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Palm oil is increasingly being used and speculated on for fabrication of biodiesel. Globally, the agrofuel industry is a corporate alliance of: Corporate interests groups are today driving agrofuel policies all over the world. However, the agrofuel industry itself is the result of an artificial market, created by governments through biofuel targets and obligations. Without public incentives and subsidies, most of the agrofuel industry would collapse because it is not commercially viable.
The agrobusiness multinationals involved in the agrofuel industry are :
Apart from biotech research linked to agrofuels being done or funded by several of the agrofuel and oil companies listed above, there are also a number of smaller biotech research and development companies working on agrofuels: -‐ Green Biologics Limited (GBL) (biobutanol research); -‐ TMO Renewables Ltd (cellulosic ethanol research involving genetically modified micro-‐organisms).
About NESTE OIL: Neste Oil has three business areas: oil products, oil retail and renewable fuels. It produces, refines and markets oil products and shipping and engineering services, as well as licensing production technologies. Neste aims to be the “world's leading producer of second generation biodiesel fuel.” From last summer Neste Oil has used palm oil as the main raw material of its new biodiesel fuel. Neste's new facility in Porvoo on Finland's south coast produces 170,000 tons of biodiesel, out of 200,000 tonnes of raw material, plant and animal fats. The company says that palm oil accounts for 80% per cent of the raw material. “As a part of the global combat against climate change, the European Union has set a target for biofuels to represent 10 percent of road transport fuel consumption by 2020, a target supported by Neste Oil and respected mainstream environmental bodies including the WWF” (http://www.nesteoil.com/default.asp?path=1;41;540;1259;1260;7439;9204) But 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. 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, using up 1.5m tons of palm oil a year. 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. Indonesia is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world with the clearing and burning of rainforests and peat land in the country to build palm plantations, and Neste oil is becoming one of the biggest responsible of this matter.
Scientific institutions promoting, researching and developing agrofuels: Scientists and scientific institutes have been playing a major role in the development and promotion of agrofuels, and second generation agrofuel research is one of the main areas for biotech research at present. Many of the companies listed above either lobby directly for government support for agrofuels, or are members of industry association that do so on their behalf. The National Farmers Union and the
National Farmers Union of Scotland have been amongst the most outspoken lobby groups for agrofuel expansion. Both are members of the European association of farmers’ groups COPA-‐ COGECA which has strongly lobbied for EU agrofuel support. A number of companies involved in the agrofuel industry are also members of European trade association and lobby groups which lobby for strong EU support for agrofuels. Those include the EuropaBio, a European biotech lobby group, the European Biodiesel Board, the European Bioethanol Fuel Assocation e-‐Bio, the European Union of Ethanol Producers (UEPA), Coceral, the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), of which the UK’s Renewable Energy Association is a member, Fediol…
Apart from the agrobusiness and oil companies listed above, the following companies are operating or investing in, building or planning large biofuel refineries: -‐ ABENGOA are understood to be amongst the top ten agrofuel producers worldwide. They are a major investor in second generation agrofuel research and have been at the forefront of lobbying for agrofuel expansion in Europe. -‐ ENSUS GROUP is owned by private equity firms Carlysle Group and Riverstone Holdings. -‐ TESCO is currently the only supermarket which directly invests in agrofuel refining, through their 25% shareholding in Greenergy Fuels Ltd. -‐ GOES ON GREEN a company which is receiving most of the funding from Al Tayyar (a 'clean tech power and investment company' based in Abu Dhabi)
DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen, are investing in agrofuel production and/or research all over the world. Car manufacturers which have been actively promoting agrofuel expansion, through lobbying and through promoting cars running on high biofuel blends, include Ford, Peugeot-‐Citroen, Porsche, Renault, Saab, Vauxhall and Volvo. In the EU, lobbying by 13 car manufacturers including BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen led to the European Commission watering down plans for higher fuel efficiency standards and proposing that part of the standard could be met through biofuel use. Virgin Atlantics, Boeing and Airbus are investing in research and development of agrofuels for aviation.
Banks with major agrofuel investment include the Barclays Bank and stockbrokers HSBC, Numis Corporation and the Standard Chartered Bank. Other banks that provide significant agrofuel investment include the ABN AMRO Bank (Netherlands), AXA (France), Commerzbank (Germany), Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Deutsche Bank, (Germany), HSH Nordbank AG (Germany), Natixis (France), Rabobank (Netherlands), Société Générale (France), UBS (Switzerland). Hedge funds, private equity groups and venture capitalists have provided significant investment into the agrofuel industry worldwide.
One of the investment banking firms that assist with accessing capital for agrofuel investments are Matrix Biofuels LLP, a subsidiary of the Matrix Group which manages private equity and hedge funds. Other companies give investment advice to agrofuel firms, such as Alternative Energy Finance and Deloitte. Unfortunately at present very little information about the investors behind the agrofuel industry is available.