Coldplay branded ‘useful greenwash idiots’ after oil company deal | Environment
Coldplay has been called ‘useful greenwashing idiots’ after announces a partnership with Finnish oil company Neste to halve their touring shows last week.
neste pretend to be the world’s largest producer of sustainable biofuels, but the company’s palm oil suppliers cleared at least 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of forest in countries including Indonesia and Malaysia between 2019 and 2020, according to a study by Friends of the Earth.
Carlos Calvo Ambel, senior director of the Transport and Environment (T&E) campaign group, said: “Neste is cynically using Coldplay to green its reputation. It’s a company that’s tied to the kind of deforestation that would scare Chris Martin and his fans. It’s not too late, they should abandon their partnership with Neste now and focus on truly clean solutions instead. »
“Coldplay’s commitment to reducing emissions is undoubtedly well-intentioned. But teaming up with a company linked to deforestation makes them useful greenwashing idiots.
The award-winning rock band have announced plans to scale back their touring footprint after Martin accepted that a “backlash” against their emissions record was warranted in a BBC interview last year.
A tree will be planted for every ticket sold as part of Coldplay’s “music of the spheres” world tour, which includes a kinetic dance floor and other green features.
A statement from the band said: “When we announced this tour, we said we would do our best to make it as sustainable and low carbon impact as possible, but it would be a work in progress. It remains true. We don’t claim to have it all figured out yet.
“Before appointing Neste as the supplier of these biofuel products, we received their guarantee that they use no virgin materials in their production – especially no palm oil. We still believe that they only use renewable wastes, such as cooking oil and wood pulp by-products.
Hanna Leijala, spokesperson for Neste, insisted that the company “does not accept any breaches of sustainability in our own operations”.
“For our collaboration with Coldplay, conventional palm oil was not used as a feedstock,” she said, adding, “Neste plans to reduce the share of conventional palm oil to 0% of its global renewable raw material inputs by the end of 2023.”
Currently, crude palm oil represents 7% company fuel inputs. Its jet fuel is a mixture of used cooking oil, animal fats and other wastes and residues.
But Neste declined to say what percentage of the jet fuel blend is palm fatty acid distillates (PFAD), citing “contractual and competitive reasons”. PFADs are considered a by-product of palm oil refining by the UK, Germany and most EU countries, but not by Finland.
T&E argues that it is “questionable” to consider used cooking oil as sustainable when studies suggest that most EU supplies are imports from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Higher EU prices for used cooking oil are incentivizing tampering and EU auditors have critical Europe’s ability to verify the origin of these imports.
The use of animal fats also raises the issue of agricultural methane emissions, as most fats come from industrial agriculture., says T&E.
Coldplay’s World Tour has been criticized separately for collaboration with BMWwhich provides 40 rechargeable electric vehicle batteries to power the shows.
BMW is an influential lobbyist for the German auto industry, according to a report per influence card.
“Coldplay has been taken for a ride,” said Eoin Dubsky, senior campaign manager for sum of us. “BMW is lobbying to prevent the EU to set a deadline of 2035 for vehicles to be zero emissions only and they were able to use Coldplay.
The group’s statement said they had approached other electric car makers, but “it was BMW who offered to help.”
“We have no ties to or influence over their corporate policies,” the statement continued. “We just need their batteries to be able to power our shows with renewable energy.”
“We do our best and always sincerely appreciate suggestions on how to do it better,” the band said.
Dubsky was sympathetic to their predicament. “Not many rock bands hire a sustainability consultant, so give them a thumbs up,” he said. “But I think they should be more careful when doing due diligence,” he added.