“EWABA stands for solving problem and not for ideologically prohibiting solutions. We stand for exhausting all possibilities and measures, not looking for culprits and problems. We stand for maximum solutions for our industry and thus for the highest possible economic and ecological benefits.”
My first year in charge as EWABA President is now behind me. I would therefore like to thank my team, all members of our association and all stakeholders and friends of sustainable biofuels. Not only for the fact that we worked together on an insanely professional level and that we achieved a lot together. Rather, I would like to express my gratitude for the fact that, in addition to the daily trouble-shooting at European and national level, we have also succeeded in driving in important political stakes.
We have achieved a lot for our members since EWABA was founded. Thanks to our serious work and expertise we have become a key stakeholder in European Energy policy, but we have often been driven by EU policy. It was our goal to become the driver of this policy, and I think we are in the process of achieving that. The B+ Summit in Estoril in last April and the jointly signed manifesto mark a milestone on this path. The Summit and the Manifesto have enabled us not only to comment on the European political agenda, but also to incorporate our demands more strongly.
Why is this more important than ever in 2023? Because the many crises that have swept across Europe, especially since the Corona pandemic, have led to opinions triumphing over facts and loud bluster over rational measures in most areas. In such a time, I think it is essential to bring calm to the discussion, and then to tackle the challenges with a new and clear focus. And that's exactly what we did at Estoril. I would like to thank all those who made this event possible, who contributed to the discussion and who accepted the challenge with our association. With our products, we are now delivering the largest single measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. B+, i.e. higher biofuel blends, will be able to expand this indispensable contribution.
But there is another point in our favour. The companies represented by EWABA stand for sustainability, regional value creation, global transparent supply chains and, above all, the reduction of fossil feedstock. Like no other industry, we stand for a true circular economy. Why? Because we have all always had one thing in focus: We produce sustainable biofuel. We focus on our product and put it at the center of our work. Circular economy can only work if we focus on the product itself. I am grateful that together we keep this cycle moving. As long as we do not lose this focus on our product, we will continue to be a central element in achieving the climate targets.
As in the past, we, especially the team around Angel Alberdi, consistently continued on the path of constructive discussions and negotiations in 2023. In my view, retaining and expanding our network in EU and national institutions is precisely the key to our joint success. I would like to thank all our members for this. So please let us continue to speak in the different languages of the EU, but with a clear common message.
As an association and its member companies, we see the problems that we are facing in the market. However, we have shown that we can accept and master these challenges. One challenge that hit us all massively was the "Asian issue". Irrespective of how the problem came about, it is important to me to solve this problem within the scope of my possibilities. It was therefore not important to me to identify the culprits as to identify the problem solvers. I am therefore grateful that we have once again managed to begin restoring full confidence in our industry along the entire value chain. The open, honest dialogue with the certification bodies, which is based on trust, is a central element for me. We cannot be blamed for inadequate regulation and the associated loopholes. I have therefore done everything in my power to make clear a fact that is immutable for me. Our certification systems are part of what we do. They are the ones who prove the sustainability of our products. They are therefore our partner, with whom we work together to point out the errors in the system and to develop and demand solutions. I would therefore also like to thank all those who did not lose themselves in arguments, but kept focus.
Because we will need the energy for more important things. Whereas a few years ago there was still the principle of "waste-based biofuels for road and transport", today we see a much more diversified market ahead of us. The abundance of available feedstock, in quantity and type, has increased. Today, we work with feedstock that we didn't know about a few years ago, and we will continue to expand this mix in the coming years. However, this is also the case with regard to the areas of application of our products and feedstock. The maritime sector and aviation are increasingly coming to the fore. This means that we have to think about a time of "biofuels beyond the road".
EWABA stands for solving problem and not for ideologically prohibiting solutions. We stand for exhausting all possibilities and measures, not looking for culprits and problems. We stand for maximum solutions for our industry and thus for the highest possible economic and ecological benefits.
In the coming years, we are facing important changes in European biofuels policy. This will also have an impact on global supply chains. The question will be: Do we want to actively intervene in material flows in order to divert feedstock, or do we leave this to the market? My answer here is clear: if you let them, feedstock will always find the most efficient and economically and ecologically sensible way. If, as is currently being discussed in the EU, we artificially distort the level playing field, then the raw material will not be used in an ecologically sensible way. Above all, economically, it will take a wrong turn.
The efficient use of higher blends throughout transport is one of the key legislative priorities for EWABA and will contribute significantly to climate change mitigation efforts without the need for changes, new investments or technological upgrades. We can start blending biodiesel from waste in higher quantities today.
The B+ Manifesto highlights the potential of our green fuels to contribute to the circular economy, promote the bioeconomy and reduce dependence on imported fuels. Our economic success goes hand in hand with ecological and social value creation. It is our industry, our businesses and manufacturing facilities that currently represent the only appreciably effective measure to decarbonize the traffic and transport sector – waste-based and advanced biofuels.
I assure you that I will continue to work for our common interests with all my strength and, hopefully, with the necessary reason and calmness. At the same time, I ask all of you to continue to support the EWABA family with all your strength.
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