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Belgium to ban palm- and soy-based biofuels from 2022


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Belgium will ban soy- and palm oil-based biofuels from next year to tackle deforestation concerns. It will join France, Austria and the Netherlands in no longer allowing palm oil as a raw material for transport biofuels from mid-2022, while soybean use will be halted from 2023. "The use of the most harmful biofuel, that of palm oil, has increased tenfold on the Belgian market between 2019 and 2020 to 231mn litres. These fuels have little or no advantage over traditional fossil fuels from a climate point of view, but lead to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and even human rights violations," said Belgium's federal minister of environment and climate Zakia Khattabi.


Biodiesel producers are being encouraged to switch to waste-based feedstocks with a lower carbon footprint such as used cooking oil. The move is a further blow to Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil and palm methyl ester producers, which have already lodged complaints with the World Trade Organization against the EU for enacting a phase-out of the vegetable oil in the transport fuel mix from 2023 to zero by 2030. They have also faced pushback from the other side of the Atlantic, after the US banned imports from Malaysian palm oil producers Sime Darby and FGV because of questionable labour practices.