Leading investors have joined the growing chorus of concern about governments and companies rushing into producing biofuels as a solution for global warming, saying that many involved in the sector could be jeopardising future profits if they do not consider the long-term impact of what they are doing carefully.
It is essential to build sustainability criteria into the supply chain of any green fuel project in order to ensure that there is no adverse effect on the surrounding environment and social structures. The report produced by the investors expresses concern that many companies may not be fully aware of the potential pitfalls in the biofuel sector.
Production of corn and soya beans has increased dramatically in the last years as an eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels but environmental and human rights campaigners are worried that this will lead to destruction of rain forests. Food prices could also go up as there is increased competition for crops as both foodstuffs and sources of fuel. Last week, the UN warned that biofuels could have dangerous side effects and said that steps need to be taken to make sure that land converted to grow biofuels does not damage the environment or cause civil unrest. There is already great concern about palm oil, which is used in many foods in addition to being an important biofuel, as rain forests are being cleared in some countries and people driven from their homes to create palm oil plantations.
An analyst and author of the investors' report says that biofuels are not a cure for climate change but they can play their part as long as governments and companies manage the social and environmental impacts thoroughly. There should also be greater measure taken to increase efficiency and to reduce demand.