Protest against Neste Oil’s palm oil diesel

The huge refinery in Singapore accelerates rain forest destruction

Press release - March 8, 2011
At the same time as Neste Oil has the official inauguration ceremony of a new massive palm oil diesel refinery in Singapore, Greenpeace activists are demonstrating in Helsinki at Neste Oil petrol station.

Protest against palm oil diesel

Greenpeace activists are on call in the morning in Neste Oil petrol station in Helsinki and on the bridge above Sörnäisten rantatie street 8th of March 2011.

”With Neste Oil’s palm oil adventure Finland has become seriously involved in the destruction of tropical rainforests. Palm oil use in biofuel industry is driving climate change, impacts food security, violates human rights and causes serious rainforest destruction in Southeast Asia”, says Greenpeace forest campaigner Matti Liimatainen.

Neste Oil is becoming one of the biggest users of palm oil with the massive refinery in Singapore and another one in Rotterdam which will start operation later this year. The production capacity of all Neste Oil’s biodiesel refineries will be close to two million tons and according to the company the main raw material for NExBTL diesel will be palm oil. Until now the largest single user in the world has been Unilever with 1,5 million tons. Neste Oil is already this year using 700 000 tonnes of palm oil.

Greenpeace is urging the Indonesian government to implement a moratorium (halt) on forest conversion and to protect all peatland. It is also calling on the EU to go beyond the sustainability criteria it has established for biofuels and adopt new legislation that ensures ILUC associated emissions are included in the carbon lifecycle assessment of biofuels.

According to UNEP most of the new palm oil plantations are established in cleared rain forest. According to recent research assessing the land use impacts of EU biofuels policy, the use of palm oil as fuel will inevitably lead to establishment of new plantations in rainforests and peatlands. [1] GHG emissions increase due to land clearing, which means biofuels worsen climate change. Several researches show that the environmental impacts and GHG emissions of vegetable oil based biofuels are worse than those of the fossil fuels they were originally designed to replace.[2] According to a report released in the beginning of February the peatland forests of Malaysia are being destroyed faster than ever due to the increasing demand for palm oil[3].

”Neste Oil must give up burning edible oils in the tanks and find out more sustainable options. Also EU has to take responsibility. If the use of biofuels is increasing in line with the targets in the RED directive, 69 000 square kilometres new cultivation land would be needed globally[4]”, Liimatainen says.

An orangutan dummy is hanged with a fuel pipe to illustrate the rainforest destruction caused by Neste Oil, and the car drivers are provided with leaflets about Neste Oil’s palm oil diesel. The message of the banners on the bridges is ”palm oil diesel – rainforest destruction”.

For more information, please see http://www.greenpeace.fi/palmoil or contact
Palm oil campaigner Maija Suomela, + 358 40 1809 303
Forest campaigner Matti Liimatainen, +358 400 346 329
Communications manager Juha Aromaa, +358 50 369 6202