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Guidelines for compliance with competition law requirements

Guidelines for compliance with competition law requirements

Bioenergy Europe is an international trade association based in Brussels. The members of Bioenergy Europe are actors representing all steps of the bioenergy value chain: national associations, biomass producers, biomass traders, biomass end-users, technology providers, consultancies and service providers, researchers and academic partners.

Bioenergy Europe pursues legitime objectives, including representing the common interests of its members before EU institutions and administrative bodies, as well as the wider public. Bioenergy Europe also aims to inform its members, EU institutions and the general public on market developments and statistics related to the bioenergy sector. Such aspects of Bioenergy Europe’s operations are consistent with competition laws and are a fundamental part of the mission of trade associations.

In the context of its activities, Bioenergy Europe acts in complete accordance with applicable competition rules, including (but not limited to) Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This is particularly important, since Bioenergy Europe includes as its members several companies who may be competing with each other. Towards this goal, Bioenergy Europe has adopted the following Guidelines on Compliance with Competition Law Requirements. The rules apply for all activities organized by Bioenergy Europe, such as Working Group meetings, General Assembly and Board meetings, conferences, webinars and any other kind of social event.

  • Members should not share information that is commercially sensitive regarding their own or their competitors’ business activities. Such include includes, but is not limited to, prices, market shares, raw material and production costs, sales, deliveries and others.
  • Members should not discuss or agree to prices, price changes and trends and price policies.
  • Members should also not discuss or agree to limits or allocation of sale territories, customers and sourcing of raw material and parts.
  • Members should not discuss or agree to limit or control production levels, inventories, materials, investments and other similar items.
  • Exchange of information and discussion on statistics and market trends is permitted, provided that safeguards are in place. Current data may only be disclosed in aggregate figures that relate to at least three operators. Disclosure of information of individual operators that is usually considered as confidential (i.e. capacity utilization, prices, production levels, sales, market shares, etc.) is not permitted, unless at least 12 months have passed since the reporting time.
  • Bioenergy Europe is not responsible for competition law infringements of its members and Bioenergy Europe is committed to never support, assist or get involved in any such conduct by members.
  • Meetings of Bioenergy Europe require the presence of an association representative. Meetings should have a clearly defined agenda, communicated to members well in advance and their minutes should be an accurate reflection of what was discussed. Bioenergy Europe will include an antitrust compliance reminder at the beginning of every meeting and in the minutes of every meeting.
  • All Bioenergy Europe representatives, chairpersons, members and any external observers present in a meeting are responsible for complying with the competition law requirements. Reaction to potentially improper discussions should be immediate. In such cases, the Bioenergy Europe representative as well as the chairperson should provide guidance (i.e. indicating that the discussion is inappropriate during Bioenergy Europe meetings) and terminate discussions. If this is not feasible, then the representative of Bioenergy Europe should leave the meeting and the chairperson should end it. Such instances will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

It should be highlighted that the adoption of these Guidelines is not meant to discourage membership in Bioenergy Europe and participation in its activities. On the contrary, these Guidelines aim to ensure that the activities of Bioenergy Europe take place in a regulated environment and that its members are comfortable in attending meetings that are lawfully organized. If a member, or a potential member of Bioenergy Europe, has any questions regarding the current Guidelines or recommendations for their improvement, they are warmly encouraged to reach out to the Secretariat of Bioenergy Europe.