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The economic stakes for Canada’s agriculture and agri-products sector (supplying corn, canola, oil and other basic feedstock) and for bioethanol and biodiesel fuel producers may be substantial as export markets for “certified renewable” feedstocks and biofuel products grow. At the same time, market-pricing mechanisms may change where premiums become available for “certified” materials/biofuels and discounts result for non-certified materials/biofuels.
It is also highly likely that the impact of biofuels sustainability measures will impact the traditional agriculture and agrifood markets and there is some evidence that this has already started to happen. These impacts could be positive or negative and Canadian stakeholders need to be aware of the potential consequences of these activities even if no biofuel or feedstock destined for biofuel producers ever leaves Canada.
The biofuels value-adding chain or business system encompasses a number of stages that involve a variety of economic stakeholders, including but not limited to growers, fertilizer producers, transportation providers, vegetable oil producers and others that can be unique for different biofuels as well as feedstocks. There are also competing industry stakeholders (e.g., oil & gas, petroleum refining) and as a result Canadian government interests involving a number of departments (e.g., Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Environment Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade). International sustainability initiatives (ISIs) bring together factors influencing these entities as well as other interests (e.g., labour interests, other social interests). Therefore, analysis of the implications of ISIs for the Canadian economy requires a broad, multidisciplinary approach.