Coldplay; ‘useful idiots for greenwashing’
Neste is shamelessly using the band, according to the Transport and Environment campaign group.
After establishing a cooperation with the Finnish oil giant Neste to cut their touring emissions last week, Coldplay was dubbed "useful idiots for greenwashing."
According to a report by Friends of the Earth, while Neste claims to be the world's largest producer of sustainable biofuels, its palm oil suppliers cut at least 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of forest in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia between 2019 and 2020.
Carlos Calvo Ambel, a senior director of the Transport and Environment campaign group (T&E) said: “Neste is cynically using Coldplay to greenwash its reputation. This is a company that is linked to the kind of deforestation that would appall Chris Martin and his fans. It’s not too late, they should drop their partnership with Neste now and focus on truly clean solutions instead.”
After admitting in a BBC interview last year that a "backlash" against their emissions record was fair, the award-winning rock band announced efforts to reduce their traveling footprint.
On Coldplay's current "music of the spheres" world tour, which includes a kinetic-powered dancefloor and other green features, a tree will be planted for every ticket sold.
What did Coldplay have to say?
A statement from the band said: “When we announced this tour, we said that we would try our best to make it as sustainable and low carbon-impact as possible, but that it would be a work in progress. That remains true. We don’t claim to have got it all right yet.”
“Before we appointed Neste as supplier of these biofuel products, we received their guarantee that they do not use any virgin materials in their production – most especially not palm oil. It’s still our understanding that they use renewable waste products only, like cooking oil and byproducts from wood pulp manufacture.”
What did Neste have to say?
Hanna Leijala, a spokeswoman for Neste, insisted that the firm “do not accept any sustainability violations in our own operations.”
“For our collaboration with Coldplay, conventional palm oil was not used as a raw material,” 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.”
Crude palm oil currently accounts for 7% of the company's fuel inputs. Used cooking oil, animal fats, and other wastes and residues are combined into its jet fuel.
Neste, however, refuses to specify how much palm fatty acid distillates (PFADs) make up the jet fuel blend, citing "contractual and competitive reasons." The UK, Germany, and other EU countries consider PFADs to be a result of palm oil refining, whereas Finland does not.