Repsol – nominated for greenwashing destruction

Repsol was nominated for blatantly greenwashing their operations, presenting an image of corporate responsibility towards communities and the environment, while in reality exacerbating the climate crisis, endangering indigenous people and damaging the environment.

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Image by Polyp

Spanish oil and gas company Repsol has expanded rapidly in Latin America. It claims it is “Uniting business and environment”, but the projects highlighted in its World Business Council for Sustainability (WBCSD) profile are isolated attempts to greenwash Repsol's tarnished image, with little benefit for the environment or local communities.

Repsol's forestry project in Neuquén, Argentina, for example, is portrayed as contributing to the economic and social development of the region. But this tiny initiative - which has attracted criticism in its own right -  is dwarfed by the devastating impact Repsol's operations in Neuquén have had on the indigenous Mapuche communities who live there. Their health and way of life is under threat and the area has been declared an “environmental emergency” by the UN. 

Repsol's activities in Latin America have attracted widespread local criticism, with operations on indigenous lands and in protected natural areas. The company is accused of collaborating with corrupt governments, financing military forces to protect their operations and at a session in 2008 of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, a body operating under international law, it was found guilty of violating indigenous rights and seriously damaging ecosystems.

Repsol  boasts it will cut climate emissions by one million tonnes (CO2 equivalent) by 2012, but intends to offset its emissions through carbon credits and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)5. This allows Repsol to continue business as usual.

Repsol is a keen advocate of agrofuels, using mostly palm oil, canola and soy (which is usually genetically modified). Those agroindustrial monoculture crops have already had devastating impacts on peasants and indigenous communities and exarcebate climate change. Repsol lobbies to promote agrofuels as a green source of fuel, and chaired the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBFTP) between 2006 and 2008, calling for an EU target of 25% agrofuel use in transport fuel. Repsol also wants to introduce a sustainability certificate to greenwash agrofuels.



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