Alex Armstrong

Bridgestone hits the brakes on deforestation

Eco-Business | Feb. 9, 2018 

US-based environmental group Mighty Earth welcomed this move as progress in the global tire industry, which is a driver of deforestation and uses 70 per cent of the world’s natural rubber each year.

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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/.


Enviro group praises Bridgestone's zero deforestation policy

Tire Business | Feb. 7, 2018 

Mighty Earth, an environmental group devoted to protecting rain forests and other endangered landscapes, is praising Bridgestone Corp. for the zero deforestation portion of its recently announced Global Sustainability Procurement Policy.

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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.”

 


Tyson Foods focus of DC group’s Shore campaign

Delmarvanow | Jan. 26, 2018 

An environmental group kicked off a campaign on Virginia's Eastern Shore targeting poultry processor Tyson Foods Inc. Mighty Earth wants Tyson, America's largest meat company, to adopt sustainable practices in its supply chain.

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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.


Burned

January 2018

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.

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Europa droht ein Handelskrieg

Handelsblatt | Jan. 18, 2018 

Das EU-Parlament will umstrittene Palmöl-Importe eindämmen. Doch der Schritt, der die Umwelt schützen soll, sorgt in Malaysia und Indonesien für Empörung. Kleinbauern fürchten um ihre Existenz.

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Turning Soybeans Into Diesel Fuel Is Costing Us Billions

NPR | Jan. 16, 2018 

This year, trucks and other heavy-duty motors in America will burn some 3 billion gallons of diesel fuel that's made primarily from vegetable oil. They're doing it, though, not because it's cheaper or better, but because they're required to, by law.

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Report: US biodiesel fueling deforestation

Axios | Jan. 16, 2018 

The U.S. biofuels mandate is driving destruction of ecologically vital forests in Argentina to make way for soybean fields, despite U.S. policy aimed at preventing imports of biodiesel linked to deforestation, according to a new report out today.

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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/

 


Tax credit fight idles following trade policy wins

E&E Daily | Jan. 9, 2018 

A push to keep biodiesel importers from receiving a federal tax credit may be losing momentum, thanks to the U.S. biodiesel industry's recent wins on trade policy.

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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/

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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.