Worst EU lobby Awards 2008: vote for agrofuel lobby!

Open for voting until 30 November

Who deserves to be named and shamed for the most deceptive or misleading lobbying campaign in Brussels this year? You decide! Cast your votes until 30 November! The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Brussels on Tuesday 9th December. Please visit http://www.worstlobby.eu/2008/home_en to find out about all the candidates for 2008.

La Soja Mata kindly recommends this candidate:

The Agrofuels Lobby
Nominated for their misleading campaigns to promote agrofuels as green.

Vote for the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), Brazilian sugar barons (UNICA) and energy company Abengoa Bioenergy who have all used misleading information in their European lobby campaigns to try and persuade the European Parliament, Commissioners and member states that agrofuels are sustainable.

A growing body of evidence shows that agrofuels are unsustainable, causing deforestation and affecting food prices. But according to the agrofuel lobbyists from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC - a hybrid of Malaysian government and palm oil producers), UNICA (an initiative of Brazilian sugar barons) and Abengoa Bioenergy (a US subsidiary of Spanish Abengoa) agrofuels are green and they have launched misleading campaigns to persuade the European Parliament and Council that this is the case.

They claimed that the expansion of agrofuels based on palm oil and sugarcane would not affect food security or the environment, nor would it lead to deforestation - using advertisements in key European media to get their message out. All three made exaggerated predications about the percentage of greenhouse gas savings agrofuels can achieve.

One of the advertisements, produced by the MPOC and shown on BBC World, was ruled “misleading” by the British Advertising Standards Authority because it portrayed palm oil plantations as beneficial for the environment. But MPOC continues to make the same claims in their promotional material and lobbying.

Abengoa claimed to be using information from environmental campaigners T&E (Transport & Environment) in one of their advertisements suggesting that “Bioethanol is currently the only real alternative for eliminating our addiction to oil”. But Abengoa were abusing T&E’s name - the quote is not from one of their reports and the group is in fact sceptical of agrofuels.

Abengoa has also made media claims that research shows that the EU can sustainably grow enough agrofuels to meet demand without needing imports. But the research they quote was commissioned by their own industry, while independent research from the European Environment Agency shows different results.

Before the crucial vote in the European Parliament (EP) on biofuel targets, MPOC also sent a delegation to Brussels to spread their misleading claims in face-to-face meetings and roundtable discussions.

If you believe that the 'green gold' shouldn't be painted greener than it is, vote for the agrofuels lobby!