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The sustainability of sugarcane-ethanol systems in Guatemala: land, labour and law

Tomei, J; (2015) The sustainability of sugarcane-ethanol systems in Guatemala: land, labour and law. Biomass and Bioenergy , 82 pp. 94-100. 10.1016/j.biombioe.2015.05.018. Green open access

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Abstract

Since 2010, Guatemala has been exporting ethanol, principally to European markets. This means that Guatemalan biofuel has been certified sustainable, although this is deeply contested with NGO reports drawing attention to the negative impacts of ‘agrofuels’, particularly for marginalised communities. Guatemala therefore provides an excellent case study for examining not only the impacts of increased global demand for biofuels, but also whether sustainability, as conceptualised by the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive, can capture those issues that are salient to the Guatemalan context. Drawing on more than eighty qualitative, in-depth interviews, this paper finds that the bloc’s governance framework for biofuels fails to capture many of the issues that matter most to local people in Guatemala, namely land access, trade unions and compliance with the law. This paper argues that the current framework therefore runs the risk of exacerbating the plight of Guatemala’s already marginalised rural communities.

Type: Article
Title: The sustainability of sugarcane-ethanol systems in Guatemala: land, labour and law
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2015.05.018
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2015.05.018
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Guatemala; Sustainability; Biofuel governance; European union; Certification; Sugarcane-ethanol systems
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1469333
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