Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Greenpeace: Neste palm-based biodiesel not so green

A full-page advertisement in Tuesday's Helsingin Sanomat by Neste Oil (which perhaps wants to be to biodiesel what Nokia is to mobile phones) promoting its biodiesel as an environmentally friendly option was immediately disputed by Greenpeace. According to the page advertisement, biodiesel reduces emissions of greenhouse gases.
Read more

Stockholm, Sweden - Sweden's Greenpeace organisation held a demonstration on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Swedish oil company OKQ8 to protest plans to buy bio diesel fuel produced by Neste Oil using tropical palm oil as the raw material.
Photo: Greenpeace / Ludvig Tillman


Harri Lammi of the Finnish section of Greenpeace:
"The production of palm oil is one of the greatest causes of deforestation in Southeast Asia. Neste Oil says that it imports the oil from Malaysia, but the company that they use plans to expand to Indonesia, where 80 per cent of deforestation stems from the production of palm oil"
Greenpeace calls the oil a "rain forest fuel", and says that the production of its raw material, palm oil, increases greenhouse gas emissions, rather than reducing them.

Jarmo Honkamaa of Neste Oil says that the palm oil comes from Malaysia from monitored plantations. The subcontractor is a company called IOI.
"Our palm oil can be traced back to the plantations. The plantations have been examined by a foreign company, and they have made a report. We didn't get top marks on every aspect, but there are no great causes for concern"
Honkamaa says that Neste Oil has been actively developing a certification system for sustainable palm oil production, called the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil, or RSPO.
"We will use certified palm oil as soon as possible, and IOI is also committed to this"

The certification system is not yet in use, and Lammi of Greenpeace says that Neste cannot claim in its advertising that a single drop of the palm oil that it uses is extracted without damage to the rain forests.
"It seems unlikely that certification would have any significance, because such a small proportion of producers will be a part of it"
"If demand increases, there will be more producers, and when the oil brings a good price, it will be produced in an unethical manner"