TORONTO, Canada – As the world assembles at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) called into question the findings, motives and financial backing of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and its new report. The report, which examines biofuels subsidies was financed by the controversial Peter Brabeck – Letmathe, Chairman of Nestlé S.A. and board member of Exxon Mobil – the world’s largest oil company.
“This and similar reports only serve to hinder the development of a sustainable world biofuels industry, said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance.
“Reports such as this are only meant to scare nations away from biofuels and avoid solving the real problems of overdependence on crude oil and continued poverty in rural parts of the world. In reality, biofuel production has the potential to help many nations revitalize stagnant or struggling agricultural sectors while reducing their reliance on the volatile world oil market,” stated Mr. Baker.
Baker added, “Mr. Brabeck’s clear conflict of interest as board member of Exxon Mobil cast further doubt on the dubious findings of this report and the motives of the IISD.”
The report in question was funded by Mr. Brabeck in his role as Chairman of Nestlé S.A., one of the world’s largest food producers. While at Nestlé S.A., Brabeck has launched numerous attacks on biofuels that conveniently overlooked the fact that it is the price of crude oil that drives up the price of food.
“From its harvest, to its processing, to its transportation to the grocery store, the price of crude oil impacts every aspect of food production,” said Mr. Baker. “FAO and IMF data show that the price food follows the price of oil, so if oil prices spike, so does the price of food,” stated Mr. Baker.
The IISD report criticised the biofuels sector for benefiting from government incentives while failing to mention that the oil industry received over $300 billion in subsidies in 2010. The International Energy Agency forecasts these subsidies to grow to more than $600 billion by 2020.
“The fact that many countries have adopted policies and programs to develop biofuels industries to reduce their crippling reliance on crude oil seems lost on the IISD,” said Mr. Baker. “Eliminating these initiatives as the report suggests may be valuable to some vested interests but threaten the biofuel industry’s ability to further reduce GHG emissions, increase much needed investments in agriculture and displace fossil fuel consumption,” concluded Mr. Baker.
The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting biofuel friendly policies internationally. Alliance members represent over 65% of the global biofuels production from 44 countries. Through the development of new technologies and best practices, the Alliance members are committed to producing renewable fuels with the smallest possible footprint.