Green Future Innovations Inc.

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Green Future Innovations Inc. (GFII) is a joint venture between Japan's ITOCHU Corporation and JGC Corp., the Philippine Bioethanol and Energy Investments Corp., and Taiwanese holding company GCO.[1] GFII is building an bioethanol plant in the Philippines with the capacity to produce 54 million liters of ethanol and 100,000 megawatts of power annually.[2] The feedstock will be sugarcane, which the company plans to grow on 8,000 to 11,000 hectares within 40 kilometers of the plant. GFII has contract with ECOFUEL Land Development, Inc., which will be responsible for the sugarcane plantation. The project is strongly opposed by residents of San Mariano, Isabela province, where the plant and most of the associated sugarcane plantation will be located.

San Mariano Bioethanol Project

About the Plant

According to a Filipino newspaper:

"To be able to source 700,000 tons of sugarcane per year, GFI shall be signing growership contracts with about 4,000 farmer families thus having direct impact on the lives of about 20,000 Filipinos.
"GFII estimates it will need to spend about P1.6 billion per year for its feedstock, which shall have tremendous impact on the local economy of San Mariano.
"The company official also said that more than 15,000 Filipinos will be employed by this project.
"The bio-ethanol plant is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2012."

A second article reports that the plant itself will employ 500 workers, and an estimated 15,000 workers will be employed as sugarcane workers.[3] However, a press release of one of the partner corporations behind the project says that the total continuous jobs created in the area will only number 3000.[4]

About the Sugarcane Plantation

The sugarcane plantation.

According to company officials, the bioethanol plant will only be economically viable if at least 8000 hectares are planted in sugarcane within a 40 km radius of the plant. GFII has contracted with ECOFUEL Land Development, Inc., which will coordinate the sugarcane plantation. Their goal is to reach 11,000 ha planted in sugarcane by the time the plant opens in 2012. The sugarcane plantation is controversial, as the area is home to many subsistence farmers who grow rice, corn, and bananas for human and livestock consumption. Much of the non-agricultural land that could potentially be used to grow sugarcane are forests, either virgin forests or reforestation areas that have been planted more recently. The company claims it plans to use "idle and abandoned lands" for its plantation.[5] For more information, see the article on ECOFUEL Land Development, Inc.

Isabela Bioethanol Plant as a Carbon Offset (CDM)

Opposition from Local Residents

Many peasants in San Mariano fear that the bioethanol project has already exacerbated an ongoing problem of landgrabbing that is rampant due to the lack of legal titles for land (including the ancestral domain of Indigenous Peoples), the low level of education and literacy among peasants, and the corresponding poor understanding of legal processes governing land tenure. Local opposition has been organized by the peasant group DAGAMI together with church leaders and other community leaders. National and international groups such as the Asian Peasant Coalition, IBON International, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and the People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty have joined their campaign. They are strongly supported by two members of the eight person Municipal Council.

Opponents of the bioethanol project cite exploitative working conditions on the sugarcane plantation, loss of food sovereignty and food security, harassment and intimidation by the military and paramilitary of those who oppose the bioethanol project, and deceptive and misleading tactics used by ECOFUEL when contracting with farmers to lease their land.

Political Support for the Project

Banner expressing municipal support for the bioethanol project, photo taken on June 2, 2011.

Thus far, the plant has received support from the Municipal Council of San Mariano, although two members of the eight person council have expressed their strong opposition. The plant is also supported by Filipino Senator Miguel Zubiri, author of the Philippines' Biofuels Act of 2006 (which required that at least five percent of the Philippines gasoline is blended with five percent ethanol by February 2009 and 10 percent by 2011). Isabela Governor Faustino Dy III also supports the project.[6]

The Filipino Department of Agriculture notes problems with bioethanol production on its website.

The Philippines' Department of Agriculture listed the San Mariano bioethanol plant as a success story long before it was even operational.[7] However, on their website they also note valid concerns about bioethanol, the very same concerns that local residents cite in their opposition to the plant. For example, two articles warn that biofuels may make global warming worse, due to the chemical-intensive nature of industrial agriculture and due to deforestation that occurs make room for crops grown for biofuels.[8][9] A third article notes that biofuels may increase poverty.[10]

Articles and Resources

Related Sourcewatch Articles


  1. Donnabelle L. Gatdula, "Green Future Innovations to build P6-billion ethanol plant in Isabela," The Philippine Star, January 31, 2011, Accessed June 4, 2011.
  2. Alena Mae S. Flores, "Japan’s Itochu, partners building ethanol facility in Isabela," Manila Standard Today, January 13, 2010, Accessed June 4, 2011.
  3. "Green Future Innovations announces Bioethanol plant in Isabela," Alternat1ve, October 11, 2010, Accessed June 4, 2011.
  4. "ITOCHU and JGC launch large-scale bio-ethanol production and power plant businesses in the Philippines," press release, ITOCHU Corporation, April 8, 2010, Accessed June 4, 2011.
  5. Interview with company officials by members of an International Fact Finding Mission on May 31, 2011.
  6. Donnabelle L. Gatdula, "Green Future Innovations to build P6-billion ethanol plant in Isabela," The Philippine Star, January 31, 2011, Accessed June 4, 2011.
  7. Biofuels Information: Downloads, Accessed June 5, 2011.
  8. Mason Inman, "Clearing Land for Biofuels Makes Global Warming Worse," National Geographic News, February 7, 2008, Accessed June 4, 2011.
  9. Emma Graham-Harrison, "Biofuels speeding global warming: Chemist pointing at fertilizers used in modern farming," Reuters, October 8, 2007, Accessed June 5, 2011.
  10. Scientists warn forest carbon payment schemes could increase poverty, Biopact, December 7, 2007, Accessed June 5, 2011.

External Resources

External Articles