Dutch Parliament: critical debate Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)

On Thursday 10 September, the Dutch Parliament discussed the outcomes of the last RTRS-conference in Brazil last May, where a set of 'Principles and Criteria' for 'responsible soy' was agreed upon. The Dutch Parliament had called on both the Ministers of Agriculture and Development Cooperation to be present at the debate. Both Ministries support the RTRS financially and politically.

New article: Brazil's Agrofuel Push

Monday 17 November, Corporate Europe Observatory Press Release

Groups Highlight Brazilian Government’s Damaging Agrofuel Push

Brazilian agrofuels, including ethanol from sugarcane, should not be accepted by the EU as sustainable, campaigners said today (Monday) in a joint open letter [1], published as EU representatives attend an International Biofuel Conference, hosted by Brazil, where leaders are expected to push for greater reliance on agrofuels [2].

The call comes as the EU prepares to decide on the Renewable Energy Directive, including mandatory targets to promote the use of agrofuel (fuel from crops) in transport [3].

New research, published by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) alongside the letter to European decision makers shows how the Brazilian government is engaged in a global campaign to expand its agrofuel industry, including the promotion of projects in developing countries, some of which are funded from European aid budgets [4].

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 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.

International Biofuel Conference (17-21 November) in Sao Paulo ethanol propaganda show - African countries on the sell out

From 17 to 21 of November, the Brazilian government organised the International Biofuels Conference , aimed to promote global trade in agrofuels. 'Sustainability' criteria and 'marginal lands' were major themes at the conference, as well as trade barriers and innovation. At the same time, a coalition of Brazilian and international organisations and movements held a counter seminar "Agrofuels as an obstacle to food and energy sovereignty". The final declaration of this forum was read out during a press event inside the official conference. <

La Soja Mata was at the counter seminar, and went inside the official conference. Below you will find some impressions.

UNICA was one of the winners of the 2008 EU Worst Lobbying Awards. See the video about the Sao Paolo events made for this occasion:

Corporate Europe Observatory simultaneously published an article, highlighting the role of the Brazilian government and agribusiness in boosting agrofuel production and trade, both in Latin America and in African countries. See press release elsewhere on this site. Link to the article:

Paving the way for agrofuels. EU policy, sustainability criteria and climate calculations

[img_assist|nid=142|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=106|height=150]A critical discussion on the sustainability of agrofuels, and on current attempts by the EU and EU member states to develop criteria to guarantee that sustainability.
Click to download the report "Paving the way for agrofuels
Click para bajar en Castellano

The report concludes that current initiatives are bound to fail, and merely serve to legitimise the 10% agrofuel target that is being proposed. The EU itself only talks about criteria on two issues. The discussion in member states like the UK and the Netherlands is very focused on existing voluntary certification initiatives such as the Forest Stewardship Council, the Round Table on Sustainable Palmoil and the Round Table on Responsible Soy, but ignores the criticism on these schemes regarding effectiveness and whose interests are being represented.

Agrofuels: Towards a reality check in nine key areas

[img_assist|nid=130|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=106|height=150]This paper sets out critical concerns regarding the current push to develop agrofuels in transport, especially in industrialised countries. We call ‘biofuels’ here ‘agrofuels’, in line with the opinion of the Via Campesina, for example, who declared that: “We can’t call this a ‘bio-fuels program’. We certainly can’t call it a ‘bio-diesel program’. Such phrases use the prefix ‘bio’ to subtly imply that the energy in question comes from ‘life’ in general.This is illegitimate and manipulative. We need to find a term in every language that describes the situation more accurately, a term like agro-fuel. This term refers specifically to energy created from plant products grown through agriculture.”

Human blockade at World Biofuels Markets in Brussels

[img_assist|nid=117|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=112|height=150]In the morning of March 13 2008 the activist group 'Agrofools' blocked the entrance of the World Biofuels Market in Brussels. Visitors to the World Biofuels Market were met by activists, a group of international drummers, banners, and flyers entitled "Agrofuels – No Solution for Oil Addiction".
The human blockade was a protest against the blatant promotion of agrofuels by the World Biofuels Market and the corporations taking part in it. "Massive expansion, reaching into many millions of hectares, of monoculture plantations will cause further damage to biodiversity, human rights and livelihoods", says activist Remy de Boer.
Watch the videoclip of the action

Download from

Call for sign ups to US agrofuel moratorium

A group of U.S. NGOs is calling on other organisations worldwide to sign a “Call for an immediate moratorium on U.S. incentives for agrofuels, U.S. agroenergy monocultures and global trade in agrofuels”. The call was launched in December by Rainforest Action Network, Global Justice Ecology Project, Food First, Grassroots International, Family Farm Defenders and the Student Trade Justice Campaign. It coincides with the U.S.government approving the Renewable Fuel Standard – a target for a massive 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022, which will result in rainforest destruction,accelerated global warming, biodiversity losses, more soil erosion and more water pollution, as well as in the eviction of large numbers of small farmers,pastoralists and forest communities.

To sign the moratorium call, please go to

An agricultural crime against humanity

Published in the Guardian, November 6th, 2007 by George Monbiot,
It doesn’t get madder than this. Swaziland is in the grip of a famine and receiving emergency food aid. Forty per cent of its people are facing acute food shortages. So what has the government decided to export? Biofuel made from one of its staple crops, cassava.IRIN Africa, 25th October 2007. Swaziland: Food or biofuel seems to be the question. The government has allocated several thousand hectares of farmland to ethanol production in the county of Lavumisa, which happens to be the place worst hit by drought.Energy Current, 29th October 2007. Swaziland joins biofuel drive despite mounting food crisis. It would surely be quicker and more humane to refine the Swazi people and put them in our tanks. Doubtless a team of development consultants is already doing the sums.

Vote for Repsol as 'Worst EU lobby' 2007

Repsol is nominated for the 2007 EU worst lobby awards for distorting the EU’s research agenda on agrofuels; ensuring that outcomes fit narrow commercial interests, at the expense of genuine measures to combat climate change.

Repsol is a leading oil corporation. Repsol’s Luis Cabra, Director of Technology, chairs the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBFTP), an industry-dominated advisory group promoted by DG Research and partly funded by the Commission. The Commission has entrusted the group to elaborate the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) on agrofuels which will identify key research areas (and allocating funds) for the next 20 years. In September 2007 a draft SRA, completed by Repsol and other EBFTP members was made public. This draft proposed an astonishing and ambitious target for 25% of road transport fuel to be agrofuels by 2030.

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