Protests in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and the UK against Vattenfall’s continued investments in high-carbon biomass plants

29th April 2024 – Protests are taking place in the Netherlands, Sweden,   Germany, and the UK coinciding with Vattenfall’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) against Vattenfall’s investments in wood bioenergy as well as continued fossil fuel burning.

This internationally coordinated event is organized by the Clean Air Committee (NL), Fridays for Future, Protect the Forest (SW), Biofuelwatch (UK) and Robin Wood (GE) and is part of an urgent appeal that the organisations sent to Vattenfall with ten demands.

Campaigners across Europe are calling on Vattenfall to immediately cancel its plans for new wood biomass plants, to abandon its wood pellet and woodchip trading activities and to rapidly phase out all of its coal, gas, and biomass burning and replace it with non-emissive energy and investments in energy conservation.

In Stockholm, a group of young activists from Fridays For Future Sweden will attend Vattenfalls AGM in the suburb of Solna. Wearing T-shirts with the text “VattenFAIL”,  they address Anna Borg, CEO of Vattenfall.

An abbreviated version of the open letter sent to Vattenfall was published as on opinion piece in Aftonbladet on the 24th of April: Klimatorganisationer: Vattenfall måste sluta bränna bränslen.


“The pledge by the state-owned company Vattenfall to be ’fossil free within a generation’ is a textbook example of  greenwashing. Aiming for this, already inadequate goal, first within a whole generation is totally out of touch with reality. We have years, not decades, to make the drastic and necessary change that is needed. The fact that a state-owned energy company is deliberately – and publically – sacrificing our future is a complete betrayal”, said Greta Thunberg, Fridays for Future Sweden.

“The science is clear: we need to decrease our emissions at source, while simultaneously increasing the forest carbon stock. Burning forest biomass does the opposite: over the all-important next years and decades, it will both increase emissions and decrease forest carbon stock – moving enormous amounts of CO2 from the forest to the atmosphere” said Lina Burnelius from Protect the Forest Sweden.

“In 2022, under great pressure from nature groups and scientists worldwide, the Dutch Minister of Climate stopped all new biomass subsidies. Subsequently in 2023, the highest Dutch court annulled the environmental permit of Vattenfall’s planned biomass power plant in Diemen (near Amsterdam). Yet Vattenfall once again applied for 400 million euros in biomass subsidy. This request was secretly granted by the minister, a year after he had issued a ban. The Clean Air Committee appealed this decision. Vattenfall continues to be silent about its subsidies and biomass plans and systematically refuses to be open about where it wants to procure wood from. The claimed sustainability of the biomass is therefore completely unverifiable and misleading”, said Fenna Swart of the Clean Air Committee (Comite Schone Lucht).

“Vattenfall wants to see ever more wood being burned in heat and power plants in Berlin. The amount of wood burned is to increase from around 100,000 tonnes a year at present to as much as 1.6 million tonnes in 2030. That is a 1,600 % increase! Anything the operators can get hold of would be burned. Most of the wood already comes directly from the forest, a small amount comes from Short Rotation Coppicing plantations, and, in future, some waste wood would also be burned. This would require domestic as well as imported wood. In Germany, available wood is becoming scarcer, and forests are already badly damaged from recent years of drought. Increased competition with wood products industries can be expected, said Jana Ballenthien from ROBIN WOOD.

“Vattenfall boasts about being a leader in the energy  transition, yet it is transitioning away from fossil fuels far too slowly, while locking regions in different countries into long-term dependence on district heating from high-carbon, environmentally harmful wood burning.” said Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch, UK.

“Vattenfall has been lobbying in Brussels against any meaningful reform of the EU’s biomass rules, which currently reward energy companies for burning forests in the middle of a climate and biodiversity crisis. This short-sighted and irresponsible campaign was partly successful thanks to the Swedish government abusing its role as  the then Presidency of the EU Council. We demand that Vattenfall stops investing in forest destruction and greenwashing such destruction”. Martin Pigeon, from FERN, Brussels.

Photos from Sweden, Germany, Netherlands and the UK can be found here External media folder: VattenFAIL 2024

Additional reading and key materials 

Flyer in the form of a Greenwashing-bingo is uploaded here

Open letter sent to Vattenfall on the 24th of April:

Opinion piece in Aftonbladet on the 24th of April: Klimatorganisationer: Vattenfall måste sluta bränna bränslen