Project November 10, 2022

Fueling Deforestation Through Fake Green Fuel



Over 50% of palm oil, mostly imported in Europe from Indonesia, ends up in biodiesel. Palm oil is a major driver of both deforestation and carbon emissions which are released in the atmosphere as carbon sinks are cleared to make room for new plantations. This project will prove that European drivers unintentionally subsidize tropical forests destruction and global warming through purchasing fake clean diesel for their vehicles.

The team will investigate the case of a large European energy company supplying gas stations in different countries. Journalists will track the company’s dirty supply chain from my diesel car all the way back to the Indonesian plantations where palm oil fruits are harvested in areas where land has been cleared in breach of law.

The European Renewable Energy Directive, requiring fuel suppliers’ pumps to incorporate a minimum share of non-fossil energy, has boosted the import of palm oil which is the cheapest raw material to produce biodiesel. However, recent independent studies concluded that the carbon released by deforestation due to palm oil is higher than that saved through replacing fossil fuels in car engines. Energy companies have made huge profits through selling across Europe their questionable green diesel.