National Biodiesel Board Communications drives interest, industry

By | April 15, 2009
According to a July 2008 survey, 69 percent of people are familiar with biodiesel. That compares to just 27 percent five years ago. This significant growth is not an accident. Raising awareness, building confidence in biodiesel, and promoting its benefits to a national audience are core functions of the National Biodiesel Board.

Having a national, collaborative approach to industry-wide communication gives biodiesel producers, marketers, retailers, investors, feedstock suppliers, equipment dealers and stakeholders an exponential advantage. The NBB's communications team involves some of the nation's most experienced and valued communicators and employs communications professionals unmatched in talent and commitment. Relationships with related associations and trade groups create an inner-connected, coordinated strategy that is showing real results.

A national survey by Wilson Research Strategies this year showed 85 percent of people feel favorably towards biodiesel, up from 77 percent last year. The increase is significant considering the multi-million dollar ad campaign from Grocery Manufacturers Association launched to spread misinformation during the same time frame. NBB plays an important role helping manage issues and concerns that inevitably arise, whether on a state, regional or national level.

A key focus area for the National Biodiesel Communications team remains sustainability. The team promotes the efforts of the Sustainability Task Force, which recently completed a year-long process to formalize sustainability principles for the industry. Topics relating to sustainability – indirect land use, greenhouse gas calculations, water use, global warming, and food supply – continue to be hot button issues. With a continued proactive, coordinated effort, the widespread benefits of biodiesel are sure to overcome these challenges.

NBB's cyber-efforts have given biodiesel an online presence, established as the result of fundraising efforts. A variety of funding sources have worked together to support a Google ad campaign, new YouTube page (, a strong Twitter presence, and the foundational work for a formal Facebook platform. This will help get credible biodiesel information into an arena that is astonishingly important in driving public opinion and mainstream media coverage. Another critical component of the communications program is providing information to the public and continuing to build NBB's Web site,, as the leading source of credible biodiesel information worldwide.

Despite biodiesel's eight-point jump in favorability, the most recent study also sheds light on potential hazards. Biodiesel's position as a valued, environmentally responsible, home grown alternative energy source continues to come under attack. Fact sheets, letters to the editor, news releases, editorial board meetings, a social media campaign, the creation of, and a constant vigilance to shine light on the truth are all tools the NBB communications team has called on in what has become a battle to safeguard biodiesel's good name. The reality of today's challenges demand a continued, proactive effort to ensure biodiesel is recognized as what it is – a renewable, sustainable, cleaner burning fuel that is good for America.
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