries: implications for responsible finance", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 134-160. https://doi.org/10.1108/20408021211282296Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited