Greenpeace protests Neste Oil’s boost to biodiesel output

13 May 2009 05:23  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Environmental group Greenpeace said late on Tuesday it was protesting Neste Oil’s plan to ramp up production of renewable diesel that would use up 1.5m tonnes of palm oil a year.

Boosting output at its plants in Finland, Singapore and the Netherlands could make the Finnish company the single largest consumer of palm oil in the world.

“Neste Oil's expansion plans are a major climate threat increasing the pressure for deforestation in Southeast Asia and endangering species like the orang-utan," said Greenpeace member Maija Suomela.

The organisation held a demonstration at Neste Oil’s 170,000 tonne/year renewable diesel production facility in Porvoo, Finland on Tuesday to protest the use of palm oil for biodiesel production.

"Palm oil biodiesel is not a solution to climate change. It actually makes the problem worse if rainforests are cut down to grow the palm oil to fuel our cars,” said Suomela.

Indonesia is fast becoming the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world with the clearing and burning of rainforests and peatland in the country to build palm plantations, Greenpeace said.

Neste Oil deputy CEO Jarmo Honkamaa, meanwhile, refuted Greenpeace’s claims, saying palm oil could be produced sustanably through improving the yield in existing plantations and expanding palm plantations in non-rainforest areas.

“Greenpeace disagrees with that view. But [we] have had and will continue to have many discussions with them about this issue,” Honkamaa said.

Neste Oils is currently in the process of building the world’s largest renewable diesel production facility located at Jurong Island, Singapore, with a nameplate capacity of 800,000 tonnes/year.

With additional reporting by Bohan Loh
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By: Jeremiah Chan
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