The use of palm oil destroys rainforests and accelerates climate change. It does not bring any profit to the local, often indigenous, people in the production area. Neste Oil's investments in palm oil diesel production increase the demand of palm oil. The increased demand can not be met without logging even more rainforest into oil palm plantations.
Neste Oil is going to multiply its use of palm oil. As the refineries in Porvoo, Singapore and Rotterdam start production, in 2011 Neste Oil will be world's biggest user of palm oil. To produce almost 2 million metric tons of palm oil requires 500 000 hectares of oil palm plantations, twice the size of Luxembourg.
"During the 1990s 12 per cent of the forest lands in Malaysia and Indonesia were devastated. During the first years of 21st century the destroying has only been accelerating. I have seen how the rainforests and living conditions of the indigenous people have been destroyed on Sumatra and on Borneo", says Longgena Ginting from Indonesia, International Activity Coordinator of Friends of Earth.
"I am very disappointed to hear about Neste Oil's investment plans for palm oil diesel production. In 2006 when I met representatives of Neste Oil I was told that the use of palm oil as raw material for NExBTL diesel would be only a temporary solution."
IOI, the Malaysian palm oil supplier to Neste Oil, has expanded it operations to Indonesia in 2007 in order to meet the increasing demand. IOI bought over 150 000 hectares of new concessions on Borneo for establishing new oil palm plantations. On these concessions IOI logs illegally rainforest, peat land and habitat of the endangered orangutans and burns illegally forest and peat land. IOI also buys palm oil from other producers as the company's own production is insufficient to meet the demand of its customers.
According to Neste Oil palm oil can be produced sustainably if the producers follow the RSPO certification scheme. However RSPO certification does not prohibit even the most harmful practices for climate, like logging of rainforest, clearing peat land and using fire in clearing. RSPO allows clearing habitats of endangered species. It also allows using of internationally prohibited pesticides that are harmful both to the employees of plantations and the environment.
"Neste Oil has announced that it aims to stop using palm oil by 2020. We don't have that much time. According to UN Environment Programme UNEP almost all of the Indonesian lowland rainforest will be logged by then. Neste Oil has to stop using palm oil now", says Maija Suomela, Greenpeace palm oil campaigner.
Mr Longgena Ginting's speech at the Neste Oil Annual General Meeting 3rd April 2009
Maija Suomela, palm oil campaigner, phone +358 40 180 9303
Juha Aromaa, communications manager, phone +358 50 369 6202
Satu Pitkänen, press officer, phone +358 50 546 1789 (images and videos of oil palm plantations)