Sustainability Awareness program counters misinformation with science

By NBB | June 14, 2011

The price of food continues to be closely linked to petroleum prices, commodity markets and other world economics. This volatility in food prices has led to the resurfacing of the food vs. fuel debate in recent months. The National Biodiesel Board Sustainability Awareness program allows NBB to refute misinformation about biodiesel’s role in the food and fuel debate with scientific facts.

Recent efforts by NBB to counter food and fuel misinformation include webinars with experts, information releases, fact sheets, media outreach and much more.

The 2011 NBB Conference hosted a presentation on food, fuel and land use with Stephen Kaffka of the University of California at Davis and Keith Kline of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This discussion on their research supporting sustainable biofuels was so well presented and received that a webinar was conducted in May to discuss the issues in more detail.

“While the challenge remains for the biodiesel industry to convey the complicated truth in simple sound bites, the webinar provided an opportunity to dive into the true scientific interactions between renewable fuels, food prices and land use,” said Don Scott, NBB director of sustainability.

Another important branch of the Sustainability Awareness program at NBB is reaching out to members of the media who cover biofuels. Often stories written on biofuels, land use and food issues tend to perpetuate common myths. To combat those myths the team developed a background page to distribute to reporters when articles surface on the subject. This resource is designed to provide information, open a dialogue with the reporter, and offer NBB as a source for future articles.

“It takes more than simply sound science to counter myths,” Scott added. “You have to be proactive in getting that science out into the public.”

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