Indonesia continues to burn the image of sustainably certified biodiesel

Berlin, 3rd November 2015 – In light of Indonesia's worst forest fires in years, the Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants e. V. (UFOP) criticises the continued inaction of the Indonesian government and the European Union. It is reported that the reaction of the authorities to the more than 2,000 fires, intended to create space for palm oil plantations, and the ongoing loss of valuable natural habitats has evidently been just as passive as their response to the health threat posed to the inhabitants of these areas. Indonesia is thereby discrediting the efforts of the European biofuel sector to expand the use of oil plants such as rapeseed as material and energy resources. These efforts aim to increase sustainably certified raw material production as part of the bioeconomy strategy.

UFOP notes that once again the EU biofuel policy is being pointed to as an alleged driver of these annual forest fires. The advocacy group of German oil and protein plant producers counters this by pointing to association initiatives for tightening certification requirements, in particular as regards the verification of the origin of raw materials in the processing chain. According to the Renewable Energy Directive, biomass raw materials may only be counted as fulfilling their legally required obligations if they originate from areas that were being cultivated prior to 2008. UFOP highlights that this requirement must not be softened and that it instead needs to be applied to all other uses of plant oil. This should be the case for material use as well as for use in foods, which has always been the the main method of exploiting palm oil.

With a view to the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), UFOP calls on the German government to take an active stance towards the Indonesian government. UFOP points out that in order to still be able to achieve the mandated 2 degrees target, a deforestation ban has to be a binding outcome of this conference, while the appropriate compensation measures to offset the non-usage of these areas are also required.