Tiara Fuller

Et si votre chocolat de la Saint-Valentin avait été gâché par la déforestation?

Et si votre chocolat de la Saint-Valentin avait été gâché par la déforestation?

La destruction des forêts liée à l’exploitation du cacao en Côte d’Ivoire et au Ghana a été bien documentée, notamment par le récent rapport de Mighty Earth, « La déforestation amère du chocolat ». Aujourd’hui, une nouvelle étude démontre que la culture du cacao provoque des déforestations dans d’autres régions du monde, de l’Asie à l’Amazonie. Mighty Earth a cartographié des régions productrices de cacao situées en dehors de l’Afrique de l’Ouest et a pu identifier plusieurs zones qui présentaient des risques élevés de déforestation.

Grâce à des images satellites détaillées et en superposant des cartes documentant la déforestation sur celles des régions productrices de cacao, nous avons pu constater des déboisements massifs en Indonésie, au Cameroun, au Pérou et en Équateur.

Cette carte de la Saint-Valentin nécessite donc une enquête plus approfondie sur les sociétés en cause, et des recherches pour déterminer la part de responsabilité imputable au cacao plutôt qu’à d’autres matières premières. Néanmoins, il est évident que le secteur du chocolat étend désormais son empire à des pays comme l’Indonésie, le Pérou, l’Équateur ou le Cameroun qui tous possèdent de vastes forêts tropicales. Avec une demande à la hausse, le secteur du chocolat risque de se déployer de manière agressive dans les zones tropicales du monde entier et d’exporter dans bien des endroits les mêmes mauvaises pratiques qui ont contribué à la destruction quasi totale des forêts d’Afrique de l’Ouest. Ce qui est arrivé en Côte d’Ivoire et au Ghana doit servir d’avertissement pour les autres pays où se développe la cacaoculture, si le secteur ne rectifie pas le tir en modifiant ses pratiques.

À la suite de notre rapport publié à l’automne 2017, 24 chocolatiers de premier plan se sont engagés auprès des gouvernements du Ghana et de la Côte d’Ivoire à ne plus provoquer de nouvelles déforestations et à reboiser les forêts d’Afrique de l’Ouest. Ils ont également promis une traçabilité du cacao produit dans ces pays. Ces entreprises et les gouvernements ont fort à faire pour tenir leurs promesses. Mais seules quelques sociétés se sont engagées à mettre un terme à la déforestation dans le monde. Il est grand temps pour le reste du secteur du chocolat de suivre l’exemple.

Les sociétés Olam International et Hershey’s ont promis un cacao « zéro déforestation » dans le monde entier, avec effet immédiat, et se sont déclarées en faveur de l’agroforesterie. Quelques autres se sont engagées à changer sous peu leurs pratiques : Barry Callebaut s’est fixé un objectif « zéro déforestation » pour 2025 et Godiva a promis d’appliquer bientôt une politique « zéro déforestation » à l’ensemble de ses matières premières, dont le cacao. D’autres encore comme Mondelēz se sont engagées à un cacao sans déforestation en Afrique de l’Ouest et au-delà, mais pas dans tous les pays. Les sociétés qui luttent pour mettre un terme à la déforestation et pour reboiser ces régions du monde créent un précédent pour le secteur. En devançant les recommandations du Cocoa & Forests Initiative, elles envoient pour la Saint-Valentin un message d’espoir aux animaux menacés, de l’Asie à l’Amazonie.

  • Hershey’s : Nous sommes fiers d’annoncer que nous nous engageons à consolider notre chaîne d’approvisionnement pour le cacao, afin de ne plus générer de nouvelle déforestation. Nous cesserons immédiatement de nous approvisionner dans les régions où de nouvelles déforestations auront été constatées. Par ailleurs, nous avons créé un programme d’agroforesterie qui soutient le cacao cultivé sous couvert forestier et comprend des plantations d’arbres. 
  • Barry Callebaut : Avec son plan Forever Chocolate pour le développement durable, Barry Callebaut s’est engagé à devenir d’ici 2025 « positif en forêt » et « positif en carbone », en s’approvisionnant de manière durable et sans déforestation pour l’ensemble de ses ingrédients. 
  • Godiva : Dans le cadre de son engagement général pour l’amélioration de la vie des communautés et de celle de la planète, Godiva procède à une mise à jour de son code de conduite mondial, de manière à garantir que ses fournisseurs en matières premières — y compris en cacao — s’inscrivent dans des programmes d’approvisionnement luttant contre la déforestation et la dégradation des forêts. 
  • Olam International : Olam Cacao s’est engagée à mettre fin à la déforestation dans sa chaîne d’approvisionnement, au niveau mondial. Cette initiative comprend des formations auprès des agriculteurs afin que ces derniers adoptent des pratiques plus judicieuses du point de vue du climat. La plantation d’arbres d’ombrages en fait également partie. En Côte d’Ivoire, Olam a relevé le niveau de ses exigences pour les agriculteurs en matière de plantation d’arbres — en recommandant 100 arbres «forestry » et 50 arbres d’ombrage par hectare. Pour son approvisionnement direct, Olam s’est fixé pour objectif une traçabilité et une durabilité de 100 % de ses volumes d’ici 2020.
  • Mondelēz : Depuis 2012, nous avons pour ambition de nous approvisionner entièrement en cacao durable, principalement par le biais du programme Cocoa Life. Ce programme, qui opère dans six pays, dont l’Indonésie, met l’accent sur l’environnement et exige un cacao « zéro déforestation ». Nous soutenons aussi des campagnes de formation sur l’environnement et la conservation forestière dans tous les lieux où nous nous approvisionnons en cacao et encourageons les cultures de cacao sous couvert forestier, les cultures intercalaires et l’agroforesterie. Nous avons par ailleurs déjà mis au point un niveau de référence pour surveiller la déforestation en Indonésie. 
  • Halba: pour l’instant, Halba ne possède pas de politique « zéro déforestation », mais y travaille ; la société s’est déjà engagée à compenser toutes les émissions de CO2 de sa chaîne d’approvisionnement grâce à un projet d’agroforesterie et de reboisement au Honduras ; à ce jour, Halba a planté plus de 350 000 arbres au Honduras, au Pérou et au Ghana et s’est engagée dans des pratiques d’agroforesterie dans tous les pays où la société s’approvisionne en cacao, avec un objectif de 70 arbres d’ombrage par hectare.
  • Nestlé :  Nestlé est signataire de la « Cocoa & Forests Initiative » et mène également sur le long terme une politique générale « zéro déforestation » pour ses principales matières premières, y compris le cacao. 
  • Unilever: Afin de mettre un terme à la déforestation liée au cacao, nous nous engageons à nous approvisionner exclusivement en cacao durable, au niveau mondial, toutes zones confondues. De même, notre engagement en matière de lutte contre la déforestation concerne toutes nos matières premières. 

Il est grand temps que l’ensemble du secteur assainisse ses pratiques et adopte rapidement des politiques « zéro déforestation » solides et mondiales pour le cacao. Nous pensons particulièrement aux sociétés dont l’implication dans des chaînes illégales d’approvisionnement de cacao de déforestation (le cacao étant parfois cultivé à l’intérieur de parcs nationaux) avait été identifiée par Mighty Earth dans son dernier rapport.

Nous demandons donc au secteur du chocolat d’agir comme il se doit et d’envoyer pour la Saint-Valentin un message d’espoir aux paresseux du Pérou, aux jaguars d’Équateur et aux Anoas d’Indonésie en sauvant les forêts dans lesquelles ils vivent.

Célèbes : Partie d’une région productrice de cacao en Indonésie, avant et après déforestation

Avant, 2000

Après, 2016

Partie d’une région productrice de cacao au Pérou, avant et après déforestation 

Avant, 2000

Après, 2016

Partie d’une région productrice de cacao en Équateur, avant et après déforestation

Avant, 2000

Après, 2016

Partie d’une région productrice de cacao au Cameroun, avant et après déforestation 

Avant, 2000
Après, 2016

Notes sur la déforestation liée à la production de cacao, au-delà de l’Afrique de l’Ouest :

Au niveau mondial : Au niveau mondial, le déboisement provoqué par la production de cacao, de 1988 à 2008, est estimé approximativement à 2-3 millions d’hectares. Ceci équivaut à 1 % environ de l’ensemble du déboisement. [i] Entre 1990 et 2008, le cacao représentait 8 % de la déforestation importée par les 27 États membres de l’UE. [ii] En se déployant, la culture du cacao menace de nouvelles forêts. « De 2000 à 2014, la production mondiale de fèves de cacao a augmenté de 32 %, passant de 3,4 à 4,5 millions de tonnes — alors que l’empreinte écologique causée par l’utilisation des terres pour les plantations de cacao a bondi à 37 % — passant de 7,6 à 10,4 millions d’hectares. »[iii] Depuis 2007, la cacaoculture s’étend à des pays comme la Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée, la Malaisie, la République dominicaine, le Libéria, l’Ouganda, la Colombie et la République de Sierra Leone. Elle est susceptible de fragiliser des forêts déjà vulnérables.

Indonésie : L’Indonésie est connue pour sa déforestation liée à l’exploitation de l’huile de palme, du bois et du papier. Mais la cacaoculture s’y est également développée. Le pays se hisse aujourd’hui au rang de 3e producteur mondial de cacao. Entre 1988 et 2007, près de 0,7 million d’hectares de forêts ont été défrichés en Indonésie pour la production de cacao, ce qui équivaut à près de 9 % de la déforestation nationale liée à l’agriculture. [iv] La déforestation mise en évidence par nos cartes ci-dessus se situe dans « l’île du cacao », les Célèbes, où la plupart des 850 000 tonnes annuelles [v] sont produites. En 2017, près de 63 % de la production indonésienne de cacao se concentrait dans l’île des Célèbes. Ses principales régions productrices sont le Sulawesi occidental (18 % de la production indonésienne), le Sulawesi du Sud-Est (17 %) et le Sulawesi du Sud (16 %). [vi] Un expert a rapporté à Mighty Earth qu’à l’exception des plaines alluviales au nord de Mamuju (sur la côte ouest, face à Bornéo) qui ont été partiellement déboisées au milieu des années 1990 par les producteurs d’huile de palme, presque toute la déforestation des Célèbes a pour origine le cacao. Cette déforestation est particulièrement sensible dans les collines (en général, à partir de 20 km de la côte). [vii]

Cameroun : Le cacao devient aussi un facteur de déforestation dans le bassin du Congo, là où se trouvent les plus grandes forêts tropicales intactes au monde. Les statistiques de l’ITC sur les exportations de fèves de cacao indiquent que les exportations du Cameroun sont passées de 131 075 tonnes en 2007 à 263 746 tonnes en 2016. Ces chiffres laissent supposer que le nombre de cacaoyers a doublé (sachant que les récoltes commencent 3 à 5 ans après la plantation), et que certains d’entre eux ont probablement été plantés sur des forêts. En 2012, le gouvernement du Cameroun a annoncé son intention d’intensifier la production de cacao pour la propulser à 600 000 tonnes annuelles d’ici 2020 (contre 225 000 tonnes actuellement). Cette initiative menacerait davantage de forêts, bien que d’après le directeur général de la Société de développement du cacao au Cameroun, ces projets d’expansion de la cacaoculture tournent court. [viii] Déjà en 2014, près de 11 % de l’empreinte écologique des récoltes du Cameroun correspondaient à la production de cacao. La déforestation mise en évidence par nos cartes ci-dessus se situe dans le département de Manyu, dans la région du sud-ouest du Cameroun. Manyu et Meme sont les deux départements du Cameroun où se concentre la production de cacao. [ix] La région du Sud-Ouest produirait à elle seule près de la moitié du cacao du Cameroun. [x] Mamfé est la capitale du cacao du département de Manyu. Depuis novembre 2016, de violents affrontements opposent les séparatistes aux forces de l’ordre. Ces affrontements ont coupé de nombreux acheteurs camerounais des circuits traditionnels de vente. Du cacao serait depuis exporté illégalement vers le Nigeria. [xi] Chez son voisin le Nigeria, on estime que le cacao a contribué, de 1990 à 2008, à 8 % de la déforestation nationale. [xii]

Amazonie péruvienne : Les producteurs de cacao se sont aussi tournés vers l’Amérique du Sud, en particulier vers le Pérou. Les statistiques de l’ITC sur les exportations de fèves de cacao indiquent que les exportations ont progressé, passant de 4 263 tonnes en 2007 à 61 888 tonnes en 2016. La production de cacao aurait été multipliée par 15. Des images satellites de 2012 ont surpris United Cacao en train de détruire près de 2000 hectares de terres pour les convertir en plantation de cacao, mordant sur la forêt amazonienne du Pérou, riche en biodiversité et en carbone. Les plantations de cacao au Pérou ont dû atteindre les 129 842 hectares en 2016. [xiii] La déforestation mise en évidence par nos cartes ci-dessus s’est produite principalement dans les régions d’Ucayali, de Huanuco et de San Martin.

Équateur : Les statistiques de l’ITC sur les exportations de fèves de cacao indiquent que les exportations de l’Équateur ont presque triplé, passant de 80 093 tonnes en 2007 à 227 214 tonnes en 2016. Les zones de cacaoculture ont progressé de 16 600 hectares, entre 2000 et 2008, dans les provinces de Sucumbíos et de Napo. Avec les cultures de plantes fourragères, de cacao et d’huile de palme, le secteur agricole est le principal responsable de la déforestation en Équateur. [xiv] On estime que le cacao est cultivé sur 16 100 hectares dans la province de Sucumbíos et sur 13 500 hectares dans la province d’Orellana. [xv] La déforestation mise en évidence par nos cartes ci-dessus se situe dans les provinces d’Orellana et de Sucumbíos.


Forêt détruite par la culture du cacao © Mighty Earth 2017

Sacs de fèves prêts à être expédiés © Mighty Earth 2017

Jaguar en Équateur © 123RF

Anoa d’Indonésie © 123RF

Paresseux du Pérou © 123RF


Sources:
[i] Kroeger, A. et al. (2017) Eliminating Deforestation from the Cocoa Supply Chain. World Bank Group, March 2017.
[ii] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/1.%20Report%20analysis%20of%20impact.pdf
[iii] https://resourcetrade.earth/stories/cocoa-trade-climate-change-and-deforestation#section-171
[iv] FAOSTAT and European Commission. The impact of EU consumption on deforestation: Comprehensive analysis of the impact EU consumption on deforestation. 2013. Technical Report 063.
[v] https://www.rikolto.org/en/project/cocoa-sulawesi-indonesia
[vi] Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, Directorate General of Estate Crops, Tree Crop Estate Statistics of Indonesia, 2015-2017 cocoa, http://bit.ly/2FUaEBO
[vii] Email exchange with Francois Ruf, February 2018.
[viii] Thomson Reuters Foundation, Extreme weather threatens Cameroon’s hopes of becoming a cocoa giant, 7 June 2017, http://tmsnrt.rs/2nhEXvn.
[ix] International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), Cameroon, http://bit.ly/2EJoYxz.
[x] Reuters, Unrest in Cameroon fuels cocoa smuggling to Nigeria, 16 January 2018, http://reut.rs/2BcYlBk.
[xi]Business in Cameroon, Cameroon’s cocoa production taken over by Nigeria, 29 July 2017, http://bit.ly/2sgGOFE.
Reuters, Unrest in Cameroon fuels cocoa smuggling to Nigeria, 16 January 2018, http://reut.rs/2BcYlBk.
[xii] www.ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/1.%20Report%20analysis%20of%20impact.pdf
[xiv] Satellite images in 2012 showed United Cacao destroying nearly 5000 acres of land for a cocoa plantation, encroaching on the carbon-rich, biodiverse Amazon rainforest in Peru: http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/06/zooming-%E2%80%9Csustainable%E2%80%9D-cocoa-producer-destroys-pristine-forest-peru.
See also: https://news.mongabay.com/2015/01/company-chops-down-rainforest-to-produce-sustainable-chocolate/ and http://maaproject.org/2015/image-9-cacao-tamshiyacu/  for how Matt Finer of the Amazon Conservation Association used Landsat imagery to chronicle the clearing month-by-month and prove that the area was previously primary forest. Meanwhile, Greg Asner of Stanford University’s Carnegie Institution for Science used airborne LiDAR technology to estimate that the patch of forest contained an average of 122 metric tons of carbon per hectare (54.4 tons per acre).” (WRI: http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/08/how-much-rainforest-chocolate-bar and https://cao.carnegiescience.edu/ ).
[xv] UNDP and Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment (MAE), Sustainable Development of the Ecuadorian Amazon: integrated management of multiple use landscapes and high value conservation forests, March 2015, http://bit.ly/2mE6Sp2.
[xvi] Revista Nera, Oswaldo Viteri Salazar and Jesús Ramos-Martín, Organizational structure and commercialization of coffee and cocoa in the northern amazon region of Ecuador, January-April 2017, http://bit.ly/2Dd4Wyb

ITC Trade in Cocoa Beans, 2007-2016


Tu cacao, besado por la deforestación

Tu cacao, besado por la deforestación

La destrucción de los bosques a causa del cacao en Costa de Marfil y Ghana han sido muy bien documentadas, incluyendo el informe más reciente de Mighty Earth, “El secreto más oscuro del chocolate”. Actualmente, nuevas investigaciones revelan que el cacao está impulsando la deforestación en otras regiones del mundo, desde Asia hasta el Amazonas.

Mighty Earth tomo a su cargo la zonificación de las regiones productoras de cacao en cuatro países fuera de África occidental y descubrió un alto riesgo de deforestación en varias zonas productoras de cacao.

Mediante detallado mapeo satelital y superposición de mapas sobre la deforestación en las regiones productoras de cacao hemos encontrado deforestación a gran escala en regiones productoras de Indonesia, Camerún, Perú y Ecuador.

Este día de San Valentín el mapeo del cacao amerita una investigación más detallada de las empresas impulsoras de la deforestación a nivel mundial que indague cuanto de esa deforestación se atribuye al cacao en relación a otros “commodities” Lo que sin embargo está muy claro es que la industria del chocolate, actualmente se está expandiendo a países como Indonesia, Perú, Ecuador y Camerún que aún se jactan de poseer bosques tropicales. Con la creciente demanda de chocolate está industria está en riesgo de expandirse vertiginosamente hacia naciones alrededor del mundo que cuentan con bosques tropicales y en muchos lugares incluso exportar las mismas malas prácticas que han contribuido a la casi total destrucción de los bosques de África Occidental. Costa de Marfil y Ghana son la moraleja de lo que podría pasar en otros países donde el cultivo de cacao se está expandiendo, si la industria no reforma sus prácticas.

Después de nuestro informe en el otoño de 2O17, 24 empresas líderes de la industria del chocolate se unieron al gobierno de Ghana y de Costa de Marfil en el compromiso de no incurrir en nuevas deforestaciones, reforestar y hacer el seguimiento de la industria en África Occidental.

Estas compañías y los gobiernos tienen mucho por hacer para cumplir sus promesas, solo unas cuantas han realizado un compromiso global de cacao libre de deforestación. Es tiempo que el resto de la industria del chocolate haga lo mismo.

Olam International y Hershey’s se han comprometido al cacao “cero deforestación” a nivel mundial, de vigencia inmediata y a la agroforesteria. Otros pocos se comprometieron a un cambio pronto:  Barry Callebaut apunta a lograr cacao libre de deforestación hasta el año 2025 mientras que Godiva prometió desarrollar pronto una política cruzada – que incluye el cacao. Otros, como Still se han comprometido a obtener Cacao (de varios orígenes) Libre de Deforestación fuera de África Occidental pero aún no a nivel mundial.  Las empresas que luchan para frenar la deforestación a causa del cacao y la repoblación (reverdecimiento) del cacao, están mundialmente sentando un precedente para la industria, yendo más allá la Iniciativa del Cacao y Bosques, enviando San Valentín a la fauna amenazada desde el Asia hasta el Amazonas.

  • Hershey: Nos enorgullece comprometernos a la ‘no deforestación’ en nuestra cadena de suministro evitando abastecernos del cacao de cualquier lugar en el mundo donde hayan sucedido nuevas deforestaciones, esto con efecto inmediato, así como también a la creación de programas de agroforesteria para apoyar el cacao cultivado a la sombra mediante programas de plantación de árboles.
  • Barry Callebaut: Bajo nuestra visión de sustentabilidad ‘Chocolate para Siempre’, Barry Callebaut se ha comprometido a ser Bosque y Carbón Positivo y a abastecernos de ingredientes de manera sostenible, libres de deforestación hasta 2025.
  • Godiva: En el marco de nuestro compromiso de enriquecer a nuestras comunidades y al planeta, Godiva está actualizando nuestro Código de Conducta Global de Abastecimiento para asegurar que los proveedores de los commodities de nuestros ingredientes – incluido el cacao– continúe estableciendo programas de abastecimiento que combatan la deforestación y la degradación de los bosques.
  • Olam International: Olam Cacao está comprometido a detener la deforestación en su cadena global de suministro, la misma que incluye capacitación de agricultores sobre Practicas Climáticas Inteligentes y programas de plantación de árboles de sombra. En Costa de Marfil, Olam escalo en sus recomendaciones a los agricultores sobre plantación de árboles – recomendando 100 arboles de uso forestal y 50 arboles de sombra por hectárea. En su abastecimiento directo, la meta del Cacao de Olam es que 100% de sus volúmenes puedan ser rastreables y sostenibles hasta 2020.
  • Mondelēz: Desde 2012 nuestro objetivo es abastecernos de cacao sostenible, principalmente de Cacao Life que opera en seis países incluyendo Indonesia con un enfoque medioambiental que incluye la no deforestación. Realizamos capacitaciones para la conservación de bosque en todos los lugares donde nos proveemos de cacao y apoyamos el cacao producido bajo sombra, intercultivos y agroforesteria. Estamos ya realizando un estudio de línea base para el seguimiento de la deforestación en Indonesia.
  • Halba: Halba aún no tiene una política para el cacao, pero está trabajando en ello, y la empresa está ya comprometida a compensar todas sus emisiones de CO2 de su cadena de suministros a través de un programa de reforestación y agraforesteria en Honduras; hasta ahora Halba ha plantado más de 350.000 arboles maderables en Honduras, Perú y Ghana y se ha comprometido a la agroforesteria en todos los países donde compra cacao, apuntando a 70 árboles de sombra por hectárea.
  • Nestlé: Nestlé es signataria de la Iniciativa de Cacao y Bosques y témenos una larga trayectoria de políticas de no deforestación para nuestros commodities claves, incluyendo el cacao.
  • Unilever: En términos de compromisos globales para detener la deforestación por el cacao, nuestro compromiso sobre abastecimiento sostenible del 100% de nuestro cacao es orden global y no geográficamente especifico. De manera similar, nuestra posición de eliminar la deforestación de nuestra cadena de suministro es también global no especifica con relación al commodity.

Es hora de que toda la industria sanee sus prácticas e implemente políticas robustas de cero deforestación a nivel mundial – especialmente aquella empresas que Mighty Earth nombrado en nuestro último informe como aquellas que están relacionadas a cadenas de suministro de cacao ilegales que proceden incluso del interior de parques nacionales.

Pedimos a la industria del chocolate hacer lo correcto y enviar San Valentín a los perezosos en el Perú, a los jaguares en Ecuador a los búfalos en Indonesia para salvar sus hogares en los bosques.

Sulawesi: Parte de la región productora de cacao en Indonesia, antes y después de la deforestación

Antes del año 2000

Después de 2016

Parte de la región peruana productora de cacao, antes y después de la deforestación

Antes del 2000

Después del 2016

Parte dela región productora de cacao antes y después de la deforestación

Antes del 2000

Después de 2016

Parte de la región productora de cacao camerunense, antes y después de la deforestación

Antes del 2000
Después del 2016

Notas sobre la deforestación por cacao fuera de África Occidental

Globalmente: la perdida de bosque por la producción de cacao fue aproximadamente de 2-3 millones de hectáreas desde 1988 al 2008, lo que equivale al 1% del total de la perdida de bosque. (i)  El cacao representa el 8% de la deforestación incorporadas en EU27 importaciones netas de productos cultivados, 1990-2008 (ii). El cacao se está esparciendo y al hacerlo, amenaza nuevos bosques. “desde 2000 a 2014, la producción global de granos de cacao se incrementó en un 32 por ciento, de 3.3 a 4.5 millones de toneladas – mientras la huella del uso de suelo de plantaciones de cacao  creció en un 37 por ciento – de 7.6 a 10.4 millones de hectáreas” (iii) La producción de cacao ha estado creciendo desde 2007 hasta ahora en países como Papua Nueva Guinea, Malasia, Republica Dominicana, Liberia, Uganda, Colombia, Sierra Leona, probablemente tensionando aún más allí, bosques vulnerables.

Indonesia: Indonesia es notoria por su deforestación a causa del aceite de palma, madera y papel. Sin embargo, la producción de cacao se ha estado expandiendo También aquí y es el tercer país productor de cacao en el mundo. Entre 1988 y 2007, un Estimado de 0.7 millones de hectáreas de bosques indoneses fueron despejados para la producción de cacao, lo que equivale al 9% del total nacional de la deforestación para cultivos (iv) La deforestación que muestran nuestros mapas arriba están en la “isla de cacao” de Sulawesi, de donde proviene la mayor parte de las 850,000 toneladas anuales de cacao que produce Indonesia (v). En 2017, cerca al 63% de la producción de cacao de Indonesia se concentra en la Isla de Sulawesi. Las provincias en Sulawesi que producen la mayor parte de cacao están en el Sulawesi Oeste (18 % del total de Indonesia), Sulawesi Sudeste (17%) y Sulawesi Sud (16% (vi). Un experto le comento a Mighty Earth que a excepción de las planicies aluviales en la región Norte de Mamuju (Costa Oeste, colindante a Borneo) que fue parcialmente deforestada a mitad de los 1990’s por empresas de aceite de palma, casi toda la deforestación en Sulawesi es por el cacao, especialmente en las Colinas (en general todo lo que está 20 kilómetros atrás de la línea costera) (vii)

Camerún: El cacao también se ha convertido en impulsor de la deforestación en la Cuenca del Congo, los grandes bosques tropicales más intactos del mundo. Las estadísticas del grano de cacao de ITC muestran un incremento en las exportaciones de Camerún de 131,075 en 2007 a 263,746en 2016, lo que sugiere que el doble de árboles de cacao fueron pantados (nótese que la cosecha empieza de 3-5 anos después de realizada la plantación, algunos de los cuales fue probablemente en los bosques. En 2012, el gobierno de Camerún anuncio planes de incrementar la producción de árboles de cacao de alrededor de 225,000 toneladas anuales a 600,000 toneladas para 2020, un movimiento que pondría más bosques en riesgo. (lo que, sin embargo, de acuerdo al director general de la Corporación de Cacao de Camerún, estos planes de expandir el cacao se quedan cortos) (viii) Ya en 2014 más del 11% de la huella del uso de suelo de la producción de cultivo en Camerún fue para el cacao. La deforestación que muestran nuestros mapas arriba es en la división Manyu de la provincia de la región sudeste de Camerún. Manyu y Meme son las dos divisiones en Camerún con la más alta producción de cacao (ix) Se dice que la provincia de la región sud-oeste produce aproximadamente la mitad del cacao de Camerún. (x) Manfe es la capital del cacao en la división Manyu. Desde noviembre de 2016, han ocurrido enfrentamiento violentos entre separatistas y las fuerzas de seguridad. Estos enfrentamientos cortan las rutas tradicionales para muchos de los compradores cameruneses y por esto, parte del cacao es reportado ilegalmente exportado a Nigeria (xi) En la vecina Nigeria, se estima que el cacao ha contribuido con un 8% de la deforestación nacional, 1990-2008 (xii).

Amazonas peruano: Los productor de cacao También se han establecido en sud América, especialmente en Perú. Las estadísticas del grano de cacao de ITC muestran un incremento de 4.263 toneladas en 2007 a 61,888 en 2016. Esto indicaría un aumento en 15 veces la producción de cacao. Las imágenes satelitales en 2012 atraparon in flagrante delito a United Cacao destruyendo cerca de 5000 acres de terreno para plantación de cacao, invadiendo el biodiverso bosque tropical amazónico en Perú. Las plantaciones de cacao en Perú alcanzaron a 129,842 hectáreas en 2016 (xiii) La deforestación que muestran nuestros mapas arriba fueron encontradas en las provincias de Ucayali, Huanuco y San Martin.

Ecuador: Las estadísticas de granos de cacao de exportación de ITC muestran un aumento de 80,093 en 2007 a 227,214 en 2016 casi el triple de aumento. El área cultivada de cacao en las provincias de Sucumbios, Orellana y Napo se incrementaron en 16,600 hectáreas en 2000-2008. El sector agricultor es el principal impulsor de la deforestación ecuatoriana, mediante el cultivo de pastizales para Ganado, cacao y aceite de palma. El cacao se produce sobre un área estimada de 16,100 hectáreas en la provincia de Sucumbios y 13,500 hectáreas en la provincia de Orellana. La deforestación mostrada en nuestros mapas arriba es en las provincias de Orellana y Sucumbios.


Bosques destruidos por el cacao  © Mighty Earth 2017

Bolsas de cacao siendo preparados para su envió © Mighty Earth 2017

Jaguar en Ecuador, © 123RF

Búfalo enano de Sulawesi, © 123RF

Perezoso peruano, © 123RF


Fuentes:

[i] Kroeger, A. et al. (2017) Eliminating Deforestation from the Cocoa Supply Chain. World Bank Group, March 2017.
[ii] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/1.%20Report%20analysis%20of%20impact.pdf
[iii] https://resourcetrade.earth/stories/cocoa-trade-climate-change-and-deforestation#section-171 
[iv] FAOSTAT and European Commission. The impact of EU consumption on deforestation: Comprehensive analysis of the impact EU consumption on deforestation. 2013. Technical Report 063.
[v] https://www.rikolto.org/en/project/cocoa-sulawesi-indonesia
[vi] Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, Directorate General of Estate Crops, Tree Crop Estate Statistics of Indonesia, 2015-2017 cocoa, http://bit.ly/2FUaEBO
[vii] Email exchange with Francois Ruf, February 2018.
[viii] Thomson Reuters Foundation, Extreme weather threatens Cameroon’s hopes of becoming a cocoa giant, 7 June 2017, http://tmsnrt.rs/2nhEXvn.
[ix] International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), Cameroon, http://bit.ly/2EJoYxz.
[x] Reuters, Unrest in Cameroon fuels cocoa smuggling to Nigeria, 16 January 2018, http://reut.rs/2BcYlBk.
[xi]Business in Cameroon, Cameroon’s cocoa production taken over by Nigeria, 29 July 2017, http://bit.ly/2sgGOFE.
Reuters, Unrest in Cameroon fuels cocoa smuggling to Nigeria, 16 January 2018, http://reut.rs/2BcYlBk.
[xii] www.ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/1.%20Report%20analysis%20of%20impact.pdf
[xiv] Satellite images in 2012 showed United Cacao destroying nearly 5000 acres of land for a cocoa plantation, encroaching on the carbon-rich, biodiverse Amazon rainforest in Perú: http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/06/zooming-%E2%80%9Csustainable%E2%80%9D-cocoa-producer-destroys-pristine-forest-peru.
See also: https://news.mongabay.com/2015/01/company-chops-down-rainforest-to-produce-sustainable-chocolate/ and http://maaproject.org/2015/image-9-cacao-tamshiyacu/  for how Matt Finer of the Amazon Conservation Association used Landsat imagery to chronicle the clearing month-by-month and prove that the área was previously primary forest. Meanwhile, Greg Asner of Stanford University’s Carnegie Institution for Science used airborne LiDAR technology to estimate that the patch of forest contained an average of 122 metric tons of carbon per hectare (54.4 tons per acre).” (WRI: http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/08/how-much-rainforest-chocolate-bar and https://cao.carnegiescience.edu/ ).
[xv] UNDP and Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment (MAE), Sustainable Development of the Ecuadorian Amazon: integrated management of multiple use landscapes and high value conservation forests, March 2015, http://bit.ly/2mE6Sp2.
[xvi] Revista Nera, Oswaldo Viteri Salazar and Jesús Ramos-Martín, Organizational structure and commercialization of coffee and cocoa in the northern amazon región of Ecuador, January-April 2017, http://bit.ly/2Dd4Wyb.


Your Cocoa, Kissed By Deforestation

Your Cocoa, Kissed By Deforestation

The destruction of forests for cocoa in Ivory Coast and Ghana has been well-documented, including in Mighty Earth’s recent report, “Chocolate’s Dark Secret.” Now, new research shows that cocoa is driving ongoing deforestation in other regions of the world, from Asia to the Amazon. Mighty Earth undertook mapping of cocoa-producing regions in four countries outside of West Africa and found a high risk of deforestation in various cocoa-producing areas.

Through detailed satellite mapping and overlaying maps of deforestation and cocoa-producing regions, we found large-scale deforestation within cocoa-producing regions of Indonesia, Cameroon, Peru, and Ecuador.

This Valentine’s Day mapping warrants more detailed investigations into the companies driving cocoa-deforestation worldwide, and research into how much of the deforestation in the cocoa-producing regions can be attributed to cocoa as opposed to other commodities. What is crystal clear however, is that the chocolate industry is expanding right now in countries like Indonesia, Peru, Ecuador, and Cameroon that still boast extensive rainforests. With demand for chocolate increasing, the chocolate industry risks aggressively expanding to rainforest nations around the world; in many places, exporting the same bad practices that contributed to the near-total destruction of West Africa’s forests. Ivory Coast and Ghana stand as a cautionary tale of what could happen in other countries where cocoa is spreading, if the industry does not reform its practices.

After our report in the fall of 2017, 24 leading chocolate companies joined the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast to commit to No New Deforestation, reforestation, and traceability in West Africa. These companies and the governments have much to do to fulfill these promises. But only a handful of companies have made a global commitment to deforestation-free cocoa. It’s time for the rest of the chocolate industry to do the same.

Olam International and Hershey’s have pledged to zero deforestation for cocoa worldwide effective immediately, and also to agroforestry, and a few more have committed to change soon: Barry Callebaut aims to be deforestation-free for cocoa by 2025 whilst Godiva promised to roll out a cross-commodity No Deforestation policy – that includes cocoa – soon. Still others like Mondelez have committed to No Deforestation Cocoa for several origins beyond West Africa though not worldwide yet. Companies that fight to end deforestation for cocoa and re-green cocoa worldwide are setting a precedent for the industry, going above and beyond the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, and sending a Valentine to endangered animals from Asia to the Amazon.

  • Hershey’s: “We are proud to commit to ‘no new deforestation’ in our cocoa supply chain by not sourcing cocoa from anywhere in the world where new deforestation has occurred, effective immediately, as well as creating an agroforestry program to support shade-grown cocoa through tree planting programs.”
  • Barry Callebaut: “Under our Forever Chocolate sustainability vision Barry Callebaut has committed to become Forest positive and Carbon Positive, and to source all our ingredients sustainably, deforestation free, by 2025.”
  • Godiva:  “As part of our overarching commitment to enriching our communities and the planet Godiva is updating our Global Supplier Code of Conduct to ensure that our ingredient suppliers across all of our commodities – including cocoa – continue to establish sourcing programs that combat deforestation and forest degradation.”
  • Olam International: Olam Cocoa is committed to halting deforestation in its supply chains globally, which includes training farmers on Climate Smart practices and rolling out programs for planting shade trees. In Côte d’Ivoire, Olam scaled up recommendations to farmers on the planting of trees – recommending 100 forestry and 50 shade trees per hectare. In its direct sourcing, Olam Cocoa’s goal is for 100% of volumes to be traceable and sustainable by 2020.
  • Mondelēz: “Since 2012 our ambition is to source all our cocoa sustainably, mainly from Cocoa Life which operates in six countries including Indonesia with an environmental focus that includes No Deforestation for cocoa; we conduct environmental and forest conservation training in all origins where we source cocoa and support shade-grown cocoa, intercropping and agro-forestry and we already conducted a deforestation baseline in Indonesia to monitor deforestation.”
  • Halba: Halba doesn’t have a No Deforestation policy for cocoa yet but is working on it; and the company is already committed to offsetting all CO2 emissions in its supply chain through a reforestation agroforestry project in Honduras; so far Halba planted over 350’000 timber trees in Honduras, Peru and Ghana and committed to agroforestry in all countries where it purchases cocoa, aiming for 70 shade trees per ha. [ no quotes marks here]
  • Nestle:  “Nestlé is a signatory to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative and we also have a long standing overall no deforestation policy for our key commodities, including cocoa.”
  • Unilever: “In terms of global commitments to end deforestation for cocoa, commitment to sourcing 100% of our cocoa sustainably is a global commitment and not geography-specific. Similarly, our global position on eliminating deforestation from our supply chains is not commodity-specific.”

It is high time for the whole industry to clean up its act and move fast to implement robust zero deforestation policies worldwide for cocoa – especially those companies that Mighty Earth had already named in our last report as being connected to illegal deforestation cocoa supply chains, with cocoa coming even from inside national parks.

We’re asking the chocolate industry to do the right thing and send a Valentine to sloths in Peru, jaguars in Ecuador, and dwarf buffalos in Indonesia, by saving their forest homes.

Sulawesi: Part of Indonesian cocoa-producing region, before and after deforestation

Before 2000

After 2016

Part of Peruvian cocoa-producing region, before and after deforestation 

Before, 2000

After, 2016

Part of Ecuadorian cocoa-producing region, before and after deforestation 

Before, 2000

After, 2016

Part of Cameroonian cocoa-producing region, before and after deforestation 

Before, 2000
After, 2016

Notes on deforestation for cocoa beyond West Africa:

Globally: Global forest loss caused by cocoa production was roughly 2-3 million hectares from 1988 to 2008, which equaled approximately 1% of total forest loss.[i] Cocoa represented 8% of deforestation embodied in EU27 net imports of crop products, 1990-2008.[ii] Cocoa is spreading, and as it does, it threatens new forests. “From 2000 to 2014, the global production of cocoa beans increased by 32 per cent – from 3.4 to 4.5 million tonnes – while the land-use footprint of cocoa plantations grew by 37 per cent – from 7.6 to 10.4 million hectares.”[iii] Cocoa production has been growing from 2007 to now in countries like Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic, Liberia, Uganda, Colombia, Sierra Leone, likely stressing already vulnerable forests there.

Indonesia: Indonesia is notorious for deforestation for palm oil, timber, and paper. However, cocoa production has been expanding there too, and it is the 3rd biggest cocoa producer in the world. Between 1988 and 2007, an estimated 0.7 million ha of Indonesian forest were cleared for cocoa production, which equals about 9% of total national deforestation for crops.[iv] The deforestation shown in our maps above is in the “cocoa island” of Sulawesi, where most of Indonesia’s 850,000 tons of cocoa a year[v] comes from. In 2017, around 63% of Indonesian cocoa production was concentrated on Sulawesi Island. The provinces within Sulawesi that produce most cocoa are West Sulawesi (18% of Indonesia’s total), South-East Sulawesi (17%) and South Sulawesi (16%).[vi] An expert told Mighty Earth that with the exception of the alluvial plains in the region North of Mamuju (West coats, facing Borneo) which was partly deforested in the mid 1990s by oil palm companies, almost all the deforestation in Sulawesi is for cocoa, especially in the hills (in general everything beyond 20 km from the coastal line). [vii]

Cameroon: Cocoa is also becoming a driver of deforestation in the Congo Basin, the most intact of the world’s great rainforests. Cocoa beans export statistics from ITC show an export increase by Cameroon from 131,075 in 2007 to 263,746 in tons in 2016, suggesting a doubling of cocoa trees were planted (noting that harvests start 3-5 years after planting), some of which was likely in forests. In 2012, Cameroon’s government announced plans to increase cocoa production from around 225,000 tonnes annually to 600,000 tonnes by 2020 – a move which would put more forests at risk. (though according to the director-general of the Cameroon Cocoa Development Corporation, these plans to expand cocoa are falling short).[viii] Already in 2014 over 11% of the land footprint of crop production in Cameroon was for cocoa. The deforestation shown in our maps above is in the Manyu division of South-West Region province of Cameroon. Manyu and Meme are the two divisions in Cameroon with the highest production of cacao.[ix] The South-West Region province is said to produce roughly half of Cameroon’s cacao.[x] Mamfé is the cacao capital of Manyu division. Since November 2016, there have been violent clashes between separatists and security forces. These clashes cut many Cameroonian buyers off from traditional sales routes, and thus some cocoa is reportedly illegally exported to Nigeria.[xi] In neighboring Nigeria, cocoa was estimated to contribute to 8% of national deforestation, 1990-2008.[xii]

Peruvian Amazon: Cocoa producers have also turned to South America, especially Peru. Cocoa beans export statistics from ITC show an export increase from 4,263 tons in 2007 to 61,888 in 2016. This would indicate a fifteen-fold increase in cocoa production. Satellite images in 2012 caught United Cacao red-handed destroying nearly 5000 acres of land for a cocoa plantation, encroaching on the carbon-rich, biodiverse Amazon rainforest in Peru. Peru’s cacao planting may have reached 129,842 hectares in 2016.[xiii] The deforestation shown in our maps above was found most in the provinces of Ucayali, Huanuco and San Martin.

Ecuador: Cocoa beans export statistics from ITC show an export increase from 80,093 tons in 2007 to 227,214 in 2016 – almost a three-fold increase. The cultivated area of cocoa in the provinces of Sucumbíos, Orellana and Napo increased by 16,600 hectares in 2000-2008. The agricultural sector is the main driver of Ecuadorean deforestation, through cultivation of pastures for livestock, cocoa and oil palm.[xiv] Cocoa is produced on an estimated 16,100 hectares in the province of Sucumbios and 13,500 hectares in the province of Orellana.[xv] The deforestation shown in our maps above is in the Orellana and Sucumbíos provinces.


Forest destroyed for cocoa © Mighty Earth 2017

Bags of cocoa being prepared for shipment © Mighty Earth 2017

Jaguar in Ecuador, (c) 123RF

Indonesian Dwarf-Buffalo, (c) 123RF

Peruvian sloth, (c) 123RF


Sources:
[i] Kroeger, A. et al. (2017) Eliminating Deforestation from the Cocoa Supply Chain. World Bank Group, March 2017.
[ii] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/1.%20Report%20analysis%20of%20impact.pdf
[iii] https://resourcetrade.earth/stories/cocoa-trade-climate-change-and-deforestation#section-171
[iv] FAOSTAT and European Commission. The impact of EU consumption on deforestation: Comprehensive analysis of the impact EU consumption on deforestation. 2013. Technical Report 063.
[v] https://www.rikolto.org/en/project/cocoa-sulawesi-indonesia
[vi] Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, Directorate General of Estate Crops, Tree Crop Estate Statistics of Indonesia, 2015-2017 cocoa, http://bit.ly/2FUaEBO
[vii] Email exchange with Francois Ruf, February 2018.
[viii] Thomson Reuters Foundation, Extreme weather threatens Cameroon’s hopes of becoming a cocoa giant, 7 June 2017, http://tmsnrt.rs/2nhEXvn.
[ix] International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), Cameroon, http://bit.ly/2EJoYxz.
[x] Reuters, Unrest in Cameroon fuels cocoa smuggling to Nigeria, 16 January 2018, http://reut.rs/2BcYlBk.
[xi]Business in Cameroon, Cameroon’s cocoa production taken over by Nigeria, 29 July 2017, http://bit.ly/2sgGOFE.
Reuters, Unrest in Cameroon fuels cocoa smuggling to Nigeria, 16 January 2018, http://reut.rs/2BcYlBk.
[xii] www.ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/1.%20Report%20analysis%20of%20impact.pdf
[xiv] Satellite images in 2012 showed United Cacao destroying nearly 5000 acres of land for a cocoa plantation, encroaching on the carbon-rich, biodiverse Amazon rainforest in Peru: http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/06/zooming-%E2%80%9Csustainable%E2%80%9D-cocoa-producer-destroys-pristine-forest-peru.
See also: https://news.mongabay.com/2015/01/company-chops-down-rainforest-to-produce-sustainable-chocolate/ and http://maaproject.org/2015/image-9-cacao-tamshiyacu/  for how Matt Finer of the Amazon Conservation Association used Landsat imagery to chronicle the clearing month-by-month and prove that the area was previously primary forest. Meanwhile, Greg Asner of Stanford University’s Carnegie Institution for Science used airborne LiDAR technology to estimate that the patch of forest contained an average of 122 metric tons of carbon per hectare (54.4 tons per acre).” (WRI: http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/08/how-much-rainforest-chocolate-bar and https://cao.carnegiescience.edu/ ).
[xv] UNDP and Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment (MAE), Sustainable Development of the Ecuadorian Amazon: integrated management of multiple use landscapes and high value conservation forests, March 2015, http://bit.ly/2mE6Sp2.
[xvi] Revista Nera, Oswaldo Viteri Salazar and Jesús Ramos-Martín, Organizational structure and commercialization of coffee and cocoa in the northern amazon region of Ecuador, January-April 2017, http://bit.ly/2Dd4Wyb

ITC Trade in Cocoa Beans, 2007-2016


Controversy Erupts at Tyson Shareholder Meeting

Feb 8, 2018 Springdale, AR — Frustrated shareholders submitted a resolution at Tyson Foods’ annual meeting today pushing Tyson to address the egregious pollution driven by the company’s operations and supply chain. A coalition of local and national organizations gathered outside the meeting to voice concerns about the massive amounts of manure, nitrogen, and phosphorus gushing into waterways across the country including the Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River, and Gulf of Mexico.

“Tyson’s leadership has stated an ambition to be the most sustainable protein company in the world, bar none,” noted Lucia von Reusner, Campaign Director for Mighty Earth. “That’s an exciting vision, but now Tyson needs to actually stop polluting if they want the public to embrace their new mission.”

Tyson Foods has recently made significant investments in “clean meat” company Memphis Meats and plant-based protein company “Beyond Meat,” and CEO Tom Hayes has put sustainability at the center of his mission for the company, even leading with the issue during a recent interview on CNBC’s Mad Money. But the company has yet to show results in delivering the necessary change in its core business, threatening its marketing.

Mighty Earth chronicled how Tyson Foods was contributing to contamination of drinking water and the creation of last summer’s record-sized Gulf of Mexico dead zone in a groundbreaking analysis of agricultural pollution.

"Conventional agriculture—relying on concentrated animal production and non-diverse row crops—is the overwhelming source of Iowa’s polluted surface waters,” noted Bill Stowe, CEO of Des Moines Water Works, which made national headlines for suing upstream counties where Tyson has major facilities for contaminating downstream water supplies in Iowa. “As food consumers, we can leverage our power to encourage mega corporations, like Tyson, to improve supply chain behavior that protect rather than ravage our environment and our communities."

Mighty Earth’s #CleanItUpTyson campaign urges the industry’s largest and most polluting company to adopt more sustainable agricultural practices, and has spread to nine regions impacted by Tyson’s pollution across the country. Over 85,000 petition signatures from these regions will be delivered outside the company’s annual meeting, and representatives from affected communities will be speaking to media.

“Communities across the country are rightly concerned about the implications of allowing one of America’s largest polluters to move in and set up shop,” commented Jay Ford, Executive Director of Virginia Eastern Shorekeepers, an environmental group pushing back against Tyson’s proposed expansion in the Chesapeake Bay due to water contamination concerns. “The Delmarva Peninsula is echoing the same concerns that citizens of Tonganoxie, Kansas cited when they blocked Tyson’s expansion plans- clean up or get out.”

The shareholder resolution, urging stronger action to reduce water contamination, was filed by a coalition of faith-based investors, who are concerned about the company’s ongoing track record of water contamination and the long-term impact on shareholder value as a result. This is the fourth year the resolution will be filed, earning growing support from shareholders each year, yet Tyson’s leadership has so far refused to respond.

“Tyson shareholders continue to file this resolution, which has garnered mounting support and a majority vote of Class A shareholders, because of the material risk to Tyson’s business, brand, and growth potential if it fails to set in place policies needed to govern sustainable and responsible operations,” stated Mary Beth Gallagher, Executive Director for the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, which filed the shareholder proposal.

“Companies are increasingly realizing that being a responsible corporate citizen that protects the health and well-being of communities and consumers is critical for long-term success,” noted Walter Hinojosa of the Northwest Arkansas Labor Council. “Having the reputation as one of America’s largest polluters is not something anyone wants or is proud of, and we hope that Tyson will step up as a leader in delivering solutions that keep our waters clean and communities healthy.”

About Mighty Earth: 

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, and North America to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights. Mighty Earth’s global team has played a decisive role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at http://www.mightyearth.org/.


Victory! Bridgestone, World’s Largest Tire & Rubber Company, Announces End to Deforestation, Land Grabbing

Today, Bridgestone Tires, the world’s largest tire and rubber company, released a new Global Sustainable Procurement Policy that commits to protecting rainforests that are critical habitat for wildlife like gibbons, orangutans, tigers, and elephants, as well as addressing labor and human rights abuses. This announcement makes Bridgestone the third major tire company to commit to a “No Deforestation, No Exploitation” policy.

“With Bridgestone’s announcement, deforestation-free rubber production is becoming the standard market expectation,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director Kristin Urquiza. “Companies that want to sell rubber should know that engaging in deforestation or land grabbing means losing access to international markets. We’re seeing a total revolution in the tire and rubber industries happen before our eyes.

“Bridgestone is showing it’s serious about conservation and human rights by requiring suppliers to protect High Carbon Stock and High Conservation Value lands and respect the right of local communities to provide Free, Prior and Informed Consent about the use of their land. Bridgestone’s use of the credible High Carbon Stock Approach as its sustainability standard shows suppliers the company means business when it comes to sustainability.

“Now, Bridgestone needs to hold true to its mission to be the clear and absolute leader, or dan-totsu, by making this policy’s implementation plans and timeline public, including their plans to restore forests to mitigate past damage and ban hazardous pesticides.

“Bridgestone has already shown it has the capacity for conservation leadership through its donation of the 10,000-acre Centennial Wilderness Area to the State of Tennessee; it now needs to extend this model of positive environmental stewardship to landscapes in Southeast Asia and West Africa where it is desperately needed.”

Bridgestone’s policy will immediately have a significant impact; the company (sometimes operating through the Firestone brand) directly operates plantations across Southeast Asia and Africa, and sources rubber from suppliers who affect millions more acres. We are grateful to the Arcus Foundation and the Norwegian International Climate & Forest Initiative for making this campaign possible.

Demand for natural rubber is driven by the production of tires for the more than one billion vehicles – commercial, passenger, and aircraft – that operate around the globe. Much of the expansion of natural rubber plantations to meet rising global demand has come from extremely rapid deforestation in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar, home to endangered species like gibbons, tigers, and elephants. From 2001-2014, tree cover loss in Cambodia accelerated faster than any country in the world, according to data from the World Resources’ Institute Global Forest Watch. Indonesia, a global deforestation hotspot, is the world’s largest rubber producer, and Bridgestone/Firestone operates the world’s largest rubber plantation in Liberia, spanning more than a million acres.

The tire industry accounts for at least 70 percent of global natural rubber consumption with the top five brands - Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, and Pirelli – accounting for about half of the industry’s consumption. Michelin has previously adopted a strong No Deforestation policy and Pirelli recently announced a sustainable rubber policy. Goodyear and Continental need to join the race towards a responsible tire industry while there are still forests left to save. We’ve got to wonder what these companies have to hide.

“There’s a lot at stake,” Urquiza said. “By some estimates, deforestation for rubber between now and 2024 could release the same amount of carbon dioxide as the country of India does annually.

“The entire tire and rubber industries need to defuse this rubber carbon bomb. In order to make sure practices actually change on the ground, there needs to be industry-wide action against deforestation. We look forward to working with relevant stakeholders to adapt the best of these systems to the rubber industry to immediately eliminate deforestation and land grabbing.”

“Many of the world’s largest companies have committed to eliminate tropical deforestation by 2020,” said Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz. “With the rubber industry moving towards action, laggards like the soy industry should catch up.”


Palm Oil Producer POSCO Daewoo dropped by UK drugstore chain Boots over deforestation, claims to have temporarily suspended forest clearing

The UK’s largest drugstore retailer, Boots, reports that it has ended a retail partnership with POSCO Daewoo, following a letter sent by Mighty Earth and the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements to parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance that highlighted POSCO Daewoo’s role in driving deforestation and called on the company to take action. Mighty Earth’s satellite imagery and field investigation found that Posco Daewoo has cleared a vast area of over 27,500 hectares (275 square kilometers) of forest at its PT Bio Inti Agrindo (PT BIA) palm oil plantation in Papua, Indonesia.

“In 2016, two brands which were supplied by POSCO were placed on the market for a trial period in 180 Boots UK stores. Since then, and in line with our commitment to halting deforestation, we have terminated the relationship and withdrawn the products from shelves, including boots.com,” a Boots representative told Mighty Earth in an email response.

In addition, POSCO Daewoo has allegedly instituted a temporary moratorium on new forest clearing. According to a recent Politico Europe article, a spokeswoman for POSCO Daewoo, said the company “will not clear any more trees ‘until a professional consulting firm in a field of environmental management gives proper advice on the area.’”

“POSCO Daewoo has been clearing pristine rainforest at a pace unlike almost anything we’ve seen in the past few years,” said Deborah Lapidus, Campaign Director with Mighty Earth. “We’ll believe they stopped clearing when we see it. There hasn’t even been an official public announcement of the move.”

Satellite map showing Posco Daewoo's deforestation at its BT BIA palm oil concession in Papua, Indonesia, as of January 18th, 2018. Forest clearance totals 27,368 hectares, with just over 7,000 hectares of forest remaining. For an interactive version of this map, click here.

POSCO Daewoo is facing mounting pressure from its business partners, the marketplace, and investors to end its deforestation.

Mighty Earth has monitored POSCO Daewoo’s operations in Papua, Indonesia since 2016 through satellite mapping, field investigations, and on-the-ground interviews. The area is the third largest rainforest in the world, home to numerous indigenous communities as well as threatened and endangered species including tree kangaroos and birds of paradise.

In the spring of 2017, as POSCO Daewoo’s first palm oil mill opened and began selling palm oil to global markets, Mighty Earth alerted the world’s largest palm oil buyers to POSCO Daewoo’s deforestation, and received over fifty commitments from major traders and consumer brands, including Boots, that they would not buy POSCO Daewoo’s palm oil because it did not comply with their No Deforestation commitments.

Animation showing deforestation by POSCO Daewoo from February 2017 until January 2018.

In August 2015, the Norwegian Pension Fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, excluded POSCO Daewoo from its portfolio following an independent analysis that concluded that “there is an unacceptable risk that Daewoo, and thus also its parent company POSCO, may be responsible for severe environmental damage in connection with the conversion of tropical forest into oil palm plantations in Indonesia.”

“POSCO Daewoo and other companies that continue to destroy the world’s last ancient rainforests are not only facing enormous losses in the marketplace, but they’re putting their entire business operations in jeopardy around the world,” said Lapidus.  “As Boots has demonstrated, responsible companies do not want to put their brands at risk by being associated with supporting forest destruction.  We applaud Boots’ quick action, and hope it will establish better due diligence to screen future retail partners.”

 


Mighty Earth and Olam Renew Agreement

The World Resources Institute (WRI) moderated a meeting between Mighty Earth and Olam on January 17th 2018, to discuss progress on commitments made by both parties at a similar meeting in January 2017, related to Olam’s plantations in Gabon and its Palm Products trading business. It was acknowledged that the last agreement had been respected and that significant progress has been made across the board. Olam and Mighty Earth agreed on a number of new commitments demonstrating their shared interest in developing sustainable agriculture.

For Palm Products sourcing, both parties agreed to support broader industry moves to improve compliance of suppliers with no-deforestation commitments, and Olam will continue its drive towards greater transparency, engagement and verification with its own suppliers. On its oil palm and rubber operations in Gabon, Olam agreed to wait for the resolution of questions on the application of HCS (High Carbon Stock) methodologies in Gabon for a further year.

Olam shared the progress it has made on its forthcoming global cross-commodities sustainability policy and Mighty agreed to explore conservation and restoration initiatives related to this policy. On Cocoa, Olam reiterated its commitment to halting deforestation across its origins worldwide and both parties affirmed their support for the Cocoa and Forests Initiative.

Mighty Earth and Olam will continue to engage on areas of mutual interest and resolve issues through a process of dialogue.


Support for Cerrado Manifesto Triples, Momentum Builds for Cargill and Bunge to Agree to End Deforestation for Soy, Meat

61 leading meat, dairy and soy companies and retailers announced today their support for the Cerrado Manifesto, a pledge to eliminate clearance of native vegetation in the Brazilian Cerrado for large-scale agriculture. This number represents a tripling of support for the Manifesto since its release in October 2017. We appreciate the leadership of companies like Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Unilever, and Carrefour on this initiative.

Cargill and Bunge, two of the world’s largest agribusinesses that are operating in the areas of Latin America with the highest levels of deforestation, are facing significantly increased pressure from their customers to expand their own success in eliminating deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon to the Brazilian Cerrado, and other priority landscapes in Latin America.

“It’s not just environmentalists calling for an end to senseless and avoidable deforestation in South America,” said Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz. “Cargill and Bunge’s own customers simply don’t understand why their suppliers need to continue driving destruction of native ecosystems when there are half a billion acres of degraded land in South America.”

Mighty Earth, together with a group of technical experts, academics, companies, and civil society organizations has developed a technical proposal for a land-use change monitoring system for soy-growing areas in Latin America. The cost would be between $750,000 and $1,000,000 to establish, one seventy-thousandth of these companies’ annual profit. Once the system is up and running, the annual cost could drop to possibly half that amount.

“The wide support for the Cerrado Manifesto clearly shows that major companies want to break their links to deforestation through their supply chains. The world has through the Sustainable Development Goals agreed to stop deforestation by 2020, but a company like Cargill has not set a similar goal for itself. It is time for all suppliers, including Cargill and Bunge, to take a firm stand against deforestation, and support a non-acceptance of further destruction,” says Nils Hermann Ranum, head of policy and campaigns at Rainforest Foundation Norway.

The Manifesto was released on October 25, 2017 with 23 initial signatories. The pledge comes after Mighty Earth and Rainforest Foundation Norway’s 2016 “Mystery Meat” report, which exposed how the Brazilian Cerrado, a biodiverse savannah home to many threatened wildlife species and indigenous communities, is being destroyed for soy production connected to the global meat industry. The report prompted widespread media coverage and a growing awareness within the global community of the need for a joint private-public monitoring system to protect the Cerrado and other soy growing regions of Latin America like the Brazilian Amazon for further clearance for industrial agriculture.

“Meat production has a lot of sustainability issues, but stopping avoidable deforestation should be an easy win for these companies,” Hurowitz said.


Environmentalists Urge Common-Ground Reform for Biofuels Mandate after Refinery Bankruptcy

Normally, we wouldn’t be shedding tears about the financial woes of a fossil energy giant. But the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS), the biofuels law that is crippling Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), is also a disaster for the environment. The RFS is propping up food-based biofuels that are even dirtier than dirty old oil. That’s why major conservation and environmental groups are calling for a scale-back of biofuel mandates, something that would benefit refiners like PES.

Rather than a ‘swamp’ solution that only benefits Big Corn and Big Oil, potentially at the cost of taxpayers, Congress should listen to Democratic voices who want pro-environment reforms of biofuel policy. A bipartisan reform bill could be that very rare thing- legislation that oil refiners and environmentalists both support.


1000 Days

Dear friends,

It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the United States, when we try to rededicate ourselves to Dr. King’s values, and attempt to live up to his example of courage and love. Dr. King fought not only for racial justice, but for peace and economic justice as well.  I know that if he were alive today, he would still be pressing this country and the world to: 

...refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I like to think that Dr. King would also be on the front line of the modern struggle to ensure a living planet for all God’s people and all God’s creatures.  He said, 

In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. 

It’s not too hard to imagine that in the same way that he struggled to prevent a spiral towards nuclear catastrophe, he would stir a global movement to confront the even more fundamental threat that is the modern environmental crisis. Above all, he would challenge every company, every government, every activist, and every bystander to act with extreme urgency in the face of this profoundly challenging moral and existential crisis.  

It all boils down to the fact that we must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals. We must always maintain a kind of divine discontent.

We should all remind ourselves of those words today because the community of companies  that have pledged themselves to end deforestation by 2020 has just 1000 days left to meet this deadline. Achieving this goal is one of humanity’s greatest challenges and most urgent needs. We simply cannot maintain the comfortable life we know without these planetary lungs; the indigenous communities and animals who live in those forests have an even keener need.

1000 days may seem to be a dauntingly short period of time, but there are reasons for hope: as discussed in our last email, almost the entire chocolate industry and the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast have committed to end forest destruction and restore the ecology of these nations. The tire industry is starting to drive their suppliers to immediately cease deforestation. And the leading palm oil players, despite continued egregious breaches of their pledges, has taken new steps that, if implemented with greater rigor than past commitments, could actually end commercially-driven destruction of the Earth’s remaining native ecosystems in a very short period of time. There are remaining challenges, like cattle, but even there, there are signs of positive momentum. 

Indeed, 1000 days is not long at all if one looks at what remains the greatest private sector success in forest protection: the Brazilian Soy Moratorium. It took less than 1000 days for deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon to drop from 25% of Amazon deforestation to almost zero. This is perhaps the world’s greatest climate success story, and it happened in less time than we now have remaining. Think of all the other great changes in the world that have happened in even less time. 

If the other major commodities take implementation of their pledges as seriously as they now say they will, the question of what happens in soy will largely define whether the global community comes close to meeting its goals. And that challenge is almost exclusively one of just four companies: Bunge, Cargill, ADM, and Louis Dreyfus, and their customers. Indeed, among those, Bunge and Cargill almost alone are responsible for driving the vast mass of destruction for soy in frontier areas. Which means that they can stop it also. 

The moral challenge for every individual executive, board member, and employee of those companies is whether they will use their power to stop this great holocaust of forest burning now – or just make excuses, or ignore their own power to stop a great evil. I want to challenge even those who are not the top executives of the companies to ask themselves what they can do to stop their own companies from committing these great environmental and human crimes:  

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. 

This challenge of course confronts employees of Cargill and Bunge themselves. But it also faces everyone in those companies who do business with these deforesters. Until they change Bunge and Cargill, or cease business with them, these customers will be complicit in these environmental and human crimes.  

If you work in one of Bunge and Cargill’s companies, I challenge you: You have the power right now to shift your purchases of soy and other commodities to the many major providers who are not associated with significant deforestation. If your company hasn’t done so, what does that say about you and your company’s role in confronting the greatest moral challenge of our time? We are in an emergency, and we need you to act. 

When CEOs and ordinary employees have looked themselves in the mirror in the past, and strived to do better, they have achieved great progress for the world. Cargill and Bunge themselves were key participants in the extraordinary environmental and economic success of the Brazilian Soy Moratorium. They can do it again. The Amazon success can be extended across all of South America for less than $1 million per year  The only obstacles stopping us are moral inertia and lack of imagination. We must not now allow these evil forces to prevent us from seizing a great opportunity for; and we must not succumb to that most lazy of excuses: “What about the other guy?”

In difficult times, ordinary people and sclerotic institutions have shown the capacity to achieve greatness. I hope that at this moment, we can all look inside ourselves and heed the words of Dr. King: 

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

All of us can do this. 

In solidarity,

Glenn Hurowitz


Une nouvelle enquête révèle que les producteurs de biodiesel « verts » sont à l’origine d’une déforestation massive en Argentine

Ces biodiesels pourraient s’acheminer vers la France

Une nouvelle enquête, L’Argentine brûlée : tromperie et déforestation pour le biodiesel, menée par les organisations Mighty Earth et ActionAid USA démontre que le biodiesel n’est pas du tout un carburant aussi vert que les producteurs industriels ne le prétendent. Des enquêteurs ont documenté sur le terrain comment 12 140 hectares de forêt ont été détruits par des bulldozers et des incendies… pour semer de nouveaux champs de soja dans le nord de l’Argentine. Transformé en biodiesel, ce soja est ensuite destiné à l’exportation. Principal fournisseur de biodiesel au monde, l’Argentine est actuellement un point chaud mondial de la déforestation. Cette déforestation est majoritairement causée par la production de soja.

Mighty Earth et ActionAid USA ont mandaté une équipe de terrain dans la forêt du Chaco en Argentine afin d’évaluer l’ampleur de cette destruction. L’équipe s’est rendue sur dix sites différents où elle a pu constater une déforestation rapide liée à la production de soja. Cette déforestation a pu être documentée au sol, mais également à l’aide de drones aériens. L’équipe a découvert que de nouveaux champs de soja ont été plantés au milieu de forêts intactes et dans d’autres endroits et que des incendies massifs ont été utilisés pour défricher ces terres.

Bien que les normes existantes sur les carburants renouvelables dans l’UE exigent que le biodiesel ne soit pas produit sur des terres récemment défrichées, l’enquête a pu prouver que les principaux producteurs de biodiesel comme Cargill et Bunge poursuivaient leurs opérations de production de soja dans les zones où d’importantes déforestations ont eu lieu. « L’indrustrie prétend être propre, mais en realite si elle entre dans les écuries d'Augias, c'est pour en remettre », a déclaré Rose Garr, directrice de campagne de Mighty Earth, « a cause de leur deforestation les biocarburants empirent generalement le changement climatique au lieu d’ameliorer la situation ».

En plus des impacts environnementaux de cette production, les membres des communautés locales ont noté de graves impacts sur leur santé qu’ils imputent à l’accroissement de la production de soja stimulée par les biocarburants. De nombreuses familles ont ainsi signalé des empoisonnements causés par les pesticides associés à cette production, comme le glyphosate qui est parfois répandu sur les champs par voie aérienne.

« Les grandes entreprises agroalimentaires veulent vous faire croire qu’elles nourrissent le monde, mais elles ne le font pas : les enfants tombent malades, les habitants sont expulsés de leurs terres, et les animaux sont tués, pour produire de l’huile de soja destinée à alimenter les réservoirs de nos voitures », a déclaré Kelly Stone, analyste politique chez ActionAid USA. « La réforme de nos politiques agricoles constitue un élément important de la lutte contre le changement climatique, mais les droits des personnes à posséder et à cultiver leurs propres terres et leur droit à un environnement propre ne doivent pas être sacrifiés. »

Si l’Argentine souffre, l’industrie américaine du biodiesel en a tiré profit. Mais bientôt, l’Europe pourrait devenir la destination principale de ce biocarburant sale. Auparavant les États-Unis constituaient le premier débouché de ce carburant, mais les récentes taxes americaines sur les importations argentines de biodiesel vont estomper ces imports. En revanche, de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, l’Union européenne pourrait rouvrir son marché. Une réforme de la directive sur les énergies renouvelables de l’UE sera bientôt votée, et l’UE pourrait devenir la nouvelle destination de ce soja argentin. Ce rapport est donc publié alors qu’une bataille législative européenne capitale s’engage. « La politique européenne devrait viser à assainir notre secteur des transports. Mais si elle permet l’importation de biodiesel argentin à partir de soja, elle subventionnerait au contraire des carburants encore plus polluants que le pétrole, a déclaré Rose Garr. » Mighty Earth et ActionAid USA demandent donc à l’Europe de limiter ou d’arrêter tout soutien pour le biodiesel alimentaire et les autres biocarburants alimentaires. En outre, tout producteur de biodiesel devrait adopter et appliquer des engagements « zéro déforestation, zéro exploitation » dans leurs chaînes mondiales d’approvisionnement afin de s’assurer que le soja soit produit sans entraîner de déforestation. Tout est dans la balance pour l’environnement argentin. La France peut intervenir pour garantir que les énergies renouvelables pour le transport de l’UE sont véritablement vertes et ne détruisent pas secrètement les forêts argentines.

 

 

Mighty Earth

Migthy Earth est une organisation internationale de campagnes environnementales qui s’attache à la protection des forêts, à la conservation des océans, et se préoccupe du changement climatique. Nous travaillons en Afrique, en Asie du Sud-Est, en Amérique latine et en Amérique du Nord pour mener des actions à grande échelle en faveur d’une agriculture responsable qui respecte les écosystèmes naturels, la vie sauvage, l’eau et les droits des communautés locales. L’équipe mondiale de Mighty Earth a joué un rôle décisif en persuadant les plus grandes entreprises mondiales de l’agroalimentaire d’améliorer drastiquement leurs politiques et leurs pratiques environnementales et sociales. Vous trouverez plus d’information au sujet de Mighty Earth sur : http://www.mightyearth.org/.

 

ActionAid USA

ActionAid a pour mission de mettre fin à la pauvreté et à l’injustice en investissant localement dans des solutionneurs de problèmes, c’est-à-dire des personnes motivées et engagées, déterminées à changer le monde qui les entoure. Nous investissons activement dans des personnes efficaces qui vivent dans la pauvreté et l’exclusion dans 45 pays à travers le monde. ActionAid met en relation ces solutionneurs de problèmes avec des personnes dont les décisions affectent leur vie quotidienne, afin qu’elles puissent comprendre et revendiquer leurs droits, et apporter en conséquence des changements durables. ActionAid USA milite pour une réforme de la norme Renewal Fuel en raison des impacts de cette politique sur les droits fonciers et la sécurité alimentaire des populations aux États-Unis et dans le monde. https://www.actionaidusa.org/

 


Investigation Into U.S. Renewable Fuels Policies Finds "Green" Biodiesel Producers Driving Massive Deforestation

Investigation Into U.S. Renewable Fuels Policies Finds “Green” Biodiesel Producers Driving Massive Deforestation

WASHINGTON D.C. – A new investigation, “Burned: Deception, Deforestation, and America’s Biodiesel Policy” by the organizations Mighty Earth and ActionAid USA has found that biodiesel is not the environmentally friendly, “green” fuel claimed by industry producers. On-the-ground investigators documented bulldozing, burning and the recent clearance of 30,000 acres of forest to plant new soy fields in northern Argentina, which supply some of the same companies producing soy biodiesel for export to the United States.

The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates increasing biofuel consumption through 2022, and has driven Argentina to increase soy-based biodiesel production for U.S. export. In 2016, Argentina provided over one-fifth of biodiesel consumed in the United States. The RFS is also contributing to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the algal blooms in Lake Erie and other waterways and nitrate pollution across the Midwest, through increased crop production for biofuels in the United States.

“This isn’t the used cooking oil biodiesel powering Willie Nelson’s tour bus,” said Rose Garr, policy director at Mighty Earth. “The RFS was intended to clean up our transportation sector, but instead it’s subsidizing fuels that are even dirtier than oil.”

As the largest supplier of biodiesel imports, Argentina is currently a global hotspot of deforestation, caused primarily by soy production. The report also found significant quantities of biodiesel made from Indonesian palm oil being imported into the United States; palm oil has been Indonesia’s leading driver of deforestation, linked to habitat destruction of highly endangered species including orangutans and Sumatran elephants.

Mighty Earth and ActionAid USA sent a field team to Argentina’s Chaco forest to investigate the scope of this destruction. The team visited ten sites in the Chaco that are undergoing rapid deforestation for soy production, which it documented both on the ground and through aerial drones. They found new soybean fields carved into the middle of what were recently intact forests, and massive fires set to clear land for soy production.

Although the Renewable Fuel Standard requires that biodiesel not be produced on recently cleared land, the report found evidence that major biodiesel producers like Cargill and Bunge were continuing to expand their overall soy operations into areas with significant deforestation.

“This appears to be a case where the left-hand claims to be clean while the right is in it up to its elbow,” said Garr.

In addition to the environmental impacts of this production, members of local communities are reporting serious health impacts connected to the expanded soy production incentivized by biofuels. Many families reported poisonings from the pesticides associated with this production, including glyphosate, which is sometimes sprayed aerially.

“The big agribusiness companies want you to believe they’re feeding the world. But they’re not. Kids are getting sick, local people are being forced off their land and animals are being killed, all to produce soybean oil that’s being shipped to the U.S. and burned as fuel for our cars and trucks,” said Kelly Stone, senior policy analyst at ActionAid USA. “Localizing food production and reforming our agriculture policies is an important part of tackling climate change. People’s rights to own and farm land and their right to a clean environment must not be sacrificed to feed the thirst of a broken Congressional policy.”

Mighty Earth and ActionAid USA’s report comes as the RFS is poised to be a key legislative fight in 2018. The organizations recommend that the United States ends or dramatically lowers mandates and subsidies for food-based biodiesel and other food-based biofuels. In addition, the agricultural traders and biodiesel producers who control the industry should adopt and fully enforce “No Deforestation, No Exploitation” commitments throughout their entire global supply chains in order to ensure that the soy and other commodities they sell is not produced through deforestation.

Although the recent decision by the Commerce Department to impose countervailing duties on Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel will likely curtail near-term imports, the massive environmental destruction in Argentina should serve as a cautionary tale. Because the RFS mandates remain in place, new biodiesel production will have to come on-line elsewhere, which poses risk to wildlife, people, and the climate.

“This problem won’t be solved by countervailing duties alone. If Congress does not end mandates for food-based biodiesel and other biofuels, this same destructive cycle could be replicated both at home and in other areas of the world,” said Garr.

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that works to protect forests, conserve oceans, and address climate change. We work in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, and North America to drive large-scale action towards environmentally responsible agriculture that protects native ecosystems, wildlife, and water, and respects local community rights. Mighty Earth’s global team has played a decisive role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to dramatically improve their environmental and social policies and practices. More information on Mighty Earth can be found at http://www.mightyearth.org/.

About ActionAid USA

ActionAid is on a mission to end poverty and injustice by investing in local problem solvers. People who are determined and committed, and motivated to change the world around them. We actively invest in powerful people living in poverty and exclusion in 45 countries around the world. ActionAid connects problem solvers with the people whose decisions affect their daily lives, so they can understand and claim their rights, and bring about change that lasts. ActionAid USA campaigns for reform of the Renewal Fuel Standard because of the policy’s impacts on the land rights and food security of people in the U.S. and around the world. https://www.actionaidusa.org/

Read the report here. 

Sign the petition here.


Avia Terai Community Members Tell Their Stories

Avia Terai Community Members Tell Their Stories 

Catalina is a local farmer in Argentina’s Chaco province. Here, she talks about some of the medical problems she’s seeing linked to soy production for biofuels.

Dr. Maria del Carmen Seveso talks about some of the medical problems she is seeing as a result of soy production for biofuels in her region.

Silvia Ponce lives in the village of Avia Terai. Her daughter was born in 2008 with a number of health problems that she believes are linked to soy production for biofuels in her region.


Experts Find Ocean Dead Zones Have Expanded 1000% Worldwide Since 1950

According to a ground-breaking study published in the journal Science today, reducing run-off pollution from industrial agriculture is urgently necessary to stop the rapid growth in oceanic Dead Zones that have expanded 10-fold around the world since 1950. The study points to climate change and expanding meat production as primary drivers of these low-oxygen areas, and echoes findings from Mighty Earth’s recent investigation into the specific companies most responsible for the largest dead zone on record in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

“These findings are no surprise, and further confirm that the unchecked pollution from industrial agriculture has reached crisis levels and requires immediate action,” noted Campaign Director for Mighty Earth Lucia von Reusner. “Companies like Tyson Foods are driving the demand for vast quantities of unsustainably-produced corn and soy that are leaking the bulk of the nutrient pollution into our waterways, in addition to the manure that is often dumped on fields where it then washes off into surrounding waterways. These dead zones will continue to expand unless the major meat companies that dominate our global agricultural system start taking responsibility for cleaning up their supply chains to keep pollution out of our waters.”

The study, Declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters, was conducted by the Global Ocean Oxygen Network, which represents 21 institutions in 11 countries. It is the first study to evaluate the causes, consequences, and solutions to ocean dead zones worldwide, and highlights the urgent threat to global fisheries as these low oxygen areas expand and cause marine life to suffocate or flee for deeper waters.

Based on the findings of its investigation earlier this year, Mighty Earth has launched a campaign calling on major meat companies like Tyson Foods to take responsibility for reducing pollution from their supply chains. Mighty Earth found that industrial meat production’s environmental impact can be greatly improved by requiring feed suppliers to reduce excess fertilizer use, adopt practices that prevent soil erosion such as cover-cropping, and protecting native landscapes from being plowed over for expanded production.

The #CleanItUpTyson campaign has spread to major cities across the Midwest and Gulf of Mexico, with over 240 local business, farmer, community, and environmental groups signing an open letter to Tyson’s CEO urging the company to adopt practices for reducing water pollution. While some companies like Smithfield have begun improving feed sourcing practices, Tyson has so far ignored these impacts despite the growing pressure from customers and shareholders.

 


Mighty Earth work on chocolate listed as one of the Guardian's "Things that went right in 2017"

Amid a sometimes tumultuous year for the environment, there were also major climate achievements. Mighty Earth’s work in the chocolate industry was listed as one of the Guardian’s “Things that went right in 2017” alongside the discovery of an underground ocean on a moon of Saturn, a 3.7% rate of global economic growth, and the election of France’s Emmanuel Macron. Our investigation into deforestation in national parks and other protected areas in West Africa prompted swift action from the entire chocolate industry and West African governments to commit to ending deforestation for cocoa in the entire region. Next year’s plan- secure this commitment for forests around the world.

“But the big, bold headlines tell only half the story – perhaps not even that much. Away from the hysteria of daily news, it is possible to discern progress, joy, breakthroughs and that rarest commodity of all: optimism.

In Ghana and the Ivory Coast, governments are drawing up plans to prevent the clearance of forests for cocoa plantations after Mighty Earth campaigners exposed the links between illegal deforestation and the chocolate produced by Mars, Hershey’s, Nestlé and other global brands.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/26/2017-annus-mirabilis-all-the-things-that-went-right


Rally at Tyson Headquarters- Activists Call on Tyson Foods to Live Up to Sustainability Promises

Springdale, AR -- Today, more than 50 people gathered outside of Tyson Food’s Global Headquarters to deliver over 63,000 petitions to the company’s CEO, Tom Hayes calling for adoption of more sustainable practices. The rally in Springdale was one of seven that was held today throughout the Heartland as part of a national campaign that is working to push the country’s largest meat producer to address harmful practices in its supply chain that lead to widespread water pollution across the country.Rally attendees came from across the country to demonstrate the broad and growing support for this cause.

“Communities across America are tired of bearing the burden of Tyson’s pollution. The rapid mobilization of communities opposing a new Tyson plant in Kansas is just one example, and now these petitions show we are not alone in our frustration at the industry’s polluting impacts," said Cecilia Pruitt from Tonganoxie, KS, the community that stopped the construction of a new Tyson facility due in part to concerns about the polluting impacts it would have on their environment.

Agricultural runoff is the single biggest contributor to water pollution in the country, the bulk of which comes from the unsustainable practices used to produce the vast quantities of feed grown to raise meat. This year, runoff pollution from feed crops and meat facilities was the primary cause of the largest dead zone on record in the Gulf of Mexico, which was about the size of New Jersey. This pollution not just an ecological problem: the toxins from agricultural runoff affects the drinking water supply of over 17 million Americans, exposing them to toxins linked to a variety of health impacts, including cancers and birth defects.

“The tens of thousands of petitions that we delivered today make it clear that people across the country want to see Tyson change, even outside of communities that are directly harmed by agricultural runoff,” said Aaron Viles, Manager of Organizing at Care2, an online petition organization that has partnered with Mighty Earth on this campaign. “Having clean water is an issue that everyone can get behind.”

Water pollution issues from agricultural runoff are worsening as the global demand for meat -- and the grains required to feed it -- expand. Jody Osmund, farmer and local food activist, emphasized that mitigating the pollution impacts of their supply chains is something that agribusiness corporations need to address. “The decisions about how things are done in the meat industry are concentrated in the hands of just a few companies, like Tyson. These companies determine how millions of animals are raised, what they eat, and how everything is produced. And they can decide to implement standards that make their meat better for the planet, better for our farms, and better for rural communities -- and their suppliers will listen.”

The vast quantity of feed grown to raise livestock and poultry is the largest source of meat’s environmental impact- and is largely ignored by the industry. The “Clean It Up, Tyson” campaign calls for Tyson’s CEO to commit to sourcing animal feed from suppliers that practice sustainable and regenerative agricultural methods, such as growing cover cropping, using less fertilizer, diversifying crops, limiting tillage, and stopping the clearing of native ecosystems such as the iconic American prairie. There is a growing call for companies like Tyson to make this change. In addition to having the direct support of over 63,000 people, this campaign is supported by over 260 businesses and organizations that represent more than 720,600 people.

“Citizens and consumers across the country are galvanized at Tyson’s new commitment to lead on sustainability, and clearly want to see water pollution prioritized as part of that,” noted Lucia von Reusner, National Campaign Director for Mighty Earth. “A commitment to implementing practices that prevent water pollution and regenerate our soils would show America that Tyson is sincere in its public pledges to wanting to ‘show how much good food can do’ and be ‘the most sustainable protein supplier, bar none'.”