Neste Oil - biodiesel driving rainforest destruction

Global demand for palm oil is increasing fast. The cost to the environment and the global climate is devastating – tropical rainforests and peatlands are being torn up to provide land for oil palm plantations. Currently most of the palm is used in food and cosmetics, but the use for biofuel production is rapidly increasing. In 2011 Finnish oil refiner Neste Oil finalized its palm oil diesel refinery investements. In 2012 it will become the world’s largest producer of biodiesel and most likely also the number one palm oil user.

 

Neste Oil has bold plans. In 2012 Neste Oil will need 2.5 million tons of raw materials for its refineries in Singapore, Rotterdam and Finland, most of it being palm oil. This will make Neste Oil one of the world’s largest palm oil processors. To meet its huge production targets Neste Oil needs several hundreds of thousands of hectares additional plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia – developed at the expense of the local rainforests and their inhabitants.

Driven by the rapid development of the market for biodiesel the global demand for palm oil is expected to double between 2000 and 2030 and to triple by 2050. The Indonesian government is planning to increase the country’s current 7 million hectares of palm oil plantations by 4 million hectares by 2015 for biofuel production alone. Palm oil production is growing also in South America and Africa.

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