Biofuelwatch provides information and undertakes advocacy and campaigning in relation to the climate, biodiversity, land and human rights and public health impacts of large-scale industrial bioenergy. We are a small team of staff and volunteers based in Europe (including UK) and the USA. Our work has recently been supported by grants from Ceres Trust, CS Fund/Wash-Mott Legacy, Grassroots Foundation, NRDC, Packard Foundation, Patagonia Foundation, Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation, Moore Charitable Foundation, Threshold Foundation and Swift Foundation. We are also grateful for smaller individual donations. Please see our donations page for details about how to support our work.
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Our Charitable Purpose
Biofuelwatch aims to advance citizenship and environmental protection through
-Advancing the education of the public about the environmental, climate, social and
public health impacts of different types of large-scale bioenergy as well as bio-based
-Promoting sustainable renewable energy policies and investments which result in real
greenhouse gas reduction, protect ecosystems, soil, water and public health and which
protect human rights, including the right to food and water;
-Promoting environmental decision making in relation to bioenergy and other bio-based
products – including bioenergy-related decisions on land use and environmental
permitting – which prioritise the protection of climate, environment, social justice and
public health and promoting active citizenship in this respect.
Biofuelwatch provides systemic analysis based on secondary and occasionally primary research and undertakes advocacy and campaigning in relation to the climate, environmental, human rights and public health impacts of large-scale industrial bioenergy.
Biofuelwatch was founded in the UK in 2006 and shortly thereafter expanded to the US in 2008. The organisation began with a dedicated campaign against EU biofuel targets followed by US biofuel proposed at the time. We worked as part of an international network of organisations opposed to those targets because of their expected (and sadly now realised) negative impacts on forests, climate, land rights, and food sovereignty and security. We worked at the forefront of raising the alarm about the implications of creating an unprecedented and vast additional demand for crops and wood for energy. Though we were not able to prevent the policies from being put in place, we did set in motion a strong resistance that has continued now for over 15 years.
Within the first two years, we changed from being a purely volunteer-run UK group to becoming a UK-US organisation with our first funded staff member. Since 2010, our focus has been increasingly on the expansion of large-scale wood bioenergy, although we have continued to work on liquid biofuels and on a set of different bioenergy technologies.
Between 2008 and 2012, we led a highly successful UK campaign against burning palm oil and other liquid biofuels for heat and power. Today, no palm oil is burned for energy in this country. The campaign, which combined community outreach and resistance to proposed biofuel power and heat plants with national advocacy against subsidies for this form of energy, became a blueprint for our subsequent work against biomass plants in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
Who We are and what we do
Biofuelwatch has a team of volunteer and staff members based in the UK and the USA. While relatively small, Biofuelwatch has out-sized influence as a result of our global network of trusted and longstanding collaborative relationships with many other organisations and individuals.
We know that effective change requires engagement with this issue at all levels from local communities to policy makers, and seek to ensure that the bioenergy concern becomes integrated and not siloed. Central to our mission, we recognise that a key to success in opposing industrial bioenergy is collaboration with climate and energy activists working to transition away from fossil fuels. It is imperative that we ensure bioenergy is not promoted as the alternative to fossil energy. If we are to bring about the broad systemic change with effective and justice-based solutions we must work together and do so with a holistic and strategic approach.
Over the years our work has taken many forms, but primarily we undertake research on bioenergy related technologies and policies, provide educational materials, assist community activists impacted by biomass and biofuel developments, help build capacity for other organisations, participate in relevant government and agency consultations, help to coordinate various national and international networks, have participated with the UNFCCC and UN Convention on Biological Diversity processes and served as reviewers for IPCC reports.
Biofuelwatch is recognized globally as a “go to” resource for critical analyses, providing rigorous well referenced briefings and reports that can provide a solid base from which to develop campaign work and enhance public and policy-maker’s understanding of the issues and consequences of large scale bioenergy and its environmental and human rights implications.