Liviya James

Soy and Cattle: Report 6

Rapid Response Monitoring System

Soy and Cattle, Report 6 | October 2019 

Based on August 2019 alerts

Prepared with

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NYC Activists call on Cargill to Stop the Amazon Fires & Embrace Regenerative Agriculture

“Hey Cargill, you can’t hide--we charge you with ecocide.” 

Converging for an early morning action, over 40 New Yorkers chanted, sang, and held handmade signs as Cargill Senior Vice President Ruth Kimmelshue arrived at the Intercontinental Monday morning for an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The action was sponsored by 30 organizations, including SumOfUs, Friends of the Earth, Amazon Watch, Defend Democracy in Brazil, and a variety of Sunrise Movement chapters.

The Wall Street Journal covered the demonstration in an article this week, noting:

Environmental groups also staged protests, targeting Cargill Inc. The supplier of agricultural commodities missed a deforestation target earlier this year.

“We engage with all those voices to create more sustainable supply chains,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, Cargill’s sustainability chief.

She said Cargill is also feeling pressure from consumer-food companies, which have heightened expectations around environmental practices and the impact of agriculture. “Their brands are on the lines,” she said.

Kimmelshue is right. Consumer-facing brands can continue sourcing from Cargill, or they can maintain a reputation as environmental leaders, but they can’t do both.

Mighty Earth staff and volunteers will next converge on the Consumer Goods Forum in Berlin later this month to mobilize consumer-facing companies and call on them to take swift action to eliminate deforestation-driving commodities from companies like Cargill from their supply chains.

 

Outside of Ruth Kimmelshue’s interview Todd Fernandez, a leader of 350NYC, rallied the crowd with an inspiring speech. “We cannot wait for Congress to act. We have to pressure these corporations” Fernandez said. “Everyone is on notice. There is no escaping the responsibility.”

The action caps off an eventful two-month period, which included a mass die-in at the Cargill Gallery of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, a vigil against deforestation at the Consumer Goods Forum, and an action at Cargill’s Women in Ag conference.


Global Architecture Community Sets Ambitious New Target: Zero Emissions by 2040

In response to Architecture 2030’s ambitious new carbon positive targets that were previewed at the Carbon Positive Summit in Chicago and publicly announced this week, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough, who attended the summit and was present for the rollout of the targets, released the following statement:

“This is a historic moment in the fight against climate change. It is inspiring to see the global architecture community coming together to embrace a vision of zero emissions by 2040. But what Architecture 2030 has laid out is more than a vision, it’s also a much-needed framework that outlines the steps we must take to decarbonize some of the hardest to abate materials on the planet: steel, concrete, and aluminum.

“Construction material companies need to be looking at the targets outlined by Architecture 2030, including the near-term embodied carbon targets of 50 percent reduction by 2025 and 65 percent reduction by 2030. These companies – like Arcelor Mittal, Nucor, US Steel, Tata Steel, POSCO, and many others– must begin calibrating their own decarbonization plans accordingly or risk being left behind.

“For the steel industry, this is a critical demand signal from key customers. About half of all steel ends up in the built environment, and customers embracing these new targets will be looking for lowest carbon steel possible. The market for decarbonization is booming, and every steel company in the world should be looking at these targets and figuring out how they will meet the coming demand.

“These new targets and the companies that are rushing to embrace them are an encouraging sign and proof that the private sector can play a significant role in addressing climate change -- even in the absence of government action.”


Stop the Attack on Public Lands - Statement of Principles

Recent efforts from the Trump administration to roll back federal public lands protections and weaken bedrock environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Antiquities Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act to allow expanded industrial activity are highly controversial among the American public and pose irreparable risks to the American landscape. They also pose the risk of stranded assets to companies that seek to exploit these rollbacks.

We oppose the opening of protected or previously protected federal public lands and waters to development. We strongly urge companies involved in mining or other extractive activities, and the banks that fund them, not to conduct or finance any new or expanded commercial activity on any public lands and waters that were formerly or are currently under legal or administrative protections, or that would impact these lands and waters, and to adopt a clear policy clarifying this position.

Public lands are managed in trust by the federal government for current and future generations. Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken the unprecedented action of removing protections from more than 150 million acres of public lands, and trying to remove protections for more than 119 million acres of public waters-- areas that have been put into protection for their cultural, ecological, or recreational value. The administration has also offered up nearly 500 million acres of public land and water for oil and gas development. *

Some of the most controversial rollbacks and proposed changes by the administration to federal public lands and waters -- changes that we urge companies to ignore and oppose -- include:

  • modifying Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments in Utah
  • opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and previously protected areas of the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas exploration
  • reducing protections put in place to safeguard sage-grouse habitat spanning 7 western states
  • abandoning the recommended mineral withdrawal for Minnesota’s Boundary Water Canoe Wilderness Area
  • proposing to lift the ban on uranium development near the Grand Canyon
  • unraveling National Roadless Rule protections in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska 

We also want to urge against developing or expanding operations surrounding protected or formerly protected lands that would significantly damage the integrity of those lands. 

Many of these projects  are mired in litigation, challenging the legality of any current or future industrial activity initiated in these regions and providing evidence of the risks associated with conducting commercial development on lands that the American public has deemed valuable for protection.  There is good reason to expect these lawsuits will succeed based on recent court defeats to major environmental decisions made by the administration because of an inadequate public process, tribal consultation and/or environmental review.

Even if properly approved, these projects also face severe public scrutiny. Protecting public lands for future generations has enjoyed broad bipartisan public support for decades. A 2016 Hart Research Associates Poll showed that 91% of voters across political parties ranked the protection and maintenance of national parks, public lands, and natural places as an important goal for the federal government. Facilities and associated infrastructure that would be developed to support resource exploration and extraction on public lands fragments habitat, displaces wildlife, increases pollution, endangers public health, damages culture resources and scars the landscape.    

For these reasons, we are gravely concerned that companies seeking to exploit the Trump administration’s recent efforts and recommendations to roll back protections on public lands and bedrock environmental laws puts them and their investors at significant risk of public backlash and stranded assets, should these actions be legally challenged or protections be restored by the courts or by future administrations. 

Consequently, we strongly urge all companies that engage in or finance extractive activities not to initiate any new or expanded industrial or commercial activity -- including participating in lease sales -- that is on either protected or formerly protected lands or waters, or that would significantly impact protected or formerly protected lands and waters, and to issue public statements clarifying their policy on this issue.

* Since Trump took office, his administration has offered 436,392,125 offshore and 19,261,339 onshore acres to the oil and gas industry.


New Coalition to Protect Public Lands from Trump Administration's Giveaways to Industry

After 150 million acres lose protections under Trump, more than a dozen groups join forces to pressure companies that conduct or fund extraction to stay out of previously protected areas

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, in response to recent efforts by the Trump administration to roll back federal public lands protections and weaken bedrock environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Antiquities Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act to allow expanded industrial activity, more than a dozen organizations have joined together to urge companies involved in mining or other extractive activities, and the banks that fund them, not to conduct or finance any new or expanded commercial activity on any public lands and waters that were formerly or are currently under legal or administrative protections, or that would impact these lands and waters, and to adopt a no-go policy clarifying this position.

The coalition’s statement of principles can be found here. Sign the petition here.

“The Trump administration has thrown open the doors to its friends and allies in the fossil fuel and mining industries,” said Amanda Hurowitz, a spokesperson for the coalition. “But today we are standing up on behalf of the large majority of people in this country who support protections for our public lands.”

Federal protections for public lands have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, and available polling shows that attacks on public lands are highly controversial. A 2016 Hart Research Associates Poll showed that 91 percent of voters across political parties ranked the protection and maintenance of national parks, public lands, and natural places as an important goal for the federal government.

Public lands are managed in trust by the federal government for current and future generations. Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken the unprecedented action of removing protections from more than 150 million acres of public lands, and trying to remove protections for more than 119 million acres of public waters, areas that have been put into protection for their cultural, ecological, or recreational value. The administration has also offered up nearly 500 million acres of public land and water for oil and gas development.

“The last thing people want is more public lands privatized, strip-mined, or destroyed,” said Hurowitz. “These are beautiful places that we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy. Handing them over to dirty industry just as we need to be addressing the climate crisis is both irresponsible and unpopular.”

The Trump administration has already eliminated protections for public lands across the country, targeting varied ecosystems, treasured lands, and fragile habitat. These rollbacks include dramatically cutting down the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and previously protected areas of the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas exploration, and reducing protections put in place to safeguard sage-grouse habitat spanning seven western states.

In the weeks ahead, the coalition plans to mobilize both their grassroots members and a wide array of investors to urge companies to adopt no-go policies for developing in protected or previously protected public lands and waters, or in areas that could impact protected or previously protected areas.

Members of the coalition include:

  • American Hiking Society
  • Alaska Wilderness League
  • Animal Wellness Action
  • Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Endangered Species Coalition
  • Friends of the Earth
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Mighty Earth
  • National Audubon Society
  • Sierra Club
  • Sitka Conservation Society
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Utah Diné Bikéyah

 

Quotes from Coalition Members:

Davis Filfred (Diné), Chairman, Utah Diné Bikéyah Board:
“As Indigenous People of America, we are stewards of ancestral landscapes like Bears Ears and other cultural landscapes currently under threat from corporate hands. We ask the broader American public to stand with us to protect public lands - which starts with the recognition that Indigenous Peoples have always protected and will continue to protect their homelands.”

Athan Manuel, Director of Public Lands Protection, Sierra Club:
“People value public lands and they support companies that do too.  There’s an opportunity now for corporations and financial institutions to speak for public lands with their actions—to make clear they won’t pursue dirty fuel development in special natural places.”

Tom Landwehr, Executive Director, Save the Boundary Waters:
"No bank should want to be known as the financier of the project that destroyed the Boundary Waters Wilderness. People love the Boundary Waters, and as they increasingly vote with their pocketbooks are watching closely what companies stand for. We're excited to join this effort to help financial institutions understand the many risks associated with participating in the destruction of America's special places."

Kristen Miller, Conservation Director, Alaska Wilderness League:
“For the past year, the Trump administration has been barreling forward with an aggressive plan to lease the fragile coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This process has ridden roughshod over science, silenced expert dissent, shut out indigenous communities, and ignored the law.  The end product will turn the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into the latest casualty of Trump’s plan to sell out our public lands and waters to the highest bidder, giving Big Oil everything it wants in its continued quest to do Trump’s bidding.

Those oil companies now considering exploiting this national treasure should think twice. With the support of two-thirds of the American public, $2.5 trillion worth of investors, and major banks like Barclays, the House of Representatives has already taken decisive action against the rush to drill. As the impacts of our warming climate continue to become more and more real, this opposition will only grow. Companies should simply say no to the uneconomical, dubious proposal to develop the unparalleled Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

Kate Van Waes, Executive Director, American Hiking Society:
“The most pressing threats to public lands are the removal of protections resulting in increased energy development. In the last three years, over 150 million acres of public lands have lost protections making them vulnerable to energy extraction. Such erosions, rather than expanding access, deprive hikers, anglers, hunters, campers, and all other permitted users the opportunity to enjoy their desired form of recreation.”

Alex Taurel, Conservation Program Director, League of Conservation Voters:
“The Trump administration’s removal of protections for public lands and waters and indigenous sacred lands is shameful and unpopular. We call on companies to publicly disavow these rollbacks and pledge not to exploit these majestic places. With the United States losing a football field of natural area to development every 30 seconds and the world facing the extinction of 1 million plant and animal species, responsible companies must step up and say no to the Trump administration’s efforts to turn our wildest areas over to big polluters.”

Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager, Friends of the Earth:
“Any corporation or investor looking to profit from Trump’s rollbacks of land and water protections should think again. These actions by the Administration are often illegal and regularly overturned by the courts. Meanwhile, there is massive support for protecting our public lands and waters. Companies looking to make a quick buck will likely find their corporate image ruined for nothing.”

Marty Irby, Executive Director, Animal Wellness Action:
“President Trump’s Department of Interior has been a catastrophe for our iconic American wildlife since day one. Pillaging our nation’s public lands to line the pockets of oil barons, and ranchers beholden to industrial agriculture will have disastrous consequences for generations to come.”

Leda Huta, Executive Director, Endangered Species Coalition:
“Our public lands provide millions of acres of vital habitat for wildlife and imperiled species. The Administration’s industry free-for-all on our public lands jeopardizes America’s legacy of protecting fish, plants and wildlife for our children and our grandchildren.”

Nada Culver, Vice President of Public Lands, National Audubon Society:
“Birds from every state depend on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and others like the Greater Sage-Grouse in the West are already in crisis. This administration’s actions undermining public lands’ protections is contrary to what the majority of Americans want. With three billion birds already gone, corporations and banks have an opportunity to lead and protect these special places by declining to invest in commercial development of crucial public lands before it’s too late while the courts and Congress address this unprecedented assault.”

Matt Keller, Senior Campaign Director, The Wilderness Society:
"Americans expect the government to protect our public lands, not sell them off to the highest bidder. But after opening up 150 million acres of our land and water to their friends in the extractive industry, it's clear that the Trump administration and Secretary Bernhardt simply can't be trusted. We're turning our attention to companies to make it clear that just because the Trump administration has given them permission to exploit America’s public lands doesn't mean there won't be a massive public outcry if they do."

Randi Spivak, Public Lands Director, The Center for Biological Diversity:
"The Trump administration is running roughshod over our public lands, allowing the destruction of spectacular places that should be held in trust for generations to come. Corporations intending to profit from the administration’s illegal slashing of public lands protections should reconsider. Investing in the destruction of public lands, waters and wildlife habitat is both despicable and a PR disaster."


Soy and Cattle: Report 5

Rapid Response Monitoring System

Soy and Cattle, Report 5 | September 2019 

Based on June 2019 alerts

Prepared with

VIew as PDF

















To Save the Climate, Grocery Stores Must Stop Stocking Deforestation

In latest corporate accountability action, letters to Costco, Ahold Delhaize, and Walmart demand companies fulfill climate pledges and protect forests

NEW YORK – As activists gather in New York for Climate Week, they are increasingly focusing their attention on corporate behemoths driving deforestation and ecological destruction around the globe. Today, in the latest action seeking to hold companies accountable for the pledges they’ve made in the past, Mighty Earth has released letters calling on Costco, Ahold Delhaize, and Walmart to take immediate action to end their links to deforestation in the Amazon and throughout South America.

The burning of the Amazon and the darkening of skies have captured the world’s conscience. But while much of the blame for the fires has rightly fallen on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for directly encouraging the burning of forests and the seizure of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, the financial incentive for the destruction comes from large-scale international meat and soy animal feed companies like Cargill, Bunge, and JBS.

Costco, Ahold Delhaize, Walmart, and other global brands that buy from these suppliers and sell to the public are creating the international markets and providing the finances for the destruction.

Ten years ago, Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) members made a commitment to end deforestation in their supply chains by 2020, with an emphasis on high risk commodities such as soy, cattle, palm oil, and pulp and paper. Five years later, at the 2014 Climate Summit in New York, 60 additional companies joined in this pledge as a part of the landmark New York Declaration on Forests.

But progress toward these lofty goals has been lacking. According to Forest 500’s 2018 Annual Report, “As the 2020 deadline approaches, not one of the Forest 500 companies and financial institutions assessed in 2018 is on track to eliminate commodity-driven deforestation from their supply chains and portfolios by next year. Yet nearly half have made commitments to do so by 2020 or earlier […] Even companies with ambitious commitments are not putting these into practice. Of the 228 companies assessed in 2017 and 2018, nearly 70% scored lower this year than last year, due to the new indicators on implementation. This reflects an implementation gap - companies are not executing their commitments.”

“Costco, Ahold Delhaize, and Walmart have called for change and asked for supply chain reforms,” said Mat Jacobson, Senior Director for Forests at Mighty Earth. “But these polite requests have been ignored. Money talks, and the grocery stores’ calls for change aren’t making a difference because they continue to buy from the suppliers driving deforestation. Cargill, Bunge, and JBS shrug off the bad press and keep cashing checks. It’s time for that to end. We want these grocery stores to stop doing business with the companies driving deforestation in the Amazon.”

The letters, delivered late last week, call on Costco, Ahold Delhaize, and Walmart to:

  • Immediately cease purchases and financing of any company responsible for destruction of forests and other native ecosystems or the theft of Indigenous and local community lands, and adopt an immediate supplier suspension policy for future violations.
  • Require suppliers to establish industry-wide mechanisms to monitor and stop destruction of native ecosystems across South America.
  • Establish and implement a zero-tolerance policy for attacks on environmental and human rights defenders and civil society advocates.
  • Move rapidly towards only buying from countries that are increasing their natural forest cover and protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including Free Prior and Informed Consent.
  • Work with civil society to actively and publicly support government efforts to protect native ecosystems and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities through stronger regulatory frameworks and enforcement.
  • Require suppliers to implement regenerative agro-ecological farming practices that verifiably improve soil health, water quality, and biodiversity.
  • Set a public, science-based target to rapidly shift a significant portion of protein sales towards plant-based options.

Read the full letters here.

These new letters are just the latest in a series of actions seeking to hold corporations accountable for their climate action pledges. Monday, Mighty Earth joined dozens of NGOs in asking members of the Consumer Goods Forum “to take bold and urgent action to halt deforestation, species loss, and human rights abuses within supply chains.” Activists from several organizations gathered outside a meeting of the Consumer Goods Forum on Monday night to hold a “vigil for the Amazon” and demand that member companies immediately cut all ties to deforestation.

The letters and vigil plainly caught the attention of CGF, as they invited Mighty Earth Senior Campaign Director Etelle Higonnet into the meeting to present Mighty Earth’s concerns to many of the top executives as well as the presidents of the Tropical Forest Alliance and CGF.

A follow-up protest will be held on October 7, as activists will converge on the InterContinental New York Barclay – where Cargill's Senior Vice President is speaking – to call for rapid changes.

“We don’t have the luxury of trusting corporate pledges anymore,” said Jacobson. “We applauded when these companies pledged to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains by 2020, and that promise is now literally going up in smoke. It’s time for real, concrete action. Not one year from now, not 10 years from now. Right now.”

See also:

 


World Green Building Council Sounds the Alarm on Embodied Carbon

Today, the World Green Building Council released its new report, Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront. In response, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough released the following statement:

"Today's report from the World Green Building Council is a seismic shift toward sustainable construction. WGBC has done the critical work of convening industry stakeholders, forging consensus, and pushing forward a bold collective vision for how to reduce the embodied carbon in construction materials like steel and cement.

"When we released our Construction Destruction report last year at USGBC's Greenbuild conference, our aim was to shake up the construction industry into acting as fast as possible. Today is a welcome sign of forward momentum from the global construction industry's leading climate voice.

"The impressive list of industry endorsements WGBC has garnered suggests this is a watershed moment. Each of these companies must now develop a public plan and commitment for how they will work to achieve the net zero building future in the near, mid, and long term. It is estimated that, without urgent action immediately, embodied carbon will be responsible for at least half, if not more, of total new construction emissions between now and 2050. There is no time to lose."


Palm Oil: Report 19

Rapid Response Monitoring System

Palm Oil, Report 19 | September 2019

Prepared with support from MapHubs

New Cases: Unknown Group: Cambridge Alliance Sdn Bhd, Unknown Group: KUD Restu Bersama, Lee Ling Timber Group: Lima Jaya Timber Sdn Bhd (Limbang), Lee Ling Timber Group: Lima Jaya Timber Sdn Bhd (LPF/0038 – part 2), Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd: Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd (LCDA-OT/9137), First Borneo Group: PT Berkah Sawit Abadi, Unknown Group: Selangor Oil Palm Industries Corporation Sdn Bhs, Unknown Group: Telliana Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Unknown Group: Titanium Management Sdn Bhd (Part 1), Unknown Group: Titanium Management Sdn Bhd (Part 2), Unknown Group: PT Wanapura Agraraksa, Unknown Group: PT Inti Palm Sumatra, Unknown Group: PT Artanusa Agrindo, Unknown Group: PT Multidaya Fortuna, Unknown Group: PT Sumber Madu Bukari

Additional Cases Identified Using Filtered GLAD Alerts: Unknown Group: Formerly Ekran Bhd, Unknown Group: PT Bumi Tani Jaya, Unknown Group: PT Fliel Green Power,Unknown Group: PT Sumber Rahmat Sentosa, Mulia Sawit Group: PT Persada Era Agro Kencana, Anglo-Eastern Plantations: PT Kahayan Agro Plantation, Unknown: PT Kayan Plantation, Samling: LPF/0007 Samling Jelalong (OP), Samling: LPF/0007 Jelalong OP (Glenealy) Part 1, Double Dynasty: Mutiara Pelita Genaan Plantation Sdn, Bhd Samling: LPF/0006 Samling Lana

Sources for supply chain information: 

Supply chain information included in Rapid Response reports is based on latest publicly versions of mill disclosures and grievance logs. Mighty Earth encourages companies to send updated versions of mill disclosures as soon as they become available and any decision to suspend supplies with a given group/company listed in those mill disclosures; please send to [email protected].

View Report PDF


Palm Oil: Report 18

Rapid Response Monitoring System

Palm Oil, Report 18 | August 2019 

Prepared with support from MapHubs

VIew as PDF

New Cases: Unknown Group: Cambridge Alliance Sdn Bhd, Unknown Group: KUD Restu Bersama, Lee Ling Timber Group: Lima Jaya Timber Sdn Bhd (Limbang), Lee Ling Timber Group: Lima Jaya Timber Sdn Bhd (LPF/0038 – part 2), Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd: Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd (LCDA-OT/9137), First Borneo Group: PT Berkah Sawit Abadi, Unknown Group: Selangor Oil Palm Industries Corporation Sdn Bhs, Unknown Group: Telliana Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Unknown Group: Titanium Management Sdn Bhd (Part 1), Unknown Group: Titanium Management Sdn Bhd (Part 2), Unknown Group: PT Wanapura Agraraksa, Unknown Group: PT Inti Palm Sumatra, Unknown Group: PT Artanusa Agrindo, Unknown Group: PT Multidaya Fortuna, Unknown Group: PT Sumber Madu Bukari

Additional Cases Identified Using Filtered GLAD Alerts: PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk: PT Sawit Mandiri Lestari, Mulia Sawit Group: PT Persada Era Agro Kencana, Unknown Group: PT Kayan Plantation, Yuwang Group: Empresa (M) Sdn Bhd (OT/0351), Shin Yang: Dataran Linau OP (SY) (Lot 1 Block 14 Murum LD), Woodman Group: Woodman Group (Adong Estate, part of LPF/0004), Woodman Group: Woodman Group (Liku Estate, part of LPF/0004), Double Dynasty: Hua Seng Plantation Sdn Bhd, Asian Agri (RGE): PT Usaha Sawit Unggul, Unknown Group: PT Agro Lintas Nusantara, First Borneo Group: PT Wahana Hamparan Hijau, Double Dynasty: Mutiara Pelita Genaan Plantation Sdn Bhd, Samling: LPF/0006 Samling Lana, Samling: LPF/0007 Samling Jelalong (OP), Samling: LPF/0007 Jelalong OP (Glenealy) Part 1, Pundi Group: PT Pinang Witmas Abadi, Henan Jiujiu Chemical Co. Ltd: PT Palem Segar Lestari, First Borneo Group: PT Borneo Estate Sejahtera, TH Plantations Bhd: Ladang Tabung Haji, Anglo-Eastern Plantations: PT Kahayan Agro Plantation, Salim/IndoGunta: PT Rimbun Sawit Papua, Pactra Group: PT Arjuna Utama Sawit (area 1), Pactra Group: PT Arjuna Utama Sawit (area 2)

Sources for supply chain information: https://bit.ly/2MfYZo6 

Supply chain information included in Rapid Response reports is based on latest publicly versions of mill disclosures and grievance logs. Mighty Earth encourages companies to send updated versions of mill disclosures as soon as they become available and any decision to suspend supplies with a given group/company listed in those mill disclosures; please send to [email protected].


Deforestation Continues Because Companies Aren't Trying

A new assessment released by Climate Focus has found that an area of tree cover the size of the United Kingdom was lost every year between 2014 and 2018. The assessment suggests that achieving the 2020 New York Declaration on Forests targets is now likely impossible. In response to the new report, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

"Forests are burning in large measure because the big companies that committed to save them are not actually trying to do so. Companies like Ahold Delhaize, McDonald’s, and Mars are, despite all their pledges, continuing to do business on a vast scale with the very companies most responsible for this deforestation, such as Cargill and JBS. Not only are these companies directly financing deforestation, they have repeatedly lobbied governments to stop basic environmental protections. Nobody doing business with Cargill and JBS can credibly say they are concerned about deforestation.

"The tragedy of these findings is that they also demonstrate that success is possible. Companies can achieve dramatic progress when they actually make an effort. These same companies have largely, though imperfectly, enforced their no deforestation polices in the palm oil industry, and the results on the ground show it: deforestation for palm oil has declined from 1 million acres a year to 200,000 acres per year. This is, of course, still 200,000 acres of deforestation too many, but it also shows real progress is possible."

Additional resources:

 


The Endangered Tapanuli Orangutan Loses an Ally

Read in Bahasa

Statement on recent MoU between NSHE and PanEco in the name of Tapanuli Orangutan

The stage is set for a crucial showdown in a long-running battle to save a rare species of orangutan from possible extinction at the hands of a planned US$ 1.6 billion hydroelectric dam project. The controversy over construction of the internationally-financed dam and hydroelectric project centers around findings by scientists that the development will pose an existential threat to the already diminished population of the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo Tapanuliensis), which has been declared as Critically Endangered by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and also negatively impact thousands of Indonesian citizens of local communities.

However, the dam company has consistently ignored the urgent warnings of scientists that alternatives are needed, putting the decision in the hands of President Jokowi.  Indonesian and international environmental groups are working to protect the orangutan, including Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) dan Center of Orangutan Protection (COP), and Mighty Earth.

Surprisingly, a press release said that NSHE has sealed a deal with the Swiss organization PanEco to greenwash the dam project. The Swiss organization had previously identified the dam as “the greatest threat to the long-term future of the Tapanuli orangutan.” This new arrangement has raised many questions among NGOs, both local and international.

Glenn Hurowitz, CEO Mighty Earth, expressed his disappointment: “It’s a disgrace that PanEco capitulated to bullying and intimidation by the dam company instead of reporting these attempts to the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) and police. Indonesian and Swiss authorities should investigate this dirty deal and hold the dam company accountable for its actions. PanEco’s greenwashing shouldn’t obscure the fact that according to the dam company’s own Environmental Impact Statement, this dam is planned for a place with almost three times the density of Tapanuli orangutans than the average in the Batang Toru ecosystem.”

PanEco’s decision to accept the deal offered by NSHE should prompt further investigation since PanEco suddenly altered its approach under pressure.

Until very recently, PanEco’s own website said that “A newly planned hydro-electric dam along the Batang-Toru-river is the greatest threat to the long term future of the Tapanuli orangutan. The hydro dam is planned in an area with the highest density of orangutans and highest biodiversity values of the whole ecosystem. Some 10% of the Tapanuli orangutans reside in the area. The construction of this hydrodam and related infrastructure, powerlines and associated land speculation will cause severe fragmentation of the rainforest and isolation of sub-populations of the Tapanuli orangutan, making them prone to extinction.”

Screenshot of PanEco website (Aug. 24, 2019)

PanEco wrote that the solution was clear: "The construction of the dam needs to be stopped, the whole area must be protected and effective corridors between the two blocks have to be built."

“The facts haven’t changed, and this dam remains a massive threat to the survival of this species. This dirty deal also doesn’t hide the fact that the dam is entirely unnecessary and that the expansion of the nearby Sarulla Geothermal Plant could provide significantly more zero carbon electricity than the Batang Toru dam without threatening the survival of the Tapanuli orangutan. The Indonesian government should investigate the integrity of the decision-making process that allowed the permitting of a clearly inferior project,” said Hurowitz.

The deal is the latest salvo in a long struggle to protect Batang Toru and the endangered Orangutan habitat. A 2018 biology journal article by Sean Sloan, Jatna Supriatna, Mason J. Campbell, Mohammed Alamgir, and William F. Laurance said that “the proposed hydroelectric project should be cancelled. This project would alter at least 8% (96 km²) of high-quality orangutan habitat by 2022).”

“We hope President Jokowi will continue his efforts to protect 'Wonderful Indonesia' and fight against corruption by stopping this dam. He has an opportunity to protect an Indonesian national treasure while supporting the construction of truly green infrastructure,” said Hurowitz.


Ekosistem Batang Toru Semakin Terancam

Pernyataan sikap atas kesepakatan baru antara NSHE dengan PanEco yang mengatasnamakan perlindungan Orangutan Tapanuli

Sudah dipastikan akan terjadi pertikaian panjang demi menyelamatkan spesies orangutan langka yang baru saja ditemukan dari kepunahan di tangan proyek waduk seharga 1.6 juta US Dollar yang dibangun oleh PT. North Sumatera Hydro Energy (NSHE). Proyek kontroversi yang didanai oleh pihak luar negeri memunculkan banyak polemik di tengah temuan dari para ahli bahwa pembangunan tersebut dapat mengakibatkan hilangnya populasi Orangutan Tapanuli (Pongo Tapanuliensis), yang telah ditetapkan oleh International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) sangat langka (critically endangered). Belum ditambah sederet ancaman bencana lingkungan yang diprediksi akan terjadi akibat perubahan ekosistem, dari gempa bumi hingga ancaman sosial ekonomi masyarakat terdampak.

Bagaimanapun, perusahaan terus mengabaikan peringatan darurat yang diberikan para ahli dan menyerahkan keputusan pada Presiden Jokowi. Organisasi lokal maupun internasional telah melakukan berbagai macam protes untuk melindungi Orangutan, salah satunya Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) dan Center of Orangutan Protection (COP), and Mighty Earth.

Baru-baru ini secara mengejutkan muncul sebuah siaran pers yang mengatakan bahwa  terdapat kesepakatan antara NSHE dan PanEco, salah satu LSM asal Swiss yang sebelumnya menyatakan proyek tersebut sebagai “ancaman terbesar jangka Panjang dari Orangutan Tapanuli”. Tentu saja kesepakatan tersebut memunculkan banyak pertanyaan di kalangan organisasi lingkungan baik lokal maupun internasional.

Glenn Hurowitz, CEO Mighty Earth, menyatakan kekecewaannya, “Ini cukup memalukan bagaimana akhirnya PanEco menyerah atas intimidasi alih-alih melaporkan tindakan perusahaan tersebut ke KPK maupun polisi. Pihak berwenang di Indonesia dan Swiss harus segera menginvestigasi kesepakatan kotor ini dan menuntut NSHE untuk bertanggung jawab atas apa yang telah mereka lakukan di ekosistem Batang Toru. Sikap PanEco atas kesepakatan yang seolah-olah melindungi lingkungan ini seharusnya tidak mengaburkan fakta bahawa menurut Analisis Dampak Lingkungan (AMDAL) yang dimiliki NSHE, proyek PLTA tersebut dibangun di tempat dengan kepadatan hampir tiga kali lipat dibandingkan dengan rata-rata di ekosistem Batang Toru.”

Sikap yang ditunjukan PanEco dengan menerima tawaran NSHE perlu diteliti lebih lanjut karena selama ini PanEco konsistem dalam komitmen menjaga ekosistem Batang Toru. Masih tertera jelas dalam websitenya bahwa pembangunan PLTA di lokasi tersebut menjadi ancaman jangka panjang terbesar bagi kelangsungan hidup Orangutan Tapanuli.

“PLTA yang sedang dibangun baru-baru ini di sepanjang sungai Batang Toru merupakan ancaman jangka Panjang terbesar bagi Orangutan Tapanuli. Proyek tersebut dicanangkan di area dengan kepadatan Orangutan tertinggi dan biodiversity yang sangat berharga dari seluruh ekosistem. Sekitar 10% dari Orangutan tinggal di area tersebut. Konstruksi dari PLTA dan infrastruktur terkaitnya, jalur listrik, dan spekulasi lahan yang terkait akan mengakibatkan fragmentasi cukup parah dari hutan hujan dan mengisolasi populasi Orangutan Tapanuli, membuatnya rentan punah,” Bahkan PanEco merumuskan rekomendasi sebagai respon atas ditemukannya species langka tersebut yakni mengentikan pembangunan bendungan, seluruh area dilindungi dan koridor yang menyambungkan habitat antara blok barat dan timur perlu segera dibangun.

“Fakta-fakta tersebut belum berubah dan PLTA ini adalah ancaman besar bagi Orangutan Tapanuli yang masih tersisa. Kesepakatan kotor ini juga tidak menyembunyikan fakta bahwa proyek tersebut tidaklah diperlukan mengingat Sumatera masih memiliki Sarulla Geothermal yang dapat ditingkatkan kapasitasnya dan mampu menyediakan listrik dengan mengurangi karbon secara signifikan tanpa menganggu habitat Orangutan Tapanuli. Pemerintah Indonesia perlu menginvestigasi lebih dalam atas integritas proses pembuatan keputusan yang mengijinkan proyek tersebut,” lanjut Glenn.

Kesepakatan tersebut menodai perjuangan perlindungan ekosistem di Batang Toru khususnya habitat Orangutan Tapanuli yang terancam punah. Banyak studi dari para ahli lingkungan yang menyatakan bahwa proyek tersebut dianggap mengecilkan dampak kerusakan lingkungan, ekosistem serta masyarakat sekitar sungai. Diantaranya tercantum dalam sebuah artikel yang ditulis oleh beberapa ilmuwan Sean Sloan, Jatna Supriatna, Mason J. Campbell, Mohammed Alamgir, dan William F. Laurance dalam jurnal biologi pada tahun 2018 lalu, “Pada akhirnya, proyek PLTA yang diajukan seharusnya dibatalkan. Proyek tersebut akan merubah setidaknya 8% (96 km²) dari habitat Orangutan yang berkualitas di tahun 2022 nanti. Maka kami sangat tidak menyarankan proyek ini untuk dilanjutkan.”

Namun di tengah ancaman bahaya yang disuarakan oleh para pegiat lingkungan, proyek pembangunan terus berjalan dan diperkirakan selesai tahun 2022. Di lain sisi, yang mereka tentang bukanlah proyek yang digadang-gadang sebagai bagian dari Program Prioritas Nasional Ketenagalistrikan 35.000 MW dan penghematan negara di berbagai sektor. Namun masalah utama yang perlu diingat oleh semua pihak adalah lokasi yang akan sangat berdampak buruk terhadap lingkungan di masa depan.

“Kami harap Presiden Jokowi akan melanjutkan usahanya untuk menjaga ‘Wonderful Indonesia’, mendukung dan berjuang memerangi korupsi dengan menghentikan proyek PLTA Batang Toru untuk melindungi kekayaan bangsa dan mendukung infrastruktur ramah lingkungan,” tutup Glenn.(*)

 

Informasi lebih lanjut, silakan hubungi :

Image Dynamics - Ayunda Putri - [email protected]


Korindo Threatens Legal Action to Bury the Truth

Palm oil and timber conglomerate sends Forest Stewardship Council a “cease and desist” letter the day it was scheduled to release findings from two-year investigation into the company’s wrongdoing

JAKARTA – Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a global certification body for responsible forest management, was scheduled to release summaries of its investigatory findings from a two-year investigation into the Korindo Group, a notorious Korean-Indonesian logging and palm oil conglomerate, on September 5, 2019. However, Mighty Earth was notified by FSC that it has indefinitely delayed the publication of its findings after receiving dubious legal threats from Korindo, including the apparent delivery of a "cease and desist" letter.

"Korindo is using the threat of legal action to bury the FSC's findings and suppress evidence of its wrongdoing," said Mighty Earth Senior Campaign Director Deborah Lapidus. "These are not the actions of an innocent party. Korindo's willing embrace of bullying tactics is proof they have something to hide."

The investigation, prompted by a complaint filed by Mighty Earth, concluded that Korindo had flouted the FSC's 'Policy for Association' by violating indigenous peoples' rights, carrying out significant conversion of natural forests, and destroying significant areas of High Conservation Value (HCVs).

Yet, for years Korindo has been using the FSC's prestigious eco-forestry label to greenwash its destructive practices. Korindo sells its timber, plywood, pulpwood, biomass, and newsprint to customers such as Asia Pulp & Paper (Indonesia), APRIL (Indonesia), Sumitomo Forestry (Japan), Oji Corporation (Japan), Marubeni (Japan), and News Corps Australia.

As a result of Korindo's violations of FSC standards, the FSC imposed a series of measures on the company to improve its practices and address its liabilities for the severe damages it caused. These conclusions were announced in July 2019. According to the FSC statement, Korindo will be required to continue its suspension of any forest conversion and deforestation, achieve FSC certification in all its forestry operations and to comply with the principle of FPIC [Free Prior and Informed Consent]. Korindo is also required to assess past negative impact and secure remedy for it. Furthermore, the FSC says it will disassociate Korindo if it fails to adhere to these requirements.

"Instead of acknowledging its wrongdoing and taking responsibility for its actions, Korindo chose to spin the conclusions of the FSC investigation and proclaim its innocence in the press. If Korindo wants the truth to be known about what the FSC found, it should call on FSC to release the full findings of its investigations – as we have done – so that the public can see the truth for themselves," said Lapidus. "But instead, Korindo is trying to intimidate FSC into silence, as it has attempted to do with Mighty Earth and many of our NGO partners."

"There is no justification for FSC's complicity in covering up Korindo's wrongdoing. It needs to stop doing the dirty work of deforesters and start acting like a sustainability organization," Lapidus added.

“We urge the FSC to stand strong and proceed with releasing the full findings of the investigations, as they are required to do by their own procedures. Do not give in to Korindo's gangster-style threats,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director and FSC expert Phil Aikman. "Korindo's customers deserve to know the truth about the origins of their purportedly sustainable products. The indigenous people who have suffered at the hands of this nefarious conglomerate deserve to see Korindo held accountable and to be fairly compensated. And the public has the right to know just how much precious rainforest was destroyed."

"We call on the FSC to suspend Korindo, as the company is acting in obvious bad faith and is clearly not ready to accept its liabilities,” Aikman concluded.

Mighty Earth’s call for accountability and transparency was echoed by community organizations working in Papua.

Franky Samperante of Yayasan Pusaka, which works to defend indigenous land rights in Papua said, "We got the complaints from the victims that are impacted by logging and palm oil company, subsidiary company of Korindo Group. Land, forest and sago hamlet which are their food resources and livelihood are being destroyed. The river as the clean water supply has been contaminated by plant waste and pesticides. Their rights and power over their own land moved unwittingly. Indigenous people and workers are subjected to violence and intimidation threats."

"Korindo is also not taking its corporate social responsibility seriously," said Pastor Anselmus Amo from SKP-KAMe Meruake, a Papuan human rights organization. "FSC should consult directly with affected communities to better understand Korindo’s egregious actions and the communities’ views on what fair compensation and remediation measures would be. We stand ready to help resolve this long standing conflict."

Samperante added, "For over decades, Korindo has gotten away with violating indigenous peoples’ land rights without exposure, while selling itself in the media as a savior to the Papuan people. Korindo should be seriously committed to respect and recover our rights and protect local environment."

***
Further information, please contact:

Alex Armstrong
Mighty Earth
[email protected]

Ayunda Putri
Image Dynamics
[email protected]


Global Day of Action for the Amazon

Global Day of Action for the Amazon

On September 5, activists across the world joined the Global Day of Action for the Amazon to hold governments and companies that stand to profit from the fires in the Amazon accountable for their role in this environmental destruction.

Minneapolis, Minnesota


In Minneapolis, Mighty Earth and 80+ activists rallied at the Minneapolis Institute of Art–home to the Cargill Gallery–to call out Cargill for its role in lighting up the Amazon and polluting water sources. Holding banners such as “Cargill: there’s no art on a dead planet” and “Cargill: helping the world burn” activists from the Twin Cities gathered outside the museum’s main doors.

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Midway through the protest, while chanting “The Amazon’s in flames, we’re out in force and naming names protestors” protestors abandoned their spot on the front sidewalk and swarmed into the main entrance of the museum, where they proceeded to stage a dramatic die-in.

The protest was endorsed by over a dozen local, national, and international organizations, including the Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America chapter, Environment Minnesota, and Rainforest Action Network, as well as by Bill McKibben. Outlets such as Fox 9 and City Pages covered the event.

Cargill went into damage control mode and rapidly issued a comment in an attempt to defend the company’s reputation. In response, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

“Cargill gives up the game immediately by declaring their opposition is to ‘illegal deforestation.’ What that actually means is that they are still going to take full advantage of lax regulations and enforcement in Bolsonaro-era Brazil. A commitment to oppose illegal deforestation is nothing more than a pledge to obey the law – this is the bare minimum, not something to celebrate.

“The fires in the Amazon are a byproduct of the rollback of safeguards for the environment and Indigenous peoples in both Bolivia and Brazil. These policies have been implemented at the behest of the region’s industrial agriculture sector, of which Cargill is a top player. We have applauded Cargill for joining the Amazon Moratorium in the past, but since that time they have fallen dramatically behind the industry by refusing to go beyond that single safeguard.

“The Moratorium protects only the Brazilian Amazon, but enables Cargill to continue buying from deforesters in the Cerrado or the Bolivian Amazon, where more than 2.5 million acres have burned, largely to clear land for new cattle and soy animal feed plantations, in just a few weeks. By failing to address these issues and others, Cargill has contributed to the atmosphere of lawlessness in Brazil and beyond that has led to these fires.

“These fires are also exposing a loophole in the existing Soy Moratorium. While broadly effective, it does permit soy producers to engage in extensive deforestation for cattle and still sell their soy to Cargill. The Amazon crisis shows the urgent need to close this loophole so that deforestation can be stopped, whatever crop is driving it.

“In addition, the forest fires in Brazil and Bolivia are a result of land being burned to clear it for cattle. Ranchers will then move cattle from existing land to the newly deforested land, and plant soy to sell to Cargill. As long as Cargill keeps providing this incentive, the burning will continue.”

Washington D.C.


Mighty Earth also co-organized sister actions in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. In D.C., protestors marched from the White House to the building that houses both the Brazilian consulate and the local Cargill office. Campaign director Lucia von Reusner was featured as a speaker at the D.C. protest, where she spoke about the role of large agribusinesses in driving and incentivizing the fires. “It is no surprise that Cargill is headquartered in the same building as the Brazilian consulate, given that our satellite investigations of the most recent fires raging across Brazil and Bolivia have found Cargill and mega beef supplier JBS consistently at the front lines of this deforestation” von Reusner said, addressing the large crowd gathered on the sidewalk.

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International Day of Action for the Amazon: Global Community Sets Stage for Climate Week

Today, concerned citizens across six continents – from Hong Kong to Washington and Paris to Pretoria – will take action for the Amazon by protesting the ongoing fires and deforestation. In a show of international solidarity with indigenous leaders, activists around the world are standing up to President Jair Bolsonaro's reckless policies and the international corporations profiting off environmental destruction.

The burning of the Amazon and the darkening of skies have captured the world’s conscience. But while much of the blame for the fires has rightly fallen on President Bolsonaro for directly encouraging the burning of forests and the seizure of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, the incentive for the destruction comes from large-scale international meat and soy animal feed companies like JBS, Marfrig, and Cargill, according to a recent Mighty Earth report.

Additional research from media and advocacy organizations has helped identify a group of 12 companies responsible for the ongoing deforestation and destruction in the Amazon. This “Dirty Dozen” covers the financing of projects causing deforestation, the traders who help create the market for commodities like soy and beef that are linked to deforestation, and the retailers who sell the resulting products to unsuspecting consumers.

As part of the International Day of Action, Mighty Earth and nearly 100 allied groups – including Amazon Watch, Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Extinction Rebellion, Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, SumOfUs, Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Species Coalition, Canopée, Rettet den Regenwald, Danmarks Naturfredningsforening, International Accountability Project, Native Forest Council, Humane League, and others – have sent letters to the CEOs of these 12 companies outlining the steps they must take to end their role in incentivizing destruction of the Amazon and other fragile ecosystems.

Read the letters to Big Finance and Mega Retailers here.

Today’s actions also set the stage for Climate Week in New York City (September 23-29).

“Companies like Cargill, Ahold Delhaize, and others have previously used Climate Week as an opportunity for splashy announcements and feel-good pledges,” Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz said. “But after years of failing to deliver on these promises, their words ring hollow. This Climate Week will mark five years since the signing of the New York Declaration on Forests, and one year left until their original 2020 deadline. The Amazon is on fire, the climate crisis is worsening, and the world cannot afford dithering and excuses any longer. These companies must take decisive action now.”

Background materials


Companies Support Higher Cocoa Prices for Farmers

Companies Support Higher Cocoa Prices for Farmers

Mighty Earth collected statements from industry with varying level of support for the much-needed price increase for cocoa to protect farmers. While we do not in any way endorse these statements, they serve to debunk the notion that industry will not support a price increase.

We call on companies which have yet to publicly commit to paying a better price –  such as Nestle, Sucden, Fuji Oils, and Pladis – to do so forthwith.

We hope this encourages other producer countries to set a price floor, like Cameroon, Nigeria, Indonesia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Peru. We ask all producer countries’ cocoa regulatory bodes to commit to ensuring all cocoa farmers earn a living income, worldwide.

Efforts must not be limited to supporting Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana but must aim at ensuring a minimum price for cocoa farmers across the globe.

Alter Eco: “Alter Eco fully supports the efforts of the governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to increase the price of cocoa. We in fact would support them moving beyond $2,700 FOB to the price necessary to guarantee cocoa farmers a living income. Indeed, we also call on other cocoa producing countries to do the same. Alter Eco sources amongst others from Ecuador and we would warmly welcome any Ecuadorean move to match the Ivorian and Ghanaian courageous initiative to improve farmer livelihoods. We would support a global floor price. Our preference would be for that floor price to go directly into the pockets of famers, with transparency and traceability to ensure those who need it most are receiving this improved price. Moreover all our cocoa is deforestation-free and all of our volumes are heading towards agroforestry – as we are aware that a commodity price increase can trigger deforestation, so we call on all governments and companies supporting a floor price to simultaneously crack down on deforestation in their supply chains and embrace robust agroforestry everywhere. Let’s welcome the positive developments in West Africa and look towards all companies and producer countries to move the positive agenda forward rapidly.”


Barry Callebaut: “It is the execution on this topic, which matters tremendously. It is a fact that the floor price will be implemented by the Ghanaian and Ivorian government. We agree to that principle, but next to the opportunities there are risks. The Barry Callebaut statement is a reflection of the conditions that have to be fulfilled in order for the floor price to have the intended results for farmers, and not lead to further deforestation.” “As the biggest buyer of cocoa in the world we welcome the initiative of the Ivory Coast and Ghana governments to support cocoa farmer income. We are therefore already working with the government and other companies to have a smooth implementation of the living income differential. We remain committed to continue to lead on sustainability as defined by our Forever Chocolate objectives and this does not change, if anything continues to gather momentum. All this does not preclude the fact that in the living income differential discussions there has been little space to embrace much needed discussions on some potential risks highlighted on sustainability. This does not diminish our commitment to sustainability but our responsibility as a sustainable operator focused on impact is to highlight challenges of a changing environment.”


Blommer: “Recently, the Governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire engaged the cocoa and chocolate industry in a series of meetings to discuss options around new pricing structures aimed at providing cocoa farmers greater value for their cocoa. Blommer believes that cocoa farmers should earn sufficient income to ensure a decent standard of living. Through our Sustainable Origins platform we are working closely with producing governments, farmer organizations, and other development partners on many initiatives to catalyze the transformation of traditional farms into diversified, sustainable, and profitable businesses. These efforts are also necessary to boost farmer income but they may not be enough without increased remuneration to farmers for their crop. We therefore support the overall goal of the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to increase farmer remuneration. Developing new and innovative methods to achieve this should remain a priority while maintaining a continued focus on the critical work being done under the industry’s sustainability activities. We look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to ensure a sustainable and thriving cocoa sector – where farmers prosper, cocoa-growing communities are empowered, human rights are respected, and the environment is conserved.”


Image result for fuji oil logo

Fuji Oil: “Blommer’s statement on this subject covers not only Blommer but also the whole FUJI OIL Group.”


Cargill: “Cargill s’engage de manière durable auprès des agriculteurs et de gouvernements ivoiriens et ghanéens. Chez Cargill (www.Cargill.com), nous partageons l’ambition, exprimée par les gouvernements de la Côte d’Ivoire et du Ghana, d’améliorer le revenu des producteurs de cacao et d’assurer la durabilité à long terme du secteur. Nous saluons la volonté des deux gouvernements, d’établir un prix plancher minimum pour les fèves de cacao et affirmons notre engagement à faire davantage pour veiller à ce que cette mesure permette d’accroitre de façon durable les revenus des agriculteurs. Nous sommes impatients de collaborer étroitement avec le Conseil Café Cacao et le Cocobod afin de réaliser des changements positifs fondamentaux dans le secteur du cacao.” [Unofficial translation: Cargill is making a long-term commitment to Ivorian and Ghanaian farmers and governments. At Cargill (www.Cargill.com), we share the ambition of the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to improve the income of cocoa farmers and ensure the long-term sustainability of the sector. We applaud the willingness of both governments to set a minimum floor price for cocoa beans and affirm our commitment to do more to ensure that this measure leads to sustainable increases in farmers’ incomes. We look forward to working closely with the Coffee Cocoa Council and Cocobod to achieve fundamental positive changes in the cocoa sector.]


ECOM: “ECOM welcomes any initiative working towards ensuring a decent standard of living for cocoa farmers. We look forward to our continued discussions with the Conseil Café Cacao of Côte d’Ivoire, Cocobod of Ghana and other industry players to ensure a sustainable and thriving cocoa sector. We are currently awaiting additional information that will be shared by the two governments regarding details of the mechanism.”


Fair Trade: on the 1st of October 2019, Fairtrade is raising its Minimum Price for conventional cocoa to $2,400 per metric ton, and is raising its Premium for Fairtrade cocoa to $240 per metric ton. For organic cocoa, the Fairtrade Minimum Price will be $2,700. As of this writing, and Unlike UTZ/Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade is the only certification scheme with a global mandatory minimum price (although it still falls short of the Fair Trade Living Income Reference Price). When the market price rises higher than the Fairtrade Minimum Price, producers will receive market prices.


Ferrero: “Ferrero welcomes any efforts of the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana to relieve cocoa farmer poverty as we believe that cocoa farmers should earn sufficient income to ensure a decent standard of living. Any efforts should also tackle the broader development challenges in cocoa growing communities, including child labor and deforestation.”


Godiva: “GODIVA supports any efforts to lift cocoa growing communities in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana out of poverty, and protect the future of cocoa farming and farmers.”


Halba: “We fully support the new floor price announced by Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The payment of such a price is already a great step forward.” We would appreciate it very much, if at least 70 – 80% of that price would reach the farmer.


Hershey: “At Hershey, we have long supported initiatives that improve the livelihoods of farmers. Cocoa farmers should be able to support their families and earn a decent standard of living and we support the goal of raising farmer incomes. Hershey, along with the entire industry, will be working with these governments to further understand their proposals to increase farmer incomes. Any plans would need to be implemented carefully to ensure they do not create imbalances in the long-term supply of cocoa that could result in surpluses and destabilize the market, which ultimately hurts farmers. The plans also need to guard against new production on protected forest land. We want to work together with the governments to see an increased share of the global cocoa price transferred to farmers through the government-regulated farmgate price. These are complicated, but important issues. We look forward to joining with the rest of the industry to continue these discussions with the governments and other partners to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and the sustainability of cocoa farming long into the future.”


Lindt & Sprüngli: “Our sustainable cocoa program – the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program – aims at decent and resilient livelihoods of todays and future cocoa farmers and their families. While increased farm gate prices are an important measure to improve livelihoods, we follow a holistic approach to increase the net-income of cocoa farming households delivering to us, which includes a sustainable intensification of cocoa cultivation, the creation of additional income sources, a stabilization of cash flow and secured income, as well as the improvement of community infrastructure. Especially Ghana is an important origin for us. We therefore support the Governments’ efforts to contribute to improved cocoa livelihoods, and will follow the developments closely.”


Mars: “U.S. food maker Mars Inc. supports a decision by Ivory Coast and Ghana to set a floor price for their cocoa exports, a senior executive told Reuters on Wednesday, becoming one of the first major chocolate companies to back the initiative. ‘We support moves by governments to intervene to achieve a higher price that leads to a sustainable increase paid to the farmer and is supported with governance to ensure there is no further expansion of land use to grow cocoa,’ Ament said. ‘Initiatives to boost productivity, improvements in social services and infrastructure, and exploration of alternative incomes are necessary, but they will likely not be enough without an increase in the price farmers receive for their crop,’ Ament said.”


Mondelez: “We believe cocoa farmers should earn sufficient income to provide a decent standard of living today as well as to safeguard the sustainable future livelihoods for the cocoa farmers of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. With Cocoa Life, our holistic cocoa sustainability program, we work on the ground, with the cocoa farmers and our partners to tackle the complex challenges that cocoa growing communities face. Partnerships are key to creating the right environment for lasting change. We welcome the Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire’s governments’ efforts to address cocoa farmer income through the Living Income Differential as an important building block to achieve a sustainable livelihood from cocoa. We also believe this is a unique opportunity to create the necessary partnerships to ensure the long-term beneficial effect of the new pricing approach and look forward to collaborating with both governments to ensure no further deforestation will take place and human rights will be protected. A sector-wide strategy with coordinated actions by all stakeholders of the value chain is needed to catalyze the transformation of cocoa farming into modern, sustainable, and profitable businesses that provide sustainable livelihoods for cocoa growing families.”


Olam“Olam Cocoa is committed to improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and communities, and to preventing forest degradation. We share the ambition of the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to establish a pricing structure which guarantees a minimum price for cocoa farmers, and strengthens progress towards a sustainable cocoa supply chain that improves farmer livelihoods and protects forests. You can see more of what we’re doing to tackle farmer poverty and its associated ills, in our last Cocoa Sustainability Report – as of the end of last year we had nearly 230,000 cocoa farmers enrolled in programmes to support their livelihoods, including 43,000 new farmers in 2018.”


Uncommon Cacao: “At Uncommon Cacao, we believe farmer prosperity is a key ingredient in good chocolate. Transparent, sustainable prices for both farmers and exporters that cover costs of production are an important factor in enabling producers to earn at least a living income from their cacao farm. We support country- and context-specific export price floors, as long as they are tied to transparent farmgate price floors, are based on impartial research and cross-sector collaboration, and seek to improve farmer prosperity. We encourage all cacao market actors to always consider these prices as floors and never ceilings. The price floor announced by Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and the Living Income Differential are key steps towards creating better outcomes for farmers and the industry, but we still see this as just the beginning. Cacao farmer prosperity depends on the commitment of producers, governments, intermediaries and chocolate companies to pay more for cacao and catalyze broader systems change.”


Tony’s Chocolonely: Tony’s Chocolonely exists to change the cocoa industry. Without paying a higher price, the chocolate industry will never solve issues in their supply chain and live up to their commitment in the Harkin Engel Protocol. Chocolate companies should be asked the simple question: How much profit are you willing to take, at the expense of a living income for farmers. Perpetuating extreme poverty, leads to modern slavery, illegal child labour and deforestation. It’s a matter of choice, as simple as that. Tony’s commits to more than just a minimum price. On top of the farmgate price and the Fairtrade premium, we pay an additional premium up to the living income reference price – the new industry benchmark. We pay this higher price as part of our 5 sourcing principles (higher price, strong farmers, productivity and diversification, long term commitments, 100% traceability). And we share our model, knowledge and network viawww.tonysopenchain.com. Tony’s Chocolonely exists to change the inequality in the system and we invite all others to join, cause only together we will make the whole chocolate industry 100% slavefree.

Florence Pradier, secrétaire générale du syndicat français du chocolat: « Nous sommes d’accord pour réduire la pauvreté des planteurs, mais si nous mettons la main à la poche, c’est pour s’assurer qu’au moins 70 % des 2 600 dollars la tonne promis aillent aux planteurs ». [Translation: We agree to reduce the poverty of the planters, but if we put our hands in our pockets, it is to ensure that at least 70% of the $ 2,600 a tonne promised goes to the planters.]


Cemoi:Of course we support minimum price !« Pour notre part, nous partageons l’avis des gouvernements de la Côte d’Ivoire et du Ghana selon lequel le prix du cacao est un facteur déterminant du revenu des planteurs. Nous partageons l’objectif d’une culture plus durable du cacao et soutenons la hausse des prix au planteur et cela va dans le sens de notre programme Transparence Cacao dont l’un des axes principaux est l’amélioration de la qualité de vie du planteur par une rémunération plus juste ».  [Translation: For our part, we share the opinion of the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana that the price of cocoa is a determining factor in the income of farmers. We share the goal of a more sustainable cocoa crop and support the increase of prices to the planter. This is in line with where our program is headed, called Transparency Cocoa, of which a main focus is improving the quality of life of planters with fairer remuneration.]


Image result for valrhona logoValhrona:Valrhona welcomes the commitment of the Ivorian and Ghanaian governments to improve farmers’ income through the establishment of a floor price. We are keen for this this initiative to feed into a wider goal to improve the lives of farmers and their families. However, as time is of the essence, we are also taking action directly. It was unacceptable to us, for example, that farmers would see their incomes slashed as a result of the sudden drop in price on the global market in 2016-17, which is why ever since 2017 we have established a minimum guaranteed farmgate price of 1100 FCFA for our producers in Côte d’Ivoire. This represents approximately 51% more than the minimum price guaranteed by the Ivorian state.  We continue to maintain all of our quality, traceability and community development premiums and to intensify our support to improve living conditions, access to education and training. This measure is a first step towards our goal to enable farming families to earn a living income in the 16 producing countries with which we have long-term partnerships. We continue our work to create a fair and sustainable cocoa sector and support any efforts towards achieving this. We as such welcome the Ivorian and Ghanaian governments initiative and look forward to future developments across the sector.”


The Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon

The burning of the Amazon and the darkening of skies from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, have captured the world’s conscience. Much of the blame for the fires has rightly fallen on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for directly encouraging the burning of forests and the seizure of Indigenous Peoples’ lands.

But the incentive for the destruction comes from large-scale international meat and soy animal feed companies like JBS and Cargill, and the global brands like Stop & Shop, Costco, McDonald’s, Walmart/Asda, and Sysco that buy from them and sell to the public. It is these companies that are creating the international demand that finances the fires and deforestation.

New maps and analysis from Mighty Earth, based on data from NASA, CONAB, and Imazon and released here for the first time, show which companies are most closely linked to the burning.

Read the full report, The Companies Behind the Burning of the Amazon in English, Spanish, Italian or French.

Take Action: Tell the companies responsible to stop financing this reckless environmental destruction.


Mighty Earth and NGO's urge the EU to end complicity in the Amazon Fires

Mighty Earth joined today a host of other civil society organizations, pleading the EU to step up to the plate and address its own complicity in current Amazon fires & deforestation crisis. We demanded that the European Commission work on EU regulation to end deforestation once and for all, in order to protect the lungs of the planet.

Our open letter to European heads of state speaks truth to power, affirms that the current destructive fires in Latin America are not natural, are destroying ecosystems and hurting indigenous peoples, that they are triggered largely by soy and beef industries, and that they are made possible by the new Brazilian government’s flawed policies. But most importantly, this communication to the top powers in Europe points out that Europe also bears key responsibility for the fires. European consumption and finance is intimately linked with the current deforestation and fire crisis in Brazil, Bolivia, and neighboring countries.

We are calling on the EU to suspend ratification of the Free Trade Agreement as is and to prepare legislation which will ensure companies and the finance sector do due diligence to guarantee that products placed on the EU market and investments have not led to recent forest degradation or deforestation or caused human rights abuses.

 Read the full letter here.

 


Looking at Opportunities for Sustainability in Rubber

Sustainable Natural Rubber- Pathways, Policies and Partnerships is being held from 24-26 September 2019 hosted by Rainforest Alliance, Mighty Earth, Einhorn Products, Prince of Songkla University, and Earth Net Foundation, Thailand. RSVP here!

Over a decade ago, when I started working with coconut farmers in Ban Krut, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Thailand to develop an organic coconut value chain, many of these farmers also grew rubber. Despite the work on organic coconut, there was no interest or discussion about sustainable or organic rubber. It didn't seem to merit any interest at the time, in part because rubber is not eaten, and also because it needs to be processed with chemicals to yield rubber-based products such as tires and wetsuits.

Today looks very different than 10 years ago. Many key business stakeholders are beginning to understand the need for sustainability in rubber and are adapting their sourcing policies to address this in their supply chains. The newly established Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber is evidence of this and has brought together the largest number of actors from this sector so far. However, end users outside of the tire industry as well as rubber farmers and tappers remain missing voices in the platform. There are other mechanisms today for sustainable rubber as well. Thai organic coconut farmers who also grow rubber can have their latex certified as part of the “Fair Rubber” initiative. The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) has taken an early lead in sustainable rubber certification by actively working to engage market players.

These policies and platforms reflect a growing trend of leaders in sustainability looking deeper into their purchasing and supply chains—and this demand is coming from all sides. Consumers want to know more about the brands and products they choose: what it is, where it comes from, and the impact that it has on our planet and its people. Research shows that companies that demonstrate and communicate sustainability leadership in new areas have a clear market advantage, along with other benefits such as secure supply chain, engaged employees, and stakeholder confidence.

This growing interest in more sustainable agricultural and forestry supply chains represents a massive opportunity for positive impact on communities, local watersheds, biodiversity, and national economies. Across commodities, agriculture effects massive areas of land. For rubber alone, over 14 million hectares are cultivated, and there are millions of associated farmers and laborers.

Unless we can link investment in sustainable practices with demand from responsible markets, it is difficult to move toward sustainability or achieve certification. Farmers, particularly small-scale farmers, are on the economic edge, usually laden with substantial debts and facing the constant risks of poor yields and low prices, either of which could lead to failure and bankruptcy. Even without a significant shift in practices, achieving certification adds a cost in time, training, and resources. If major shifts in practices are also needed, this requires an even greater investment and effort.

Much of the initial focus has been on preventing additional deforestation, similar to efforts with oil palm, and these commitments are critically important. However, with low rubber prices in the market for several years now, pressure to clear more land for rubber has been reduced. As such, it is also critically important to look at the management of rubber lands and practices that support biodiversity, watershed and soil health, and carbon sequestration. This must be done alongside consideration of the economics of the supply chain and developing goals that ensure farmers realize financial stability and improved livelihoods through rubber cultivation, regardless of fluctuations in the market and price.

An interesting possibility for improving the ecology and economics of rubber cultivation for farmers lies in exploring how diversity and ecology can be brought back to the millions of hectares that have already been transformed to monoculture. Here we see a huge opportunity, as demonstrated in research from the Prince of Songkla University and the experience of many farmers in Thailand. Both show that rubber can be effectively grown in diverse agroforestry systems to deliver comparable latex yields and much better performance on ecological measures such as erosion, water sequestration, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and microclimate, while providing beneficial secondary yields of other commodities grown on the same land.  This should not be surprising at all, as the rubber tree’s (Hevea brasiliensis') native habitat is in the most diverse forests of the Amazon.

It is critical that we begin transforming the rubber sector and send signals from the market that there is a demand for sustainability managed rubber farms and latex. This is fundamental to the long-term viability of natural rubber overall, as it is apparent that rubber farmers, like many types of farmers, are an aging population. Many farmers do not want or expect any of their children to farm and tap rubber. This perspective is not overly surprising given the low returns and difficult work of rubber cultivation. In addition, the job of a rubber tapper is not always seen as reputable work. These factors can have a negative impact on the future supply of natural rubber, despite the expected growth in market demand for rubber. We have a massive opportunity to improve the livelihoods and labor conditions for rubber tappers, to introduce new methods of management and technologies to improve yields, and to make rubber tapping a more sought-after job.

In truth, we are just starting this exploration for natural rubber and many other solutions are still yet to be developed.   When the key actors and supporters of value chains from farmers to processors, from enterprises to final consumers, work together, and when government agencies and NGOs help facilitate the right environment and provide key support where needed, the potential for rapid and dramatic shifts towards sustainability or even the step beyond sustainability—to regeneration—is frankly amazing.

It is not clear where we will go, but in the next decade we can and will dramatically shift the natural rubber value chain and its impact on our planet to be far more sustainable. If you would like to join us in exploring this potential and discussing some of the solutions proposed at a multi-stakeholder dialogue taking place near some of the most interesting sustainable rubber farming innovation in Hat Yai, Thailand, please contact Margaret Kran-Annexstein ([email protected]).

Michael B. Commons,  Earth Net Foundation, Thailand