Greenpeace wins the dispute over Nestespoil.com spoof site

Press release - August 7, 2012
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has denied the complaint by Neste Oil over Greenpeace spoof site. The WIPO panel declared that Greenpeace may use the domains www.nestespoil.com and www.nestespoilreturns.com to criticize Neste Oil’s use of palm oil as biofuel.

23 March 2012 Screenshot of nestespoil.com

Nestespoil.com was closed down by the service provider Loopia.se

 

The panel confirmed that non commercial criticism is part of the freedom of expression. According to the panel Greenpeace did not use the sites to unnecessarily tarnish Neste Oil. In similar cases even harsh criticism has not been considered as tarnishing. The Panel concluded that Greenpeace had been using the sites to raise legitimate environmental concerns for non-commercial purpose.

06 August 2012 Screenshot of 2011.nesteoil.com

Neste Oil's official Annual report 2011

Use of palm oil as biofuel is unsustainable as it threatens rainforests, climate and the biodiversity of South East Asia such as endangered orangutans.

”WIPO’s decision is significant for the freedom of expression. Neste Oil is one of the biggest single users of palm oil in the world. For that reason the criticism was clearly aimed at Neste Oil’s trade mark. It would have been frightening if juridical decision would have declared legitimate environmental concerns as tarnishing”, says Tapio Laakso, Programme Manager for Greenpeace in Finland.

“Critisism on Neste Oil’s operations is becoming more and more urgent as the company continues to expand its palm oil diesel production. According to its second quarter results released last week the company produced a record amount of 437 000 metric tons of diesel with palm oil as main raw material. Greenpeace’s worst fears of Neste Oil’s massive expansion in the use of palm oil are becoming a reality”, Laakso continues.

09 November 2010 Archive photo

Destroyed rainforest


Greenpeace continues its campaign to get Neste Oil to abandon palm oil and to move to more sustainable raw materials that do not require agricultural land or threaten rainforests.

WIPO's decision

Information:
Programme Manager Tapio Laakso, Tel. +358 40 181 6559

Criticism allowed – campaign against unsustainable raw material goes on

The Finnish oil refining company Neste Oil has become a leading biofuel producer. They have two of the world’s biggest biofuel refineries, one in Singapore and another one in Rotterdam. According to their latest Q2 report the facilities are running hot: Neste Oil produced a record-breaking amount of 437 000 metric tons of palm oil diesel and kerosene in April-June 2012.

The core problem is the raw material, which is almost completely palm oil and its side products (palm oil fatty acid distillate PFAD and stearin). With the production capacity of two million tons the state-owned company increases palm oil demand in such a scale that it inevitably leads to more land clearings for palm oil plantations.

Archive photo

Rainforest destroyed for oil palm plantations

 

Neste Oil wants to be seen as a forerunner claiming that their palm oil diesel and kerosene solve the energy problems of transportation. The duty of Greenpeace is naturally to tell the real impact of Neste Oil’s activities on climate, biodiversity and people.

And that was exactly what Greenpeace did. We did a spoof Annual Report www.nestespoil.com that looked very similar to Neste Oil Annual Report. Only the Neste Spoil Annual Report was an information package about the dangers if biofuels are produced from unsustainable raw materials with major land use impacts.

Neste Oil made a complaint to World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO claiming that Greenpeace had no right to use www.nestespoil.com domain. WIPO didn’t agree. The WIPO Panel decided that Greenpeace may use the domain to criticize Neste Oi’ls use of palm oil for biodiesel and kerosene.

This is indeed a great victory for freedom of expression. The core of the decision is that even harsh criticism is allowed in our societies. According to WIPO Greenpeace did not use the sites to unnecessarily tarnish Neste Oil. WIPO concluded that Greenpeace had been using the sites to raise legitimate environmental concerns for non-commercial purpose.

WIPO’s decision was very welcome. But the essential problem remains. To find customers Neste Oil has been selling almost half a million tons of palm oil diesel and kerosene so cheap that their business is not even profitable. Greenpeace’s worst fears are becoming true. Neste Oil needs large amounts of raw material that can’t be purchased sustainably.

The campaign goes on. Neste Oil needs to find sustainable raw materials – like waste – and soon. The climate and orangutans can’t take any more these amounts of palm oil fuel.