Tell me about Neste and your contribution to sustainability in the transportation sector.A
Neste has its roots and headquarters in Finland and is a global company with geographic scope, presence and renewable products through refineries in Porvoo Finland, as well as in Rotterdam and Singapore. Though we still provide traditional oil refining, we are increasingly moving towards renewable products and solutions and focusing on the circular economy. How can we utilize waste and convert it to run engines and cars? Our refinery in Singapore is the largest renewable diesel production facility in the world, and last year  more than half of our revenue came from renewable products and solutions.
Nearly 80% of our renewable fuels are derived from waste and from residue oils and fats, such as used cooking oil or animal and fish fat waste, while 20% comes from crop-based oils, such as palm oil. We are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and all our renewable diesel refineries are compliant with the EU’s International Sustainability and Carbon Certification. The palm oil we use has been fully traceable to the plantation level since 2007 and 100% certified since 2013.
What is Neste’s approach to the SDGs, and how do you contribute?A
We are in the business of fighting climate change. And our vision and purpose is leaving a healthier planet for our children by creating responsible choices every day. It drives the company and its employees forward.
We have a long history in environmental sustainability. Our refineries in Finland are in the middle of nature and by the sea. For decades we have acknowledged our responsibility to protect the surrounding nature and local communities. We are nowadays one of the most modern and efficiently operating oil refiners in Europe with a strong focus on safety and continuously improving our operations.
We are always partnering with responsible suppliers, asking “Where can we play an influencing role?” We work to educate suppliers and hold capacity building workshops to influence their day-to-day operations. We focus on promoting best practices in sustainability, which often produce higher yields as well. We advocate for landscape-based approaches and recognize that the whole supply chain needs to be in focus. We also work to be very involved in the whole supply chain, as that is where we believe we can have the most overall impact. In the end, we don’t want to be just buyers – we endeavor to go beyond that.
How does Neste define and use landscape-based approaches in its work?A
We consider the higher risk areas, such as mangroves, protected areas, peat, fire prone areas and similar locations. We aim at getting people to join us in focusing on that region or specific landscape.
We also recognize that we are only one company and can’t do everything alone. We can potentially work with experts on the ground, for example, to focus on sensitive issues – from the overall environment right down to the local farmers. Also, we focus on who we buy from. We try to bring our suppliers together to discuss these issues and we learn from their knowledge.
Why is it important for businesses to play an active role in climate change and SDG achievement?A
Climate change is driving the future by increasing demand for sustainable solutions and for the inevitable decarbonization of the transport sector, among others. Reducing crude oil dependency and use is important also in other sectors. Using waste products, such as discarded plastics, as inputs supports a circular economy and while palm oil used to represent the majority of our renewable raw material usage, now it is only about 20% of that volume.
The SDGs are an important strategy towards a truly sustainable future. It is important that we all, including businesses, take them up and contribute, and that is Neste’s approach. We have to remember that the climate agenda is a business agenda, and the business agenda is a climate agenda. Our work must have climate change mitigation built into it, and working together will benefit individuals, communities and companies as we build a sustainable future.