How Can We Fuel Innovation in Canada’s Energy Sector? It Starts NOW.

Jeremy Baines, President of Neste US and Chairperson of Neste Canada, participated in a roundtable hosted by Corporate Knights to discuss how we can #BuildBackBetter and fuel innovation in Canada’s energy sector. 

Fifteen years ago, Neste was focused on oil products. In North America, the company’s business activities involved selling gasoline and, going back even further, collecting crude oil from the Texas oil patch via truck. Now, Neste is focused on making renewable products that can empower businesses and cities to achieve their climate change targets and accelerate the phase out of fossil fuels. 

Why did Neste decide to change its business model and go “all-in” on renewable products? The hatching “Black Swan” of climate change. Recognizing the long term risks posed by a changing climate, Neste’s leadership committed to fighting climate change and creating a healthier planet for future generations. 

Since then, Neste has become the global leader in renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. The company completed what has been called one of the “top 20 business transformations” of the last decade. A journey that has regularly earned Neste a spot on the Corporate Knights’ Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable corporations. In fact,  2020 marks Neste’s 14th consecutive inclusion on the list.  

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During a recent roundtable with Corporate Knights focused on planning for a green recovery, Jeremy Baines, President of Neste US and Chairperson of Neste Canada, joined with several thought leaders to share and discuss game-changing ideas that could accelerate Canada’s transition to a low carbon economy.  


It starts with solutions that are available now:

  • Advanced biofuels represent a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel are drop-in solutions that work with existing engines and infrastructure. Neste MY Renewable Diesel, for example, has already displaced more than 1.6 billion gallons of fossil diesel in North America. Advanced Biofuels also offer the opportunity to create a circular economy.
  • It’s possible to power Canada’s economy with renewable fuels made from the country’s trash. All of Neste’s renewable products distributed in North America are made from waste and residue materials - such as used cooking oil and grease. Put simply, this is the leftover trash from the hospitality and food industry that could otherwise end up in landfills. It comes from restaurants, hotels, stadiums, airports, farms and many other locations, and there is plenty of it. Looking to the future, a new generation of renewable raw materials like forestry waste, municipal solid waste and even converting power to liquids could be used to make advanced biofuels and support green jobs for Canadians. 
  • Advanced biofuels can kickstart the transition to a low carbon economy while we wait for zero-emission solutions to mature.  Data from BloombergNEF predicts that 70% of light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles will still rely on internal combustion engines by 2040. Additionally, planes will continue to rely on energy dense liquid fuels for decades to come. The reality is that these vehicles are hard to decarbonize, and will continue to rely on energy dense liquid fuels. Society must continue to research and develop zero emission technologies for these sectors, but we can not afford to wait. Advanced biofuels can immediately replace fossil fuels and provide real, impactful greenhouse gas emission reductions from heavy trucking and aviation.

Advanced biofuels must play a role in Canada’s transition away from fossil fuels. All that’s needed is for Canadian businesses and cities to choose to make the switch from fossil fuels to advanced biofuels,  and for policy makers to create an even playing field for all fuel types to compete.  By doing this, Canada can create a sustainable transport system that fights - not contributes - to climate change. 

Roadmap for a sustainable future

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Corporate Knights Inc. includes the sustainable business magazine Corporate Knights and a research division that produces rankings and financial product ratings based on corporate sustainability performance. As one of the world’s largest circulation magazines focused on the intersection of business and society, Corporate Knights is the most prominent brand in the clean capitalism media space.