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Eni’s position on biomass

Eni takes a responsible and sustainable approach to biomass.

by Eni Staff
12 February 2020
8 min read
by Eni Staff
12 February 2020
8 min read

The rules we follow meet high standards

Eni is aware that a responsible approach to biomass that goes beyond merely complying with regulations is required. Therefore, to ensure it is managed sustainably throughout the supply chain, which includes the conversion of several assets into biorefineries, the company has devised several general principles and selection criteria to implement, along with several specific rules for palm oil. In addition, whenever necessary, Eni will assess the need to draft specific policies for other biomass fuels it uses. Eni is committed to adopting criteria that meet sustainability standards. When selecting suppliers and drafting biomass supply contracts, Eni strives to ensure that the raw materials:

  • Do not originate from plantations obtained by converting areas with high carbon stock levels, such as marshlands and forests;
  • Do not originate from ecosystems with a high level of biodiversity, such as areas covered with primary or secondary forest or ecosystems of recognised value to wildlife;
  • Are certified following sustainability standards recognised at a European or global level, where specific certification schemes apply.

 In addition, Eni promotes the use of raw materials that:

  • Do not lead to a change in land use that causes the degradation of the soil, and, where possible, help to fight soil degradation through good farming practices;
  • Do not compete with food production for water resources;
  • Originate from land that is used in compliance with the internationally recognised rights of local and indigenous populations, based on consultation open to all with prior knowledge of the full facts;
  • Are produced sustainably, with respect for the environment and social conditions, including workers’ rights and health and safety protection.

Regarding the use of biomass at its plants, Eni guarantees:

  • To comply with the principles of traceability and transparency;
  • To always promote optimal use of the raw material by minimising consumption and waste and maximising efficiency;
  • To create products whereby use complies with applicable sustainability standards;
  • To adopt the best technologies available.

What are we involved in

Eni is committed to:

  • Acting transparently and releasing information regarding the biomass types used and their country of origin at least once a year (for 2019 data see Eni for Performance 2019);
  • Selecting suppliers based on high sustainability standards and working together to improve the sustainability of the fuel supplied, wherever possible;
  • Working in partnership with stakeholders and experts in the field to improve its knowledge and ensure that the highest standards are implemented within the company;
  • Developing the best technological solutions, including through its own research departments;
  • Constantly improving its procurement process, with the aim of reducing reliance on biomass that may compete with the food production supply chain, and continuing to research alternative feedstock.
  • Promoting, wherever appropriate, research into the life-cycle of its products in order to monitor and reduce their associated environmental impact.

Eni’s policy on palm oil

To tackle the challenges brought about by the structural crisis in the refining and chemical industries and to comply with European regulations on the proportion of energy obtained from renewable sources, including minimum renewable energy content in the transport sector (10% of energy from renewable sources by 2020 in all forms of transport and a 6% reduction in total emissions compared to the 2010 baseline) Eni became the first company in the world to convert a traditional refinery into a biorefinery, based on a patent filed by Eni. This strategy, based on Ecofining technology, immediately produced the quota of biofuel needed to comply with the legislation.  Eni’s proprietary technology produces a biodiesel with a higher calorific value than the biodiesel commonly available on the market. Eni currently uses palm oil to produce biodiesel, because it is widely available and because supplies of non-first-generation biofuels are scarce. The flexibility of the Ecofining technology allows it to handle various types of biomass, and Eni is planning to increase the use of alternatives to palm oil (for example used vegetable oils, animal fats and waste products from vegetable oil production) and to intensify research into advanced fuels (such as oil produced from algae or waste, lignocellulosic material etc.), partly in preparation for the conversion of a second industrial site into green technology. Eni fulfils the requirements of the voluntary schemes set up to ensure compliance with the sustainability criteria set out in the European Union Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality directives.

Supplying palm oil

Eni is committed to acquiring sustainably-produced palm oil, created with respect for social conditions and safety. Eni gives priority to suppliers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the New York Declaration on Forests or the Tropical Forest Trust (TFT). Through its financial arm, Eni Trading & Shipping, the company deals in the first instance with direct producers of palm oil, and in all cases ensures the supply chain is subject to the utmost levels of supervision. Suppliers must guarantee the traceability of the feedstock supplied, applying the mass balance supply chain model and providing transparent, accurate and detailed reporting. All suppliers must comply with national and local laws and regulations and with the requirements set out by Eni. In terms of human rights, in addition to the minimum international standards set out in the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and considering the specific risks in the sector, Eni also adopts the additional criteria demanded for ISCC-EU certification1. Eni is committed to working with its suppliers to improve the sustainability of the palm oil supply chain, through constant dialogue that aims to continually improve the sustainability criteria.


Procurement of palm oil is conducted directly by our subsidiary Eni Trading & Shipping, the arm of Eni responsible for procurement operations. 100% of the palm oil Eni buys on the market is certified by International Sustainability & Carbon Certification – ISCC-EU (a scheme recognised by the European Union) or other schemes recognised by the European Union, ensuring that:

  • The palm plantations are not located on land with a high level of biodiversity and/or high carbon stock;
  • The reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions complies with the regulations regarding emissions caused by fossil fuels, where applicable.


Eni is committed to:

  • Improving the traceability of the palm oil purchased and the sustainability of the supply chain through direct contact and ongoing dialogue with suppliers;
  • Declaring the quantity of palm oil purchased and the country of origin of the batches acquired on an annual basis.

Palm oil processing

Eni is committed to obtaining certification for its palm oil processing facilities (for example through the voluntary 2BSvs scheme or ISO 14001) and to maintaining these certifications over time. Wherever possible, Eni also carries out research into the lifecycle of its products in order to monitor and reduce their associated environmental impact.

International initiatives and partnership

Furthermore, Eni is committed to investigating playing a role in international multi-stakeholder initiatives and to continuing its dialogue with stakeholders and experts in the field to improve its knowledge and ensure that the highest standards are implemented within the company.

Communication and reporting

Eni is committed to communicating trends in the procurement of palm oil and progress made in improving the sustainability of the palm oil supply chain once a year and in a transparent manner.


(1) ISCC-EU1 These criteria, in line with international standards, relate both to the protection of workers, and particularly the working conditions and protection for vulnerable groups (e.g. women and migrants), and to the rights of local communities, especially in terms of the consultation procedure and the processes followed for purchasing the land on which the biomass is produced.