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The “Burning Issue” – When anti-bioenergy communication goes bad

“The Burning Issue: – When bioenergy goes bad” is the sensationalist title of the latest film released by Brussels-based NGOs BirdLife Europe and Transport & Environment. The release was supported by a significant marketing effort, including trailers that featured an arsenal of rhetorical statements to the backdrop of epic music.

As is often the case with such teasers, the movie fell short of its expectations. In fact, the mountain turned out to be a molehill: the movie proposed 5 cases supposedly representing the drifting of a whole sector towards unsustainable practices. But like all good marketing campaigns, its release is perfectly timed: the ‘Winter Package,’ considered the most essential piece of legislation for renewables and bioenergy for the decade to come, is currently under discussion at EU level. This approach from a marketing standpoint is a double-edged sword: while it might be effective at putting pressure on current negotiations and invoking emotions, it is counterproductive in the long-run by blurring a key debate with baseless arguments.

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