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Research Report

Policies and institutional and legal frameworks in the expansion of Brazilian biofuels

Renata Marson Teixeira de Andrade
Andrew Miccolis
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2011
Pages: 52
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)

    Brazil is home to one of the world’s oldest and boldest biofuels programs. Over the past 35 years, the Brazilian Government has invested heavily in expanding agribusiness and promoting the biofuels industry, thrusting the country into the international spotlight as a top producer, exporter and consumer of this ‘green’ fuel and several other commodities. Developments in the Brazilian ethanol and biodiesel landscapes are being closely watched in consumer markets such as the US and the EU. They are also being replicated by other countries, especially in Latin America and Africa, where Brazil is exporting technological and policy knowhow through topnotch...

  2. (pp. 2-7)

    Our initial analysis led us to divide biofuels policies in Brazil into two distinct categories for the purposes of this article: first, the sugarcane-ethanol industry and, second, biodiesel made from soybeans, beef tallow, oil palm and other oilseeds. While the history, discourse, policies and impacts of ethanol production have been closely intertwined with commercial sugar production on large landholdings, biodiesel has been touted by the Brazilian Government as strategic to promoting social inclusion and environmental sustainability among smallholders.¹

    This section is divided into two parts. The first presents the factors leading to the ethanol industry’s development during three very distinct...

  3. (pp. 8-11)

    Biofuels policy formulation is coordinated and drafted at the highest levels of the Brazilian Government: under the President’s Office (CC/PR), through an advisory body called the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE), and by two separate interministerial councils, CIMA (Interministerial Council for Sugar and Ethanol) and CEIB (Interministerial Executive Committee), dealing with sugarcane-ethanol and biodiesel, respectively. CIMA, the much smaller sugarcane-ethanol council, is led by the Agriculture Ministry and includes three other ministries: Development, Industry and Trade (MDIC), Mines and Energy (MME) and Finance (MF) (MAPA et al. 2006). Biodiesel policymaking, on the other hand, is formulated and implemented by CEIB,...

  4. (pp. 12-26)

    Brazil has a series of unique FDI, land tenure, forestry, labour, social inclusion and environmental policies that play a pivotal role in decisions surrounding the operation of biofuels production chains. In many ways, this wider regulatory framework is just as important as specific biofuels-oriented policies in determining crop expansion strategies and investments. This section sheds light on some structural issues in Brazil, the main institutional and legal frameworks inside and outside the biofuels sector, and how they stand as constraints and/or opportunities for expanding bioenergy, from the standpoint of both national and international investors and smallholders.⁵

    The central pillar of...

  5. (pp. 27-33)

    The sugarcane-ethanol industry in Brazil, while touted as a clean fuel by key players from the Brazilian Government, academia and the private sector, has also given rise to human rights and labour controversies. As suggested by Andrade and Miccolis (2010a), two key events have thrust labour and human rights issues into the national and international spotlight recently: two recent conferences held in São Paulo, one championing ethanol as a clean fuel and key driver for Brazil’s energy autonomy, and the other held by human rights and environmental justice groups questioning ethanol’s sustainability because of its alleged impacts on local landscapes,...

  6. (pp. 34-35)

    The Brazilian biofuels sector is likely to keep growing by leaps and bounds as investments keep rising in lockstep with domestic and international demand. Beyond the country’s long trajectory of massive investments in technology, production and distribution infrastructure dating back to the 1970s, policies and measures over the last decade have provided financial incentives, bolstered exports and spurred foreign direct investment, especially in the ethanol sector. Moreover, Brazil’s vast agricultural frontier, marginal lands and highly favourable climatic conditions undoubtedly place the country in a privileged position to expand biofuels production.

    Our analysis of the key players and policies within and...