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Nestle: U.S., EU must change biofuel targets

Posting in Energy

Nestle's CEO Paul Bulcke has said that the U.S. and EU must change their biofuel targets to prevent future food shortages.

The rising price of food, low availability of agricultural space and looming food shortages have prompted the firm to throw its weight behind calls by the United Nations and advocacy groups to prevent food being used as a source of fuel.

"We say no food for fuel," said Paul Bulcke, chief executive of Nestlé, at the end of the World Water Week conference in Sweden. "Agricultural food-based biofuel is an aberration. We say that the EU and U.S. should put money behind the right biofuels."

According to Business Green, under current legislation, 40 percent of U.S. corn must be used to make biofuels. However, crop yields are expected to be drastically impacted by drought, and therefore could cause food shortages. In addition, EU countries are expected to lower carbon emissions in transport through biofuel use of 10-20 percent -- but this is likely to make the issue worse.

Nestle, one of the world's largest food companies, believes that a clean economy should not be pursued at the expense of food cost or shortening supply.

"[The use of biofuels] was well-intentioned at the time, but when you have better information then you have to be coherent," said Bulcke. "You have to know when to say: 'Stop here'. Now we see, too, that the carbon [reduction] element of biofuels is not as clear as it was intended to be."

The Nestle CEO says that the quotas should be changed to reflect the increased food requirement predictions of 50 percent in the next 40 years by the UN to avoid a food supply crisis.

Image credit: Martin Fisch

— By on September 4, 2012, 8:58 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure