Governments from the North and South together with International Financial Institutions have been actively promoting agrofuels, to the detriment of people and the environment, while promoting transnational corporate interests.

The problem

Rising oil prices coupled with the need to cut down the energy dependency of most industrialized countries from politically unstable oil producing countries, has pushed enriched Northern nations to boost internal production of agrofuels, as well as promoting agrofuels production in Southern countries to maintain their energy consumption level.

This situation is severely impacting vulnerable communities and ecosystems in the South. Land grabbing by large companies and agro-businesses to the detriment of local livelihoods, forests and other ecosystems, with gross violations of human rights, have been witnessed in many countries where agrofuels are produced. The production of agrofuels, amongst other cultivation practices, is generating serious environmental damage and eroding the people’s ability to control the production, trade and consumption of food, given that more and more agricultural land is being devoted for energy crops. At the same time, numerous investigations have shown that agrofuels will not reduce the level of greenhouse gases.

The problems encountered with agrofuels are all symptoms of the world political economic system and its overall inherent capacity to create social inequality and environmental degradation in the name of development. Agrofuels production responds to the needs of this economic system by increasing production and consumption, feeding the need for raw materials and energy as well as requiring ecosystems to soak up waste.

The solution

More research in renewable energy technology and energy efficiency remain crucial if we are to dramatically reduce CO2 emission. However, if there is to be a sustainable solution it is fundamental to address the whole structure of the production and consumption system. This is the system that is supported by transnational corporations to maintain high levels of consumption by a fraction of the global population. The system condemns large majorities of the world to live on less than subsistence levels, making our world totally unsustainable. Among other things, this requires a rethinking of the way energy is produced, distributed and managed.

Countries need to return to self sufficiency in the production of food and energy – commonly referred to as Food and Energy Sovereignty. The rights of indigenous and local communities to access land and resources, as well as maintaining sustainable traditional agricultural methods should be recognised.
Individuals should be able to take back control of their own land, seeds, economic and social decision making practices and hence their livelihoods.

What we do

Our actions on agrofuels include:

  • Awareness campaigns in both the global North and the South in order to inform citizens about the negative consequences of agrofuel production.
  • Lobbying governments both in the North and the South to draw more sustainable and socially responsible national energy strategies
  • Lobbying bilateral and multilateral financial and development institutions to stop supporting the development of the agrofuels sector.
  • Supporting local grassroots and community struggles in defence of their right determine their own livelihoods and to publicise their concerns
  • Providing vital information to and forging links amongst various grassroots and other civil society groups involved in the struggle against agrofuel expansion
  • Promoting self sufficiency on energy production and consumption.