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Coldplay responds to backlash for partnering up with Finnish oil company Neste to reduce emissions


Coldplay has hit back at criticism surrounding their partnership with Finnish oil company Neste, in which they pledged to half their touring emissions.

The British rock band announced a partnership with the Finnish oil company last week in a bid to make their Music Of The Spheres World Tour ‘as sustainable as possible’.

It is part of the band’s ongoing efforts to make the tour more eco-friendly after they paused touring their last album due to environmental concerns.

Green: Coldplay has hit back at criticism surrounding their partnership with Finnish oil company Neste, in which they pledged to half their touring emissions

Green: Coldplay has hit back at criticism surrounding their partnership with Finnish oil company Neste, in which they pledged to half their touring emissions

Green: Coldplay has hit back at criticism surrounding their partnership with Finnish oil company Neste, in which they pledged to half their touring emissions

But campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) called on Chris Martin and his team to drop the partnership as it claimed Neste ‘sourced from palm oil mills linked to deforestation’.

T&E alleged the oil company’s ‘sustainable fuels are based on used cooking oil’ and claimed it used ‘dubious biofuels’ for its renewable energy.

But both Coldplay and Neste hit back and said T&E’s claims were wrong, because the company use ‘renewable waste products’ not ‘virgin materials’ including palm oil.

Neste also hit back at T&E’s allegations it has links to deforestation, saying it responded to claims its suppliers were involved in deforestation between 2019 and 2020 and investigations found no evidence of ‘serious sustainability violations’.

Renewable energy: The band announced a partnership with the oil company to make their Music Of The Spheres World Tour (pictured: Chris Martin performing on the tour) sustainable

Renewable energy: The band announced a partnership with the oil company to make their Music Of The Spheres World Tour (pictured: Chris Martin performing on the tour) sustainable

Renewable energy: The band announced a partnership with the oil company to make their Music Of The Spheres World Tour (pictured: Chris Martin performing on the tour) sustainable

Commenting on the partnership, T&E senior director Carlos Calvo Ambel said: ‘[Neste] is a company that is linked to the kind of deforestation that would appall Chris Martin and his fans.

‘It’s not too late. Coldplay should drop their partnership with Neste now and focus on truly clean solutions instead.’ 

But Coldplay hit back at T&E’s claims and insisted they are doing their ‘best’ to make their tour – which has kicked off in the US – as sustainable as possible, saying it was a ‘work in progress’.

The band also responded to criticism about Neste’s biofuel products, saying they received the company’s guarantee they do not use ‘virgin materials’ or palm oil in production.

Coldplay said: ‘When we announced this tour, we said that we would try our best to make it as sustainable and low carbon-impact as possible, but that it would be a work in progress. That remains true. We don’t claim to have got it all right yet.

Criticised: But campaign group Transport & Environment called on Chris Martin and his team to drop the partnership as it claimed Neste 'sourced from palm oil mills linked to deforestation'

Criticised: But campaign group Transport & Environment called on Chris Martin and his team to drop the partnership as it claimed Neste 'sourced from palm oil mills linked to deforestation'

Criticised: But campaign group Transport & Environment called on Chris Martin and his team to drop the partnership as it claimed Neste ‘sourced from palm oil mills linked to deforestation’

‘Before we appointed Neste as supplier of these biofuel products, we received their guarantee that they do not use any virgin materials in their production – most especially not palm oil. 

‘It’s still our understanding that they use renewable waste products only, like cooking oil and byproducts from wood pulp manufacture.’

And Neste also hit back at T&E’s allegations as it insisted that it is a ‘leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel’.

It said T&E’s claims it uses ‘dubious biofuels’ were wrong as the raw materials it uses for production ‘always meet the legal sustainability requirements set by local authorities’.

It added: ‘Neste has developed a robust system to ensure its renewable products, and the raw materials it uses in its production, always meet the legal sustainability requirements set by local authorities in our markets. 

'Work in progress': Responding to the criticism, the band insisted that they were doing their 'best' to make their tour as sustainable as possible. Pictured: Coldplay's Chris Martin on tour

'Work in progress': Responding to the criticism, the band insisted that they were doing their 'best' to make their tour as sustainable as possible. Pictured: Coldplay's Chris Martin on tour

‘Work in progress’: Responding to the criticism, the band insisted that they were doing their ‘best’ to make their tour as sustainable as possible. Pictured: Coldplay’s Chris Martin on tour

‘This includes that we always only use those renewable raw materials that are accepted in the local legislation.’

The company also hit back at allegations it was linked to deforestation as it said an investigation found ‘no evidence to support allegations on serious sustainability violations’.

Neste said they responded to claims their suppliers were involved in deforestation between 2019 and 2020 when the issues were first brought to attention.

The statement added: ‘We issued a follow-up statement after our investigations found no evidence to support allegations on serious sustainability violations within Neste’s raw material supply chain.

‘Although our investigations on these allegations have all been completed, we continue to monitor the palm oil industry players mentioned in the claims.’

Speaking directly about their collaboration with Coldplay, Neste said it was wrong to claim that palm oil or vegetable oils were used for its supplied renewable fuels.

It said: ‘For our collaboration with Coldplay, conventional palm oil or other virgin vegetable oils were not used as raw materials for the supplied renewable fuels. 

‘As we transparently communicate on our website, we do use sustainably-produced vegetable oils, such as 100% certified and traceable palm oil to produce renewable products for specific markets according to their preferences.’

Coldplay announced the partnership with Neste last week and pledged to cut their direct GHG tour emissions by 50 per cent compared to their last tour.

Announcing the partnership, Coldplay said in a Facebook statement: ‘We’re proud to partner with Neste to make our Music Of The Spheres World Tour as sustainable as possible. Their ultra low-emission renewable fuels will play a major part in our efforts to minimise the tour’s climate impact.’

Sustainable: The backlash comes after Coldplay announced in October they planned to power their global tour next year using 'the world's first rechargeable show battery'

Sustainable: The backlash comes after Coldplay announced in October they planned to power their global tour next year using 'the world's first rechargeable show battery'

Sustainable: The backlash comes after Coldplay announced in October they planned to power their global tour next year using ‘the world’s first rechargeable show battery’

Lead singer Chris, 45, added: ‘We’ve tried to put sustainability at the centre of this tour because it just feels like the only option.’

Their latest partnership comes after Coldplay announced in October they planned to power their global tour next year using ‘the world’s first rechargeable show battery’.

In a bid to make their gigs more eco-friendly, fans will stand on ‘kinetic flooring’ generating electricity as they jump to the music, while concert-goers can also hop on bikes to provide extra energy.

Chris told the BBC at the time: ‘When they move, they power the concert. And we have bicycles too that do the same thing.

‘The more people move, the more they’re helping. You know when the frontman says, ‘We need you to jump up and down’?

‘When I say that, I literally really need you to jump up and down. Because if you don’t, then the lights go out.’

The performances will be supported by a ‘show battery’, supplied by BMW, which will be recharged using solar power and generators powered by hydro-treated vegetable oil. 

Coldplay will still fly on private jets but solar energy and waste cooking oil fuel will also be used for the tour, which kicked off earlier this month in the US.

It is part of the band’s 12-point plan to cut their carbon footprint, two years after they paused touring their last album due to environmental concerns.

Efforts: It is part of the band's (pictured: Chris Martin) 12-point plan to cut their carbon footprint, two years after they paused touring their last album due to environmental concerns

Efforts: It is part of the band's (pictured: Chris Martin) 12-point plan to cut their carbon footprint, two years after they paused touring their last album due to environmental concerns

Efforts: It is part of the band’s (pictured: Chris Martin) 12-point plan to cut their carbon footprint, two years after they paused touring their last album due to environmental concerns

Chris added: ‘We’re trying our best, and we haven’t got it perfect. We always have backlash for everything.’

Coldplay aim to plant a tree for every ticket sold and Chris previously said the band ‘still have a long way to go’ in their aim to have one of the greenest tours in history.

He said last year: ‘In some areas, there’s still not enough possible, like how do you get people to a venue without consuming any power? That’s still really hard.

‘Or flying – there’s still a lot of offsetting we have to do, because even sustainable aviation fuel isn’t good enough yet.

‘So we know where we still have a long way to go. But in terms of the show itself, the whole show is powered from renewable energy, which is amazing.’

NESTE’S FULL RESPONSE TO BACKLASH ON COLDPLAY PARTNERSHIP

As a response to the recent article published by The Guardian on Neste’s collaboration with Coldplay and Neste’s renewable raw materials sourcing, we wish to provide more accurate information to correct and clarify the statements in the article.

Neste is the leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, focused on waste and residues as raw materials when refining its renewable products. 

For the recent years, multiple types of waste and residue oils and fats have accounted for over 80% of our renewable raw material sourcing globally. In 2021, they accounted for 92%. 

Neste has developed a robust system to ensure its renewable products, and the raw materials it uses in its production, always meet the legal sustainability requirements set by local authorities in our markets. This includes that we always only use those renewable raw materials that are accepted in the local legislation.

The article states that ‘Neste declined to say what percentage of the jet fuel mix is made up by palm fatty acid distillates (PFADs)’. The claim is false as we had specifically communicated to the journalist that Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel is only produced from used cooking oil and animal fat waste.

With regards to the article’s claim that Neste’s palm oil suppliers had been involved in significant deforestation between 2019 and 2020, we have responded to these claims in public already when they were first presented in 2020. 

We issued a follow-up statement after our investigations found no evidence to support allegations on serious sustainability violations within Neste’s raw material supply chain.

Although our investigations on these allegations have all been completed, we continue to monitor the palm oil industry players mentioned in the claims.

For our collaboration with Coldplay, conventional palm oil or other virgin vegetable oils were not used as raw materials for the supplied renewable fuels. As we transparently communicate on our website, we do use sustainably-produced vegetable oils, such as 100% certified and traceable palm oil to produce renewable products for specific markets according to their preferences. 

The share of conventional vegetable oils, including conventional palm oil, of Neste’s renewable raw materials inputs globally has, however, decreased significantly over the past decade; they accounted for approximately 8% in 2021. Neste plans to reduce the share of conventional palm oil to 0% of its global renewable raw material inputs by the end of 2023.

The article criticizes the use of used cooking oil and animal fat waste as raw materials for renewable fuels, yet we would like to highlight that during the current climate crisis, replacing fossil resource use with sustainably-sourced renewable and recycled raw materials is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change. 

The shift towards renewable energy, renewable fuels included, contributes also to reducing reliance on fossil energy imports. Efficient utilization of wastes and residues is additionally one of the cornerstones of the circular economy. 

Producing high-quality products from waste and residue raw materials is an example of efficient use of resources. It also provides one of the key means to reduce the pressure to clear new areas of land for the cultivation or production of virgin raw materials for various uses.

Animal fat waste is, indeed, waste. It comes as a result of the food industry’s meat processing and is a widely available raw material due to the abundance of meat production around the world. 

Animal fat waste is the fatty waste substance recovered through rendering from meat processing waste which has been left over after the meat for food uses has been removed.

Used cooking oil (UCO), on the other hand, consists of oils and fats that have been used by the food industry and restaurants to cook food for human consumption. UCO is no longer fit for human consumption for food hygiene reasons; hence it is collected for recycling and further use e.g. as raw material for renewable fuels. 

Neste sources UCO from collectors and aggregators in many different countries around the world, and has invested in a leading UCO collector and recycler Mahoney Environmental in the US, among others, to build a global waste and residue raw material platform that can keep pace with the world’s growing demand for renewable products. 

To sell something else as UCO e.g. for the European biofuels industry – as the article seems to suggest – would be considered criminal activity, a fraud, hence such claims are always investigated thoroughly by authorities.

If such claims of fraud or any other sustainability violations or shortcomings would be related to Neste’s raw material supply chains, we always take all allegations on suspected sustainability violations and shortcomings seriously and investigate the cases, even when they are not directly related to our sourcing of raw materials but indirectly concern our suppliers, for example through their subsidiaries or owners. In the case of investigating credible serious allegations against our suppliers, we put all further purchases from those suppliers on hold. 

We transparently publish information about grievance cases (see our website: https://www.neste.com/sustainability/sustainable-supply-chain/renewable-raw-material-grievances) and our actions as soon as we have received sufficient information from the actors in our supply chain. We also actively monitor events outside our own supply chain and strive to support remediation measures.

In case we learn about shortcomings in our renewable raw material supply chains, engagement and cooperation with the supplier is our primary way of action: we believe they provide the most efficient means to resolve any problems. 

If the investigations reveal that the sustainability criteria and requirements included in our contracts with our suppliers have been verifiably breached and the nature of these is considered serious and progress to resolve those issues is not made in a reasonable time, we can terminate our contract with the supplier in question – which we have done in the past. 

More details on how we aim to ensure sustainability can be found on our website: https://www.neste.com/sustainability/sustainable-supply-chain

Ensuring sustainability is central to Neste. Similarly to Coldplay, we acknowledge that sustainability is a journey during which one must remain committed to continuous improvement. 

Neste’s efforts to continuously improve have been recognized with Neste’s inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for 15 consecutive years, while in the Corporate Knights 100 most sustainable companies for 16 consecutive years, within which we are ranked as the most sustainable company in our sector. 

Neste has also disclosed its climate change prevention measures over the past 15 years in CDP; in 2021, Neste reached a Leadership level in CDP’s Climate Change assessment, and we have achieved a Leadership level (A or A-) for five consecutive years since the current assessment system was introduced in 2016.

We had very thorough conversations with the Coldplay team on many aspects of sustainability before the partnership was signed. We remain humbled and grateful for Coldplay’s trust in Neste as a partner in making their world tour more sustainable. 

We remain committed to ensuring that our operations and our sustainability performance remain worthy of all our customers and stakeholders’ trust. We remain very focused on our sustainability journey, always aiming to improve our performance, while helping our customers and partners to do the same.

Source: | Dailymail.co.uk



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