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Biofuels Certification: social requirements

Social criteria are key components in sustainability certifications. The focus and level of demand in relation to social requirements varies widely between certification systems..

Nonetheless, the goal is one: for a biofuel production to be sustainable, she must be socially beneficial.

Most norms have in common social requirements aimed at workers' rights, among them compliance with labor legislation, to health and safety standards and the main conventions of the International Labor Organization – ILO (conventions that address forced labor, child labor, the discrimination, the right of association and the right of negotiation). In this sense, there is even a certain overlap of legal requirements compared to social criteria and requirements.

Workers are important stakeholders in the production of biofuels. It is recognized that sustainable production depends so much on good people management, guaranteeing remuneration, adequate training and working conditions, how much of the proper management of natural resources, of energy and inputs used.

Although, responsible production is not restricted to legal compliance or the implementation of an occupational health and safety program; it must also identify and act on the adverse social impacts arising from its activities..
Then, some new themes for the sector emerge, such as identification and consultation with stakeholders and the assessment of social impacts.

The "Stakeholders" or "stakeholders" in the production of biofuels are all people, groups or entities that have interests, or that affect or are affected by agricultural and industrial activities. may include, between others: government agencies, neighbors or communities living around the project, workers, NGOs, indigenous peoples and traditional populations, customers and consumers, investors and shareholders.

A Social Impact Assessment is an assessment equivalent to an environmental impact assessment and the two can be carried out at the same time.. Social impact assessment involves gathering information about various social actors and their interests and then considering the real and potential impacts of agricultural and industrial production activities on them., in order to propose mitigating measures for the negative impacts.

An agricultural or industrial enterprise alone may not be able to meet all of society's expectations. Some issues need to be addressed directly by organizations, while other issues and responsibilities fall to government actions.. Nonetheless, the organization that effectively incorporates social issues can play an important role in local development, improving working conditions and the well-being of people in rural areas.

Some biofuels certification systems offer documents with practical guidelines for carrying out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment.. as a suggestion, see the RSB guide – Roundtable of Sustainable Biofuel for impact assessment.

Remember if: There are many other practices that can be considered.. Each organization must seek those that are most appropriate to its reality and its management system.

Some biofuels certification systems offer documents with practical guidelines for carrying out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. Aurea M. B. Nardelli, PhD in Forest Science, Auditor and Consultant.

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