Coldplay called ‘useful idiots for greenwashing’ after oil company deal | Surroundings – Advice Eating

Coldplay have been branded “useful idiots for greenwashing” after last week announcing a partnership with Finnish oil company Neste to halve their touring emissions.

Neste claims 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 like 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 Campaign Group (T&E), said: “Neste is cynically using Coldplay to greenwash its reputation. This is a company associated with the kind of deforestation that would horrify Chris Martin and his fans. It’s not too late, they should end their partnership with Neste now and focus on really clean solutions instead.”

The award-winning rock outfit announced plans to scale back their touring presence after Martin accepted in a BBC interview last year that a “backlash” to their emissions record was warranted.

A tree will be planted for every ticket sold on Coldplay’s current Music of the Spheres world tour, which includes a dynamic dance floor and other green elements.

A statement from the band reads: “When we announced this tour we said we would do our best to make it as sustainable and low carbon as possible, but that it was a work in progress. That stays true. We still don’t claim to have done everything right.”

“Before we appointed Neste as the supplier of these biofuel products, we received their guarantee that they did not use any new materials in their production – specifically no palm oil. We still assume they only use renewable waste products like cooking oil and by-products from pulp manufacturing.”

Hanna Leijala, a spokeswoman for Neste, insisted the company “does not accept sustainability breaches 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 conventional palm oil to 0% of its global renewable raw material use by the end of 2023. ”

Currently, crude palm oil accounts for 7% of the company’s fuel input. Its jet fuel is blended from used cooking oil, animal fats, and other waste and residues.

However, Neste declined to say what percentage of the kerosene mix consists of palm fatty acid distillates (PFADs), 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 “doubtful” to consider used cooking oil sustainable when studies suggest most EU supplies are imported from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Higher EU prices for used cooking oil encourage counterfeiting, and EU inspectors have criticized Europe’s ability to verify the origin of these imports.

The use of animal fats also raises questions about agricultural methane emissions, as most fats come from industrial agriculture, T&E says.

Coldplay’s world tour has been separately criticized for its collaboration with BMW, which provides 40 rechargeable electric vehicle batteries to power the shows.

According to a report by Influence Map, BMW is an influential lobbyist in the German auto industry.

“Coldplay got screwed,” said Eoin Dubsky, senior campaign manager at Sum Of Us. “BMW is committed to blocking the EU from setting a 2035 deadline for zero-emission vehicles and they were able to leverage Coldplay.”

The band’s statement said they reached out to other electric car makers, but “BMW was the one who offered to help.”

“We have no connection to or influence over their corporate policies,” the press release continued. “We just need their batteries so we can run our shows on renewable energy.”

“We do our best and always welcome suggestions on how we can do better,” the band said.

Dubsky agreed with their predicament. “Not many rock bands hire a sustainability consultant, so credit is theirs,” he said. “But I think they should be more diligent about their due diligence,” he added.

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