More palm oil and rapeseed oil in our tanks than on our plates

Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) which has, since 2009, promoted the use of renewables in transport with the aim of contributing to the decarbonisation of the economy. However, due to poor sustainability criteria, the RED has pushed the use of food- and feed-based biofuels, especially biodiesel based on vegetable oils such as palm and rapeseed. These 'bio'-fuels do not contribute to climate change mitigation as they – directly and indirectly - lead to deforestation and peatland drainage.

Palm oil in diesel

In these 10 years the EU has seen an increase in the use of vegetable oil for energy production - mostly biodiesel. Today, we use more palm and rapeseed oil in our tanks than on our plates. This comes at the time when the EU has adopted new measures (REDII) to slowly move away from food- and feed-based biofuels in the next decade, affecting especially palm oil based biodiesel as it is considered high-deforestation risk. Despite these moves, in 2019 there was an all-time high in vegetable oil biodiesel production and consumption, and on palm oil biodiesel in particular. Other trends are confirmed as well, such as the increase on soy oil biodiesel production and consumption as well as used cooking oil (UCO) biodiesel.

Netherlands - country factsheet biodiesel 2009-2019 data

France - country factsheet biodiesel 2009-2019 data