Press Release

NGOs to demonstrate in Brussels to demand European lawmakers choose food over fuel

September 5, 2022

Leading NGOs including Oxfam, Deutsche Umwelthilfe and T&E highlight the absurdity of burning food for fuels ahead of upcoming EU Parliament vote on the EU’s green fuels law

BRUSSELS – Leading NGOs including Oxfam, Deutsche Umwelthilfe and Transport & Environment will protest tomorrow morning outside the European Parliament under the hashtag #FoodNotFuel. The protestcalls on European lawmakers to stop incentivising the burning of crops for fuel – a practice that is contributing to the global food crisis.

Starting at 08:00 in front of the European Parliament on Place Luxembourg, the joint action will visualise the absurdity of burning food crops for fuel. The action is backed by a number of NGOs from across Europe.

Growing crops for biofuels uses vast areas of land around the globe. This drives deforestation, pushes local communities off their land, fuels the climate crisis and contributes to global hunger. 

Food prices, already worryingly high before, skyrocketed due to the Ukraine war. Record droughts across Europe and other parts of the world will only add to the crisis. This is pushing millions more people to the brink of starvation and many more into severe food poverty.

Despite this, Europe burns the equivalent of 15 million loaves of bread and 19 million bottles of sunflower and rapeseed oil every single day to fuel their cars and trucks. The NGOs call on Europe’s lawmakers to end the use of crop biofuels when they vote on the new Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in the European Parliament on 13 September. 



Marc-Olivier Herman, Economic Justice Expert at Oxfam: ‘‘The EU talks big on food security and ending global hunger. Yet it continues to promote burning food to fuel cars. This not only wreaks havoc on global food markets by pushing up food prices but also does nothing to green Europe’s transport. We have seen hunger skyrocket this year with millions of people being pushed to the brink of starvation. MEPs have an opportunity to end this madness by voting to scrap support for these types of fuels made from crops.” 

Dr. Johanna Büchler, Senior Expert for Transport and Climate at Deutsche Umwelthilfe: “Burning food in cars is an all round terrible idea: it means millions of hectares of additional intensive agriculture and it fuels the food crisis, the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis all at the same time. EU lawmakers urgently need to stop rewarding this fake “green” technology through the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. We need our land to grow food for people and restore natural ecosystems.”

Maik Marahrens, Senior Campaign Manager Biofuels & Energie at T&E: “We cannot be burning food for fuel, even more so in times of hunger. If Europe alone were to release the food grains it burns for biofuels to the global market, we could feed millions of people. Europe’s lawmakers have a chance to stop this when the European Parliament convenes in September. The world is watching.”


Notes to editors

[1] The demonstration will take place on 6 September at 08:00, Place du Luxembourg, Brussels. To request an interview, please contact:,,

[2] Members of the European Parliament will vote on the Renewable Energy Directive on 13 September. This vote will formalise their position ahead of trilogue discussions on the new law with the Council and European Commission. The organisations are calling on MEPs to vote for the proposal that ensures the most far reaching and fastest removal of food from the EU’s biofuel mix, and includes an immediate phase-out of palm and soy diesel.

[3] Biofuels drive up food prices. Numerous studies by IFPRI, T&E and Oxfam highlighted how biofuels increase the cost of food in the context of the 2008 food crisis. 

Read Transport & Environment Report from March 2022 Food not Fuelwhich states that Europe burns the equivalent of 15 million loaves of bread every day to power our cars. 

Oxfam will release a briefing paper on 8 September on the broken food system, Fixing our Food: debunking 10 myths about the global food system and what drives hunger. The report includes a section on the role of biofuels in causing hunger. Please reach out to Oxfam’s contact for an embargoed copy.

[4] Crop based biofuels cause up to 3 times more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels like diesel, or occupy land that could generate bigger climate mitigation benefits when dedicated to carbon sequestration.

[5] NGOs supporting this press release are Rainforest Foundation Norway,  Welthaus Graz (Austria), ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável (Portugal), Žiedinė ekonomika (Lithuania), Focus (Slovenia), BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, Canopea (Belgium), NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland) e.V., Rådet for Grøn Omstilling (RGO, Denmark), Robin Wood (Germany), Legambiente (Italy)

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