New Zealand to implement sustainable biofuels mandate

By Erin Voegele | December 15, 2021

The government of New Zealand on Dec. 15 announced plans to implement a sustainable biofuels mandate based on greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions beginning at a 1.2 percent GHG reduction in 2023 that could ramp up to 9 percent in 2035.

The mandate requires obligated fuel suppliers to reduce the total GHG emissions of the fuels they set by a set percentage each year through the supply of biofuels. The mandate would apply to all liquid fossil fuel for transportation produced in New Zealand or imported into New Zealand. Under the program, fuel suppliers would have the flexibility to deploy any type of biofuels in any location in the country as long as the biofuels meet required sustainability criteria.

As part of the program, fuel suppliers would be required to prepare annual reports to demonstrate compliance with the mandate. Fuel suppliers would have some flexibility in meeting the mandates, including the ability to trade emissions reductions with each other.

The mandate does not currently include aviation fuels. “We’re committing to develop a separate mandate for aviation fuel during 2022 given the unique challenges the sector faces,” said Transport Minister Michael Wood. “The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is working with Air New Zealand on a feasibility study on the potential for domestic production of sustainable aviation fuel and this will feed into that work.”

The government collected public comments on a proposed mandate in mid-2021.

Additional information is available on the New Zealand government website.