- This June, the Norwegian government voted to ban palm oil-based biofuels in public procurement of fuels and public transport. The Norwegian Parliament – the Storting – voted that the regulation shall enter into force as soon as possible. Furthermore, the Norwegian Parliament called for the retail biofuels industry to not use biofuels that exceed the EU’s minimum greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets.
The Norwegian government’s policy changes are important to Neste Corporation as Neste is the sole supplier to the Norwegian market of palm oil-based biofuels.
In response to the Norwegian government decision, Nils Hermann Ranum, Rainforest Foundation Norway, said:
“It is highly positive that Norway has now followed up on last year’s pledge to ensure deforestation-free supply chains through the government’s public procurement policy with this strong commitment. It is now incumbent on other consumer countries to follow suit. In particular, the EU should take urgent steps to reduce the consumption of commodities, such as palm oil biodiesel, that are linked to rainforest destruction and accompanying greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss and human rights violations. A revision of the EU biofuel policy, to avoid biofuels that drive deforestation and are worse for the climate than fossil fuels, is urgently needed.”
Similarly, in 2016, the Norwegian government voted to ban any palm oil products purchased by its central and sub-central governments. This follows Norway’s support for the New York Declaration on Forests, launched during the 2014 Climate Week in New York City. The Declaration is the first global timeline for cutting and totally ending deforestation, and was supported by developing and developed nations, businesses and NGOs.
Importantly, on April 3, 2017, the European Parliament voted for a resolution to phase out the use of non-sustainable vegetable oils for biofuels by 2020. The resolution called for independent audit and monitoring to guarantee that deforestation and peatland conversion does not occur. The resolution also called for a single, mandatory set of certification mechanisms. It states that it:
“Acknowledges the positive contribution made by existing certification schemes, but observes with regret that RSPO, ISPO, MSPO, and all other recognised major certification schemes do not effectively prohibit their members from converting rainforests or peatlands into palm plantations; considers, therefore, that these major certification schemes fail to effectively limit greenhouse gas emissions during the establishment and operation of the plantations, and have consequently been unable to prevent massive forest and peat fires; calls on the Commission to ensure that independent auditing and monitoring of those certification schemes is carried out, so as to guarantee that the palm oil placed on the EU market fulfils all necessary standards and is sustainable; notes that the issue of sustainability in the palm oil sector cannot be addressed by voluntary measures and policies alone, but that palm oil companies should also be subject to binding rules and a mandatory certification scheme.”
Motorists Drive EU Palm Oil Demand