Liviya James

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'.”


















Mighty Earth: Victory on Chocolate; Intensifying Focus on Meat Industry

Dear friends,

I wanted to share some important updates with you regarding Mighty Earth’s work around the world to make agriculture environmentally and socially responsible. Also, stay tuned for a big announcement on the expansion of our work for clean energy.

A Breakthrough on Chocolate
First, we’re very pleased to announce that the world's leading chocolate companies, including Mars, Hershey, Mondelez, Nestle, Cargill, Olam, and Barry Callebaut and several others have committed to a groundbreaking plan to end deforestation in the chocolate industry, and invest in restoration of the forests of Ivory Coast and Ghana. The announcement follows Mighty Earth’s “Chocolate’s Dark Secret” report, which documented how up to 40 percent of Ivory Coast’s chocolate came from the destruction of national parks and protected areas, decimating populations of wildlife like chimpanzees and forest elephants.

In this effort, we worked with IDH - the sustainable trade initiative, the Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit and the World Cocoa Foundation as well as the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana to hammer out these commitments. This initiative has been a model of civil society working together with governments, donors and companies to drive very rapid progress for a whole industry, and we’re proud to have played a role. We are also grateful to the Arcus Foundation for making this campaign possible.

Read more about this breakthrough, and the steps the chocolate industry needs to take to implement it here.

World’s Largest Meat Sellers Call for Action on Deforestation

On October 23, I had the opportunity to join Prince Charles and many government and business leaders for a meeting to discuss private sector action to stop deforestation.   This meeting also afforded us the opportunity to discuss our efforts to protect Gabon’s forests, wildlife and communities with Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba.

At the meeting, 23 of the world’s largest meat sellers and soy end users, such as McDonald’s, Wal-mart, and Tesco, publicly called for soy and meat companies to stop driving massive destruction of South America's native ecosystems. The companies announced their support for the Cerrado Manifesto, a call by Brazilian and international NGOs, including Mighty Earth, to end destruction of the Brazilian Cerrado’s highly biodiverse native ecosystems and instead focus development on the regions tens of millions of acres of previously deforested, degraded land. The companies' action came after months of pressure from Mighty Earth and our allies on these companies to act, as well as our widely covered "Mystery Meat" exposé.

Deforestation for soy in Bolivia, documented by Mighty Earth's investigation. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm/Mighty Earth.

Unfortunately, companies directly responsible for driving the destruction of these ecosystems - such as Cargill, Bunge, and ADM – have colluded to deny their customers the responsibly produced meat consumers demand.  What’s especially shameful about these companies’ failure to act is that they are just being asked to repeat their own decade-long success through the Brazilian Soy Moratorium, where they have managed to expand soy production by six million acres without deforestation.

We hope that consumer companies like McDonald’s, Walmart and Ahold Delhaize  will back their words with action and shift their meat and soy purchases to companies that provide feed that is free of connection to the kind of destruction we’ve exposed in Brazil’s Cerrado and the Bolivian Amazon basin.

Read more here.

Transforming the Meat Industry in the Heartland

It’s possible to provide all the protein that America and the world need with a fraction of impact on land, water and climate that the meat industry currently uses. But the American meat industry has, through decades of concentration, purchased feed and managed livestock with little attention to these impacts.

This summer, Mighty Earth launched a major effort to make US agriculture far more sustainable. In June, we published groundbreaking research that mapped for the first time the relationship between major meat and feed companies’ facilities and agricultural water pollution pouring into the Mississippi and other American waterways, and that was largely responsible for this summer’s largest-ever dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mighty Earth Volunteers in Dallas, Texas

There is no company more responsible for this environmental crisis than Tyson Foods, America’s largest meat company. Thanks to generous support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, we’ve been able to work with Green Corps and organizations like the Gulf Restoration Network and Care2 to extend a grassroots push to change Tyson across the Midwest and Gulf of Mexico. More than 230 local organizations and thousands of volunteers have taken action to urge Tyson to change.

The campaign seems to be getting some traction. Tyson CEO Tom Hayes recently appeared on CNBC’s Mad Money show with Jim Cramer to discuss growth prospects, and the conversation centered on Tyson’s ability to grow while providing sustainably sourced meat. While Tyson has yet to take any meaningful steps to back their in-principle commitment to sustainability,  it shows that grassroots demand in the heartlands is being heard. We’re going to keep it up.

Calling for Responsible Investment

Across our work focused on changing the private sector, we’ve found powerful allies in institutional investors like Green Century Capital Management, New York State Pension Fund, and the Norwegian Pension Fund, which use their financial might to persuade companies in which they invest to improve their environmental performance.  California’s pension fund, CalPers, has shown leadership by shifted investments away from coal, but has unfortunately continued to invest in companies like Bunge and Posco that engage in deforestation around the world. Mighty Earth’s Chairman, former Congressman Henry Waxman, this week took to the pages of the Sacramento Bee to call for CalPers to extend its leadership to forests.

We're doing a lot, but a lot must be done. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this progress - and the progress yet to come - possible. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Glenn Hurowitz

P.S. You can provide urgently needed for support Mighty Earth’s campaigns with a tax-deductible contribution through our parent organization, the Center for International Policy. Just click here, and choose Mighty Earth from the drop-down menu. Thank you!

Statement on today’s EPA Biofuels: Administration “can’t even do the right thing for the wrong reasons”

Statement of Rose Garr, Campaign Director for Waxman Strategies, on the Renewable Fuel Volume Obligations (RVOs) announced by the EPA today:

This was a case where Trump should have done the right thing for the wrong reasons, but he managed to do the wrong thing anyway.

The EPA proposed in October to reduce consumption of polluting, food-based biofuels. But the volume rule issued today tethers us to corn ethanol and soy biodiesel while leaving cellulosic fuels to languish below last year’s levels. This approach is totally backward.

President Trump and Administrator Pruitt seem to have looked at the record-size dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the algal blooms and nitrate pollution across the Midwest, and the climate pollution coming from native ecosystems converted to crop production and decided to double down. I guess Trump found out that biofuels are even dirtier than dirty old oil and decided that he liked them even more.

Clearly, it’s time for Congressional leaders to tackle this issue head-on and reform the Renewable Fuel Standard. To protect the environment, we need to keep the best biofuels and lose the worst.


Pirelli Tires Commits to Deforestation Free Rubber

Tire Leader Joins Michelin – World Waits for Bridgestone, Continental, and Goodyear

Global tire giant Pirelli, a major user of natural rubber, has released a sustainable rubber policy that promises to protect people and forests by banning deforestation, land grabbing, and labor abuse.

“Pirelli’s announcement is good news for gibbons, tigers, and elephants whose habitat has been destroyed by rapidly expanding rubber plantations,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director Kristin Urquiza.  “When buying tires, people want to think about performance, safety, and fuel economy, not destruction of wildlife habitat and human rights abuse.”

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.  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.

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 had previously adopted a strong No Deforestation policy.

“Bridgestone, Continental, and Goodyear need to join the race towards a responsible tire industry while there are still forests left to save,” Urquiza said. “We hope to work with the company and other civil society partners to increase the clarity of its policy, and ensure that its suppliers implement it right away.”

There’s a lot at stake. Loss of forests account for approximately 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and is a major contributor to climate change. By some estimates, the expansion of deforestation for rubber between now and 2024 could release the same amount of carbon dioxide – a major rubber carbon bomb – as the country of India does annually.

The Pirelli policy marks the third policy of its type from tire producers. In 2016 Michelin, a French tire producer, announced a sourcing policy. And earlier this year Luxembourg Socfin Group announced its own. Mighty Earth is calling on all major tire companies to pass similar policies.


Image credit: Peter Martin



L’importante annonce de l’industrie du chocolat — Ce qu’elle signifie

Déclaration d’Etelle Higonnet, Directrice Afrique de Mighty Earth

BONN, Allemagne, le 16 novembre — L’industrie du chocolat a décidé aujourd'hui  de mettre fin à la déforestation liée à la culture du cacao en Afrique de l’Ouest. Après avoir connu un passé amer, les forêts d’Afrique peuvent désormais aspirer à des lendemains meilleurs.

En promettant de mettre un terme à la destruction de ces forêts et de restaurer les zones précédemment détruites, un véritable avenir pour la faune et la flore d’Afrique de l’Ouest se dessine.

Cette annonce intervient après l'enquête de Mighty Earth sur l'industrie du cacao en Côte d'Ivoire et au Ghana, qui a montré que la production de cacao entraînait une déforestation massive, notamment dans les aires protégées comme les parcs nationaux ou forêts classes, qui constituent parmi les dermiers habitats ouest africains pour les chimpanzés et éléphants de forêt.

Le pacte signé aujourd’hui n’est que le début d’un long chemin à parcourir, car  plus de 90 % des forêts de Côte d'Ivoire ont disparu et 7 000 kilomètres carrés de forêts ont été défrichés au Ghana entre 2001 et 2014. Les éléphants, les chimpanzés et d’autres espèces de singes moins connues, mais non moins remarquables, ont été contraints par l’activité liée à l’industrie du chocolat de se réfugier dans de minuscules parcelles résiduelles de forêt. La tâche sera en effet ardue avant que les consommateurs puissent à nouveau manger en toute bonne conscience le chocolat de leurs marques préférées. Mais ces consommateurs et les Africains de l’Ouest savent au moins que le secteur du chocolat et leurs gouvernements s’attaquent enfin de manière sérieuse au problème.

Le pacte signé aujourd’hui est l’accomplissement d’une croisade menée par un véritable héros des forêts, le prince de Galles. L’engagement personnel sincère et de longue date du prince Charles en faveur de la préservation des forêts tropicales s’est traduit par cette initiative dont on se souviendra peut-être longtemps comme le moment à partir duquel les forêts d’Afrique de l’Ouest ont commencé à repousser.

Cette avancée est bien sûr le fruit d’un travail d’équipe. Un projet de cette envergure n’aurait tout simplement pas pu voir le jour sans la participation des gouvernements ghanéen et ivoirien, la créativité et les efforts sans faille de la fondation Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) et de la Fondation mondiale du cacao . Le secteur du chocolat a entendu les centaines de milliers de consommateurs à travers le monde qui veulent pouvoir s’adonner à leur plaisir coupable sans arrière-pensées. Les gouvernements d’Afrique de l’Ouest ont quant à eux écouté leurs citoyens qui réclament la protection et la restauration de leur patrimoine naturel. Merci à la Fondation Arcus dont le soutien a rendu possible ce travail.

Mais ces bonnes intentions doivent maintenant se traduire concrètement et rapidement sur le terrain. Les entreprises hautement lucratives qui pendant des années se sont approvisionnées en cacao dans des parcs nationaux et des aires protégées doivent notamment contribuer financièrement et de manière substantielle à la restauration de ces zones précieuses. Pour ce secteur dont le chiffre d’affaires est estimé à 100 milliards de dollars par an, adopter ces bonnes pratiques ne représenterait pour chaque entreprise qu’un pour cent de son revenu annuel. Nous veillerons à ce que cela se produise.

Comme prochaine étape, l’industrie du chocolat doit annoncer qu’elle étendra son engagement pour un cacao « zéro déforestation » à la production de chocolat dans le reste du monde. Que ce secteur prenne des mesures pour protéger l’habitat des chimpanzés en Côte d’Ivoire est une initiative formidable. Pour autant, cela ne veut pas dire qu’un consommateur doive se sentir responsable de la mort d’un orang-outan en Indonésie ou d’un paresseux au Pérou en mangeant une tablette de chocolat.

Enfin, l’utilisation généralisée de pesticides par la filière du cacao a considérablement dégradé la qualité des cours d’eau et menacé la santé des communautés locales. Ce secteur devra également renforcer son engagement auprès des travailleurs et des communautés qui vivent à proximité des plantations de cacao en interdisant l’utilisation de pesticides dangereux et en adoptant rapidement des systèmes de cultures biologiques et sous ombrage.

Palm Oil: Report 1

Mighty Earth Rapid Response Report 1

See PDF Here

PT Bintuni Agro Prima Perkasa, PT Guntur Madu Agrotama, PT Kahayan Agro Plantation, and PT Mustika Agung Sentosa


November 2017 

Prepared with support from Aidenvironment and MapHubs

PT Bintuni Agro Prima Perkasa

Concession information: PT Bintuni Agro Prima Perkasa (PT BAPP) is located in Papua, Sorong province. Based on the forestland release permit it covers an area of 32,570 hectares.





Deforestation: Satellite imagery (see below) shows that 138 hectares of peat and peat forest were cleared on the eastern part of the concession from October 2016-August 2017.


Supply Chain: Based on mill vicinity (see map), PT BAPP likely supplies FFB to PT Yong Jing Investama, which does not feature on any public supplier lists.

Ownership Information: There are many linkages between PT BAPP and Salim Group:

• The plantation company is ultimately owned by Mr. Ir Daud through PT Cahaya Agro Pratama. Mr. Ir Daud is a former director of PT Duta Rendra Mulya, which is linked to Salim Group.

• Mr. Gunawan Sumantri, the president director of PT BAPP is also a former director of Salim companies: PT Duta Rendra Mulya and PT Andhika Wahana Putra. He is also the President Director of other plantation companies–PT Berau Sawit Sejahtera, PT Citra Palma Sejati, PT Duta Sejahtera Utama, PT Perdana Sawit Plantation, PT Subur Karunia Raya, PT Wahana Tritunggal Cemerlang and PT Wira Inova Nusantara []

• The concession has been publicly linked to Salim Group as one of four ‘secret’ plantations in West Papua, totalling 117,000ha







PT Guntur Madu Agrotama

Concession information: PT Guntur Madu Agrotama (PT GMA) is located in Bengkulu district in Sumatra and covers an area of 4,082 hectares, according to the HGU permit.



Deforestation: PT GMA deforested at least 92 hectares of forest from December 2016 to August 2017. See images below.



Supply Chain: PT GMA likely supplies FFB to PT Alno Agro Utama, owned by Anglo Eastern Plantations. Its main known buyers are GAR, Wilmar, Cargill and ADM.






PT Kahayan Agro Plantation




Concession information: PT Kahayan Agro Plantation is located in Gunung Mas Regency, Central Kalimantan, and covers an area of 17,500 hectares.





Deforestation: Between October 16, 2016 and September 26, 2017, an estimated 420 hectares were deforested (see satellite imagery below), including clearing of Bornean orangutan habitat as per the most recent orangutan distribution maps [Utami-Atmoko and al.: Orangutan Population and Habitat Viability Assessment: Final Report. IUCN, 2017]

Prior to October 2016, an estimated 3,593 hectares were cleared, including over 700 ha of orangutan habitat.

To see an animation of deforestation at PT Kahayan Agro Plantation, visit

PT Kahayan Agro Clearance 10/16/2016 – 09/26/2017 (420 ha)


PT Kahayan Agro Tree Cover Loss 2000 -2016 (GLAD) – 11.62/-0.9265/113.443


Supply chain: PT KAP likely supplies FFB to PT Tantahan Panduhup Asia, owned by Sumber Tani Agung, which is a known supplier to Wilmar.

Ownership information: PT Kahayan Agro Plantation is owned by Anglo Eastern Plantations.



Land conflicts and licensing issues at PT KAP:

Within two weeks of the acquisition of PT KAP by Anglo Eastern Plantations in 2010, the Regent of Gunung Mas issued a Plantation Business Permit (IUP) for the entire area, despite no Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL) having been carried out. During the subsequent AMDAL process, local Dayak communities stressed that they did not want the company on their lands.

The concerns of local people resulted in the Regent issuing a decree to PT KAP to excise local land from their concession, and banned them from negotiating land sales with local people without the regency government’s permission.

In January 2013, the Governor of Central Kalimantan issued a directive that PT KAP must comply with the Regent’s instruction, and conduct an inventory of all land claims within the concession.

Despite this, PT KAP continued its own process of acquiring land, and the directives from both the Regent and Governor appeared to have been ignored. Customary lands were not excised from the IUP area.

In 2012, a Permit for wood utilization (IPK) was issued to a third-party, PT Kahayan Hutan Lestari (KHL). Clearing and planting began on the plantation [].

In 2014, NGO reports accused PT KHL of clearing more timber on the concession than was stipulated in its license, and PT KAP of operating without a HGU license [].






PT Mustika Agung Sentosa



Concession information: PT Mustika Agro Sentosa (PT MAS), is a plantation company located in West Kalimantan with an area of 19,792 hectares, based on IUP permit.


Deforestation: Between January 2017 and August 2017, PT MAS cleared around 10 hectares of forest on the South and Northeast of its concession.



Supply chain: Based on mill vicinity (see map), PT MAS likely supplies FFB to PT Parindu or Simpang Hulu Barat, which main known buyers are Wilmar, IOI, Cargill and ADM. 

Ownership information:

• PT MAS is ultimately owned by Pribadi and Wiyono families (50/50%) through PT Citra Bumi Semesta and PT International Timber Inticor, respectively.

• Mr. Henry Pribadi, whose real name is Liem Oen Hauw, owns 77.5% shares in PT Citra Bumi Semesta, while his children own the remaining 22.5%. Mr. Henry Pribadi is one of the richest Indonesians who owns, among others, Napam cement group and the famous SCTV television network [].

• He is the cousin of Mr. Djuhar Sutanto, a very close business partner of Mr. Sudono Salim (father of Anthony Salim) and is also sitting as secretary and commissioner of some Salim’s companies [,].

• PT International Timber Inticor is owned 50/50% by Ellen and Jeffry Wiyono.

Today’s Big Chocolate Industry Announcement – What It Means


Statement of Etelle Higonnet, Mighty Earth Africa Director

BONN, Germany, November 16- After a bitter past, the chocolate industry is off to a sweet new start when it comes to protecting forests, as it agreed today to end deforestation for cocoa in West Africa.

By promising to end forest destruction and restore previously destroyed areas, there’s finally new hope for a living future for the wildlife of West Africa.

This framework comes after Mighty Earth’s investigation into the cocoa industry in Ivory Coast and Ghana, which found that cocoa production is driving massive deforestation and environmental destruction, including inside protected areas like national parks and in some of the last chimpanzee and forest elephant habitat in West Africa.

Today's announcement represents the start of this work, not its end. More than 90 percent of Ivory Coast’s forests are already gone, and 7,000 square kilometers of Ghana’s forests were cleared between 2001 and 2014. Elephants, chimpanzees and some spectacular but little known species of monkeys have been pushed by the chocolate industry into tiny remnant

patches. There is a lot of work indeed to be done before consumers can feel good again about consuming some of their favorite chocolate brands.  But consumers and West Africans can at least know that the chocolate industry and their governments are finally setting about the task in a serious way.


Today’s pact is a signature accomplishment for a true forest hero, the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles’ longstanding and profound commitment to rainforest conservation has translated into an initiative that may be remembered years from now as the moment West Africa’s forests began to grow back.

Of course, this breakthrough was a team effort. A plan of this ambition would simply not have been possible without the involvement of the Ghanaian and Ivorian governments, the steadfast labors and creativity of IDH, the sustainable trade initiative, and the World Cocoa Foundation.  The chocolate industry heard the voices of hundreds of thousands of consumers around the world who want to be able to feel good about their guilty pleasure. West African governments are listening to their citizens who want their natural heritage protected and restored. Thank you to the Arcus Foundation whose support made this work possible.

These good intentions must now translate into real action on the ground on a rapid timeline. In particular, the highly profitable companies that have sourced cocoa from national parks and protected areas for years need to make a sizable financial contribution to restoring these precious areas. This is an 100 billion dollar a year industry and the cost per company of doing the right thing would be a small fraction of a percent of their annual revenue. We’ll be watching to make sure this happens.

As an immediate next step, the chocolate industry must announce that it will extend its commitment to No Deforestation Cocoa to chocolate production around the world. It’s great that the industry is taking steps to protect chimpanzee habitat in Ivory Coast, but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to eat a chocolate bar that killed an orangutan in Indonesia or a sloth in Peru.

Finally, the widespread use of pesticides in the cocoa industry has significantly impaired waterways, and threatened the health of local communities. The industry should reinforce its commitment to its workers and the communities who live near cocoa by banning hazardous pesticides, and moving quickly toward organic, shade-grown systems.

Guest Post: Young Conservationist’s Response to Mighty’s Chocolate Investigation


I’m Hannah and I’m 10 years old. I live in Manchester, England. And here is how Mighty Earth inspired me to try and spread the word.

I read a brief newspaper article that mentioned how chocolate is damaging the environment and that Mighty Earth had done a report on the matter. So being a budding conservationist and nature lover I went onto Mighty Earth’s website to find out more. What l read there horrified me. Almost all major chocolate companies were sourcing their chocolate illegally from places where there used to be rain forests, therefore encouraging more forests to be cut down. It is threatening countless species and needs to stop!

I really wanted  to help so I emailed Mighty Earth to ask. They advised me to :

  1. To try to by organic and fair trade chocolate.
  2. Ask at cafes and shops where their chocolate has come from; even if they don’t know it makes them think.
  3. Ask at my school and see if we can do a project on the matter.

I was super excited. I have told my friends at school and my sister (Alice); they are all really interested and enthusiastic. My class has researched the chocolate industry and made posters in computing time. I have told friends and family at various events and informed people in many other ways. I really feel like I’ve made a difference and truly hope that by writing this blog I will spread the word and inspire you to get involved.


Rare victory for rainforests as nations vow to stop 'death by chocolate'

The Guardian | Nov. 8 2017

Plans by the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast drawn up after Guardian investigation revealed links between the cocoa industry and rainforest loss.

Read more

Local Groups Sign Open Letter Calling on Tyson CEO to Fulfill Sustainability Promises

October, 2017- Over 230 local business, farmer, environmental, and community groups from across the country have joined the nation-wide campaign to hold America’s largest meat company accountable for the water pollution affecting their communities. The groups, whose members represent communities from the Heartland to the Gulf, have released an open letter calling on the CEO of Tyson Foods to fulfil sustainability promises by making a clear commitment to reduce water pollution caused by the company’s supply chain.

“Americans should not have to choose between producing food and having healthy clean water” said Lucia von Reusner, Campaign Director for Mighty Earth. “Our nation’s largest meat companies shape our food system on a massive scale, and can implement the solutions needed to keep our waters clean.”

The coalition launch comes in response to a report released earlier this summer from Mighty Earth linking America’s biggest meat companies to the largest Dead Zone on record in the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to a variety of other environmental and public health issues in the U.S. A recent analysis of America’s tap water quality found that over 17 million Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of carcinogens from agricultural pollution in their drinking water.

The meat industry is the main source of water pollution in the United States. The bulk of this pollution comes from growing the vast quantities of animal feed used to raise meat, and the pollution washing off poorly managed fields is “one of America’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems,” according to a report from the EPA.

Mighty Earth’s report identified Tyson Foods as the company most responsible for driving the practices causing this pollution, given its dominant position as America’s largest meat company and expansive footprint in all regions of the country most affected by agricultural run-off pollution. Tyson’s new CEO Tom Hayes has pledged to ‘show how much good food can do’ and ‘place sustainability at the center of the company’s future plans’. The letter is calling on Tom Hayes to fulfil those promises with a clear commitment to reducing water pollution.

The full letter and list of signatories is included below. Local news outlets covered the release of the letter- for example, coverage in ABC Local news in Iowa includes CEO of Des Moines Waterworks, which has attracted national attention for the high levels of agricultural pollution it has been forced to treat.


Tom Hayes, Chief Executive Officer
Tyson Foods, Inc.
2200 W. Don Tyson Parkway
Springdale, AR 72762

Dear Mr. Hayes,

As representatives of organizations whose members are affected by the pollution driven by Tyson’s meat production here in the United States, we are writing to encourage your company to adopt more sustainable practices throughout its supply chain that reduce water pollution and protect our natural landscapes. In its position as the nation’s largest meat company, Tyson Foods has a unique opportunity to reduce the environmental consequences of meat and lead the industry towards better farming practices.

There is a need for rapid action: the meat industry, including its feed supply, is the main source of water pollution in the United States. Pollution from raising meat is contaminating drinking water across the Midwest, and flowing downstream along the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico where it causes a massive dead zone every summer- an area so polluted that marine life cannot survive. The bulk of this pollution comes from the vast quantities of animal feed produced to raise meat, and are a result of practices driving high soil erosion rates, loss of natural landscape buffers, and excess fertilizer application.

This year, the runoff pollution reached such levels that the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest on record, due in large measure to Tyson and other companies’ continued tolerance of substandard practices in their supply chains. Fortunately, solutions are available to reduce meat’s environmental impact through better feed sourcing practices, which need to be rapidly implemented to prevent this disaster from recurring.

We hope you will immediately announce a sustainable agriculture policy that ensures all of your suppliers adhere to the following best practices for responsible feed production and sourcing:

  •    Cover cropping and conservation tillage practices to prevent soil erosion,
  •    Protecting and restoring natural landscape buffers to absorb runoff,
  •    Optimizing fertilizer application to prevent excess runoff,
  •    Incorporation of rotationally-raised small grains into the feed rotations
  •    A moratorium on further clearance of native ecosystems such as the iconic American prairie

You have pledged to “place sustainability at the center of the company’s future plans” and show “how much good food can do.” We applaud these statements, and believe a commitment to ensuring feed is sustainably sourced is crucial for demonstrating the company’s ambition.

As the nation’s largest meat company, Tyson Foods has a key role to play in keeping our waters clean and our soils healthy. Please advise us by November 17, 2017 on how Tyson Foods will address the urgent environmental and public health impacts from its supply chain, and lead the industry towards a more sustainable path forward.


Dallas, TX
Be Raw
Dallas Sierra Club
Texas Campaign for the Environment
Bois d'Arc Meat Company
Chelles Macarons
The Caribbean Cabana
Taboo Tattoo
Armoury D.E.
First Unitarian Church Climate Action Team
R. C. Rogers
Dragon's Snacks
Sureshort Visuals
Push Yourself Through
Heat Roc Nation
Made With Love Market
White Rock Granola
MaDear's Jellies
Yiayia's Greek Bakery
Williams Farm
Texas Hill Country Olive Country
Rockin Jr Ranch
Good Water
Simple Splendor Sauces
Samco World Imports
Tilly's Old Fashion
Meat Maniac
Perky Pickles
Energy Gardens Terrariums LLC
Reclaimed Wood Designs
The Plain Ole Salsa Company
Brags Farms
Jordan Cordori Industries
Paisley Farms
Companion Roasters
Kaitlyn's Styles
SMU Environmental Society
Garden Cafe
Noble Rey Brewing Company
UTD Sustainability Club
GROW North Texas
Heddin Family Farms
The Green Room
Hide Bar
Piney Woods Farm Alliance
Indigenous Roots
Timothy's Tasty Organic Lemonade
Native Trashion
Elliott Grows LLC
Hartrickson Family Farm
Arlington Conservation Council
Society of Native Nations
Systems Change not Climate Change
Helping Hands Medical Clinic

Chicago, IL
Phayes Men
Cloud Vapor Lounge
Chicago Honey Co-op
Wolf Bait and B-Girls
Crate Free Illinois
Patch Work Farmes
Mint Creek Farm
Closed Loop Farms
Prairie Rivers Network
Midwest Pesticide Action Network
Environment America
Sandbox Organics Farm
Chillinois Young Farmers
Modern Grill
Ricci Kapricci Salon
North Halsted Dental Spa
Horizon Cafe
Anton's Barber Shop
Nearly New Bikes
Klein's Bakery
Bourgieous Pig Cafe
Sir and Madame
Sip and Savor
The Silver Room
Jefferey Dollar
Jojayden Handmade
Rajun Cajun
The Silver Umbrella
350 Chicago
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Community Dining
Sagano Sushi
Spilt Milk Pastry
George's Restaurant
L!VE Cafe
Citrine Cafe
Geppetto's Oak Park
2 Amigos
Furious Spoon
Damn Fine Coffee Bar
El Condor
Hairitics Dye for Your Beliefs
Sugar Beet Co-op
The Urban Canopy
The Wright Way Farm, LLC
Nichols Farm and Orchard
Family Farmed

New Orleans, LA
The Bike Shop
Midway Pizza
Good Bird
Freret Beer Room
Piccola Gelateria
St. Lawrence
Earth Odyssey
J and M Jewelry
Tulane Green Club
The Daily Beet
LA Shrimper's Association
Drip Affogato Bar
Freda New Orleans
Southern United Neighborhoods
Allie's Natural Hair Community
Harley London
New Orleans Food & Farm Network
Kaya Swamp Tours
GrowOn Urban Farm
9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement & Development
A Community Voice - NOLA chapter
Fair Grinds Coffeehouse
ACORN International
Gulf Restoration Network

Fayetteville, AR
Omni Center
NWA Labor Council
Arkansas Sierra Club
White River Waterkeepers
Buffalo River Watershed Alliance
Northwest Arkansas Emerging Leaders
Ozark River Stewards
Puritan Coffee & Beer
Dirty Apron Bake House
French Metro Antiques
Morning Star Zen Center
Nomads Fayetteville
Heart and Wrench
Nu Fangled Images
Sun Sugar Farms
Barkansas Life
Flora & Fauna
Hustlewood LLC
Ozark Apothecary
Peacock Pigments
Mountain Greenery
Huddle on Forest

Omaha, NE
GC Resolve
Nebraska Communities United
Nebraskans for Peace
Omaha Together One Community – Environmental Sustainability Action Team
Indivisible Omaha
Omaha Permaculture
Douglas County Farmers Union
Pharmacy Express, Omaha
The Gourmet Granola
Nolis Pizzeria
Barley Street Tavern
Star Deli
Jake’s Cigars
Full House Bar
Clifford Cycles
Krug Park
Burrito Envy
Premier Therapy
Benson Brewery
The Sydney
Omaha Bicycle Co.
Drastic Plastic Clothing
13th Street Coffee
Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream
Krazy Woman Orchard
Lauren Beths Popcorn
Copin Designs

Kansas City, MO
Exploring Roots
Red Ridge Farm
Sacred Sun Cooperative Farm
Mama Linda'a LLC
Syntax Land Design, LLC
Inkwell Cafe
ReRuns Vintage
Mid Coast Modern
Frame Works
Pink Pony Farms
MM Farms
Heartland Conservation Alliance
Green Room Burgers and Beer
Midwest Cyclery
Novus Escape Room
Automan Autoplaza
Endicott Salon
Westport Hookah
Design in the City
5B&Co Candlemakers

Des Moines, IA
Optimal Lifeservices (Plain Talk Books)
Fontenelle Supply Co.
Artisan's Jewelry Designs
Blue Planet Groupe
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Des Moines
HOQ Restaurant
Bruce Owen Jewelry
American Plumbing Supply
Porch Light
Locally Grown Clothing Co
Green Goods
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Grade A Gardens
Lost Lake Farm
Nomad Farm & Gardens
Boone County Organics
Peep Toe
Teresa Kitchen Collage
The Continental Inc
Urban Ambassadors

Statement on 23 companies’ call for end to deforestation to produce meat

Today, 23 major meat retailers and consumer goods companies joined a call to the world’s major soy and cattle companies to take joint action to stop the destruction of the Cerrado, Brazil’s highly biodiverse savannah forest that provides much of the water for Brazil. Agricultural interests like the American companies Bunge and Cargill have already destroyed more than half of the Cerrado, leading to the call for urgent action.

Today’s announcement could represent the beginning of the end of deforestation in Latin America. The commitment was announced today at a meeting hosted by the Prince of Wales and Unilever, and signed by companies like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Walmar, and McDonald’s. These companies have recognized that with 500 million acres of heavily degraded land available across Latin America, expanding agriculture does not require destruction of native ecosystems.

Now, it is up to the agribusinesses that dominate the global soy trade to act on this strong call from their customers. In particular, as Mighty Earth’s Mystery Meat investigation showed, Cargill and Bunge have each been responsible hundreds of thousands of acres of deforestation each across the continent. We hope these companies will now respond to their customers’ demand for environmentally responsible raw materials, and extend their own success in fighting deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon to the rest of Latin America.

The world has just 1000 days to meet companies’ 2020 pledge to eliminate private sector-driven deforestation. The original Soy Moratorium effectively eliminated deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon in less time than that. Progress is possible, but it will require immediate action by Cargill and Bunge and their peers - and consequences to them from the 23 signatories if Cargill and Bunge don’t act.

Along with a range of technical experts, academics, companies, and civil society organizations Mighty Earth 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.

Today’s statement is a step forward, but companies need to continue pushing for a comprehensive solution such as the one described above. Just over the border from Brazil lies the Bolivian Amazon, where companies like Cargill have contributed to the destruction of approximately 10 million acres of forest, habitat for rare sloths and jaguars, and home to threatened indigenous communities. These same companies are also driving extensive deforestation in Argentina and Paraguay’s Gran Chaco, where action can be extended as well. Indeed, while the original Brazilian Soy Moratorium (and related Cattle Moratorium) have been wild successes, their flaw was that they were limited to just one ecosystem, permitting deforestation to continue apace elsewhere. Companies shouldn’t repeat the mistake of focusing too narrowly when a more comprehensive solution is tantalizingly within reach.

We congratulate the retailers and other consumer companies and many civil society organizations who contributed to today’s announcement. While it must be followed by real pressure and a comprehensive approach to make a real difference for all Latin America, it is a game changer.


Glenn Hurowitz, Mighty Earth CEO

In Rare Instance, Environmentalists Agree with Scott Pruitt’s EPA: Lower Biodiesel Mandates

Earlier this month, Scott Pruitt’s EPA issued an unusual request: it asked for public input on the idea of reducing mandated biodiesel levels.

While this action was almost certainly spurred by oil companies, interested in reducing their obligation to purchase biodiesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard, it led to a rare moment of agreement between Pruitt and his oil company backers and the community of environmental, conservation and anti-hunger groups working this issue. Reducing biodiesel production would be a good thing.

Biodiesel: Not at All “Green”

The biodiesel industry has successfully marketed their product as clean-burning and climate-friendly, but new research paints the fuel as anything but green. The overwhelming majority of biodiesel consumed in the United States comes not from waste or recycled oil, but from virgin vegetable oils, primarily soy. These oils are closely linked in the global market to expanding vegetable oil production in Latin America and Southeast Asia, two regions suffering massive deforestation for the production of vegetable oil crops.

In short, any increase in biodiesel production means that more land has to come under cultivation, which means that somewhere in the world, a forest or prairie will be razed. And when all those land impacts are added up, biodiesel looks even worse for the climate than dirty old oil.

It’s also no accident that the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest ever this year, or that Lake Erie is perennially choked by algal blooms. In the US, where corn ethanol production is even bigger that soy biodiesel, over 7 million acres in the U.S. were converted to agricultural production for biofuels since 2007. That’s an area the size of Delaware.

What was once prairie, grassland and forest, providing natural habitat and clean drinking water, is now industrial scale farms. Pesticide and fertilizers run-off pollutes waterways, locally and downstream.

Why Reduce Biodiesel Mandates Now?

The EPA’s request for comments comes at an interesting time. The Commerce Department recently recommended that the tariffs be imposed on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The tax credit for biodiesel is also in limbo, since it expired at the end of 2016 and has not yet been renewed.

Both these developments are good – let’s not import biodiesel from countries undergoing massive deforestation for the crops used to make the biodiesel, let’s not use taxpayer money to subsidize polluting fuels – but the story doesn’t end there.

There is still the critical question of what the EPA does with biodiesel mandate levels. If current levels are maintained, but Argentina and Indonesia imports decline, that leaves a market opening for biodiesel production to ramp up somewhere else. Which we don’t want. Even domestic biodiesel production is linked to expanding markets for palm oil, a crop that has enormous carbon emissions.

Where Conservationists and Oil Companies Agree

That’s why Mighty Earth joined a coalition of progressive groups last week, in addition to tens of thousands of citizens, and asked Administrator Pruitt last week to reduce the federal biodiesel mandate. We’re proud to partner on this issue with the Clean Air Task Force, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Rainforest Action Network and Action Aid USA, and others.

And if this puts us in agreement with Administrator Pruitt and the oil companies, albeit for very different reasons, so be it. We’ll keep fighting them to maintain strong fuel economy standards and move the vehicle fleet toward electrification. But on this one topic we agree – biodiesel mandates need to go.

Coda: Trump Walks Back Pruitt Proposal

The EPA biodiesel proposal drew fierce backlash from the Midwestern delegation and the corn and soy lobbying groups, intent on preserving this enormous agricultural subsidy.

And the administration relented. Bloomberg News reported that President Trump personally intervened, directing Administrator Pruitt to reverse course on potential biodiesel reductions.

The agricultural lobby may have won this round, but it’s more and more clear that that a wide variety of stakeholders want biofuel policy reform. From an environmental and conservation perspective, reducing the use of vegetable oil-based biodiesel and corn ethanol would be a major step in the right direction.

Six Maps that Explain the Ivory Coast Cocoa Crisis

Mighty partnered with MapHubs to map deforestation linked to Cocoa in the Ivory Coast. Leo Bottrill and Kris Carle, MapHubs’ Founders, explain through six maps how this was possible

The best way to describe mapping Ivory Coast deforestation is a club sandwich. The ubiquitous double decker sandwich requires piling layers, turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato on top of each other to a precarious height, which is held in place by a cocktail stick.


Like the unwieldy club sandwich, we assembled multiple map layers to interpret the scale and causes of deforestation in the Ivory Coast. To make managing multiple datasets and maps easy, we used MapHubs - our simple map making and data management technology - which, like the proverbial cocktail stick, keeps everything in its place.


Through six maps below, here are some insights into how cocoa has impacted the Ivory Coast’s forests.


Map 1 - Ivory Coast Deforestation in 1990, 2000, and 2015

We obtained the three datasets of forest loss in the Ivory Coast in 1990, 2000, and 2015 from the National Bureau of Technical Studies (BNETD). The exact methodology was not provided, but it appears to be NASA Landsat data. By computing the area of each pixel of the image, we obtained statistics for the entire country. As of 2015, we found that 3.7% of Ivory Coast’s land area remains forest.


We then overlaid this with protected areas and summarized the values inside each protected area polygon. This allowed us to rank the protected areas by their loss for each time range, total remaining forests, and percentage of remaining forest.

We also used Tree Cover loss data from University of Maryland’s Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) Lab ( This dataset has tree cover canopy density for the year 2000, and tree cover loss for each year between 2000 and 2015. For this dataset we quantified the tree cover loss for each year based on the canopy density using increments of 10 between 20% and 80%. By removing these lost areas from the 2000 baseline and summarizing what was left at each tree canopy density interval, we found a similar result of 3.6% forest remaining, when using the 70% tree canopy density threshold. As the table above illustrates, the Ivory Coast’s forest loss spiked considerably after 2011.


The table below provides a ranking of the Ivorian parks: which have the highest % age of forest left, and which have the highest volume of forest left.


Map 2 - Deforestation inside Peko National Park

We took advantage a recent advance in satellite technology called “nano satellites”, which are tiny shoebox-sized satellites that fly in constellations around the earth. The advantage of nano satellites is they image the entire planet every day . This greatly increases the odds of obtaining a cloud-free image in the notoriously cloudy tropical rainforest. Planet (, a nano satellite company, generously gave Mighty Earth access to their imagery archive for the Ivory Coast. We used Planet’s imagery and their handy comparison tool to illustrate how Peko National Park was further deforested by encroaching cocoa growers between December 2015 and January 2017.


Map 3 - Mapping Cocoa in Scio Forest Reserve

When zoomed in closer, the impact of cocoa within the Ivory Coast’s protect areas becomes more apparent. This map shows deforestation inside Scio Forest Reserve caused predominantly by cocoa growers. Very little forest remains in the reserve.


Map 4 - Cocoa roads

To verify whether Scio had been converted for cocoa production, we used OpenStreetMap to map roads and settlements inside the park. DigitalGlobe - a satellite company - have made their premium high resolution base map available for tracing in OpenStreetMap. With this incredible imagery, we were able to map both the road network and human settlements throughout Scio.

Example low resolution imagery
Same area with DigitalGlobe










We imported the road and settlement data into MapHubs. We then overlaid with park boundaries and add features such as streams and rivers. Finally, we used recent Planet imagery to identify cocoa growing areas and map cocoa households as well as the remaining forest areas. The resulting map illustrates that Scio’s forest has been almost completely converted to cocoa production with remnant forest found along the waterways and in small isolated patches.


Map 5 - Time Lapse Map for Deforestation

This gif illustrates how the pattern of deforestation inside Scio has been repeated across the Ivory Coast’s protected area system. Using GLAD Tree Cover Loss data, we animated a time series to illustrate deforestation from 2000 to 2014. The time series illustrates that during this period, deforestation largely occurred within the remaining forest reserves and national parks - the only areas left in the Ivory Coast with large stands of natural forest. Note the purple area is chimpanzee habitat, which along with southwest Ghana constitute some of the largest and last remaining chimpanzee habitats in West Africa.


Map 6 - Deforestation across West Africa

Cacao being a major driver of forest loss across West Africa with the Ivory Coast and Ghana that are the world’s #1 and #2 cacao producers have been particularly hard hit, notably in protected areas where the best quality forest remains. The bigger question is where next? As the table above illustrates, Liberia’s forests still remain largely intact but will likely come under increasing pressure from cocoa and other commodities such as oil palm.





Some final thoughts  

Cocoa supply chains can be mapping to the farm level


From our experience making these maps, it’s feasible to map all of the cocoa growing areas including settlements, households, and roads. This could largely be accomplished with OpenStreetMap using DigitalGlobe imagery. We also wrote an algorithm that can identify cocoa households, which should speed up the mapping process.


Once mapped, this data would provide a basis for building deforestation-free cocoa supply chains. All cocoa associations would need to provide GPS points for all member locations, which most currently don’t. This could then be verified from a national spatial database of households.


This would be relatively easy, fast, and inexpensive to do and could potentially be replicated in other forest countries.


Monitoring Forests is about to get a lot easier.

With support from Mighty, we are building a rapid response forest alert system, which will provide regular forest monitoring. Using GLAD Alerts from the University of Maryland coupled with Planet imagery, the tool will allow Mighty to monitor hundreds of different locations for deforestation. Mighty and their partners will receive regular PDF reports documenting deforestation and rankings We plan to make this application to other be used by government agencies, cocoa growers and purchasers, and watchdog organizations. Our goal is to make forest monitoring effective, simple, affordable to any group wishing tackling deforestation. If you would like more information, please contact us here.


MapHubs is a pretty handy cocktail stick for your maps


On just this one project, we’ve used over 50 map layers and made 25 interactive maps. When combined with other Mighty campaigns, we are talking a lot of maps and data layers, which can be complicated to maintain.


Mighty use MapHubs Pro to store and manage all of their map layers and interactive maps, which are easily found by keyword and grouped according to campaigns. While the platform is private, Mighty can publish a map such as this one publicly on their website or in social media:


If you are interested in learning more about MapHubs Pro visit our site at or drop us a line at [email protected].



New Investigation Into British Retailers' Supply Chains Finds Soy Linked to Deforestation

A new Mongabay investigation into the supply chains of major Britsh retailers including McDonalds, Tesco, and Morrisions, buy from Cargill which raises their poultry on imported soy directly linked to deforestation in Bolivia and Brazil. Read the full article here.


Banner Image Credit: © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace