Alex Armstrong

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

#CleanItUpTyson campaign kicks off across the country

Last week, communities from Des Moines to New Orleans met in town halls across the country to build the call for Tyson’s CEO to #CleanItUpTyson. Community members gathered to share ideas and brainstorm strategies for urging America’s largest meat company to clean up pollution from its supply chain that’s contaminating local drinking water and causing a massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

The local campaigns are part of Mighty Earth’s national effort to hold the meat industry accountable for reducing its vast environmental impact, which is driving widespread water pollution, clearance of natural landscapes, high rates of soil erosion, and greenhouse gas emissions. Local communities from the Heartland to the Gulf are among those most affected by the meat industry’s impacts, and pay billions each year in clean up costs.

Participants got creative with ideas for media outreach, petitioning, coalition building, and grassroots organizing in their communities., and drove from up to three hours away to attend.

In Chicago, Illinois:


In Dallas, Texas:


Des Moines, Iowa:


Fayetteville, Arkansas


Kansas City, Missouri


New Orleans, Louisiana


Omaha, Nebraska

This palm oil company promised destruction - and it delivered.

The palm oil industry has become notorious for deforestation and abuse of indigenous communities. Some companies have made progress in addressing these issues through the adoption and implementation of strong forest conservation and human rights policies. However, deforestation is continuing across Indonesia because of rogue companies that are attempting to evade these new environmental and social requirements on a vast scale.


We’ve always thought these companies knew exactly what they were doing, knew the damage their wholesale destruction of forests would do to ecosystems and communities. But it’s rare to see explicit proof of companies’ foreknowledge of the massive impacts they cause. However, exactly that type of proof recently fell into Mighty Earth’s lap.


We recently received the social and environmental impact assessment that was submitted to the Indonesian government in 2009 as part of the permitting process for establishing a 39,000 hectare palm oil plantation called PT Bio Inti Agrindo (PT BIA). The plantation is located in Papua, Indonesia’s largest remaining intact rainforest. The plantation is now owned by the South Korean conglomerate POSCO Daewoo. All palm oil companies in Indonesia are required to submit these assessments, known as “AMDALs”, but rarely are these AMDALs seen by the public.


Throughout the assessment, the company explicitly acknowledges the devastating impacts its development would have on the environment and on the local community. What’s truly sad is that all of the impacts the company anticipated came true. Unfortunately, the Indonesian government licensed PT BIA for development despite the consequences detailed in the assessment, underscoring the leniency of the Indonesian Government’s permitting process for palm oil and other industrial development at the time.


There are dozens of pages of anticipated negative impacts listed in the report. Among the most shocking:

  • Polluting the Bian and Fly Rivers with toxic waste, despite acknowledging that the community uses these rivers daily for drinking, bathing, and fishing. While it does state an intent to build a wastewater treatment facility, the report acknowledges that the pollution levels are likely to exceed the facility's capacity.
  • Destroying the habitat of several protected species, including the tree kangaroo, through the conversion of native forest to monoculture plantation.
  • Increasing the risk for severe public health impacts like the spread of malaria, ISPA (acute respiratory tract infection), and diarrhea due to the water pollution and ecosystem changes.
  • Constructing the palm oil plantation on customary lands.
  • Spurring social restlessness, conflict and anarchy.




See below for selected excerpts:





Result of impact identification and prediction as spelled out in the document of Reference Framework on Environmental Impact Analysis (KA-ANDAL) is that the subject matters of impact due to this activity plan of oil palm plantation project construction and the construction plan of PT Bio Inti Agrindo’s processing plant, in Papua province are as follows:

  • (1)  the degradation of Bian River’s and Fly River’s water quality
  • (2)  the increasing rate of soil erosion
  • (3)  the disturbance to protected Flora /vegetation and Fauna/wild animals
  • (4)  local community’s complaint and restlessness (community’s perception)
  • (5)  community’s health”



PT BIA outlined the expected intensity and duration of the impact of its development as follows (bold font added for emphasis):




“•       The use of local people’s communal right on land: temporary, during the commencement period of construction

  • The upgrade of dust’s degree: every day, during the activity period (25 years) 

  • The degradation of water quality due to PKS waste: every day, during the activity period (25 years) 

  • The increase of boar and rat pest: 5-6 years during the commencement 
period of construction
  • The damage of road due to excess load of CPO: every day, during the activity period (25 years) 


The nature of community’s perception impact (complaints and restlessness) above if the source of impact is not managed well, it is estimated to occur a conflict and social anarchy.”




In reference to the impact on community health specifically, PT BIA expected:




“The nature of impact of oil palm plantation and processing plant construction activity plan on community’s health parameter is deemed as a negative impact. The oil palm plantation activity and the dumping of liquid waste into Bian and Fly rivers will have an impact on the health of those communities using the rivers for daily purpose. This will trigger the emergence of various diseases such as malaria, ISPA (acute respiratory tract infection), and diarrhea.


The emergence of malaria disease is based on such considerations like among others the disturbance of mosquito habitat existing at the project site and the entry of occupants who are in general susceptible to malaria disease.


The intensity of impact will occur continuously until the end of activity.

The other environmental component going to suffer the impact of this community’s health is social restlessness (community’s perception). By the degradation of community’s health condition and the emergence of various diseases, it will result in social restlessness (community’s perception that tends to be negative).”



Indeed, several of these exact impacts were described to Mighty Earth in July 2017 during a meeting with Pastor Nikodemus Rumbayan MSC, Parish Pastor in Muting, one of the villages affected by PT BIA. He especially emphasized the pollution of the Bian River due to the dumping of palm oil waste, the worsening health condition of the community, and the rising social tensions due to the land conflict between indigenous clans that was spurred by PT BIA’s development. These impacts were also revealed in a recent article published in the South Korean weekly news magazine SisaIN, which was based on interviews with affected community members.


Community blockaide to stop POSCO Daewoo’s expansion in July 2014.


Bullet shells from shots fired by the military at the Indonesian flag the community protesters were holding. As PT BIA predicted, its development on customary lands and degradation of the local environment has created conflict and social unrest. Photo credit: SKP KAMe Merauke.



The environment and social impact report also admitted that the project would harm the habitat of fauna in the area of PT BIA, including several protected endangered species. Here are just a few excerpts:



“The nature of this wild animals relocation and migration impact constitutes a secondary impact due a change to the animals’ habitat function due to a change to secondary forest’s vegetation to become an open area and monoculture crops.
The subsequent impact is the migration of those animals to another area or the decrease of protected animals population in said area covering:

  • Protected animal species : cuscus (Phalanger gymnotis), tree kangaroo (Dendrologus ursinus), and deer (Cervus timorensis).
  • Protected aves species: cassowary (casuarius casuarius), fish eagle (Pandion haliaetus), big beak parakeet (tanygnathus megalorinchos), blue chest Cendrawasih (Ptiloris magnificus), and yellow crest cockatoo (cacatua galerite)
  • Protected reptile species: fresh water crocodile (Crocodilus novaeguineae), Irian turtle (Carettachelys coraceae) and lizard (Varanus gouldi).”


It describes the potential impact on these protected species as follows:



“Onshore fauna /wild animals; the construction activity of oil palm plantation as a whole is potential to degrade the quality of wild animals’ habitat existing at the study area. In addition to habitat, this activity is also potential to decrease the abundance of animals’ feed in the form of vegetation (herbivora) and animals (carnivora). In the review on wild animals preservation, it is not only the protected wild animals need to maintain, but also the other animals being the feed of carnivora that need to maintain. The activities estimated to damage wild animals’ habitat is land preparation 
(land opening) and road network building activities

Aquatic biota; as the subsequent impact of the degraded water quality is the 
degradation of aquatic biota’s habitat (plankton, nekton and benthos)”


Fish dead in the Bian River, due to the toxic pollution coming from PT BIA.


“The impact of oil palm plantation and processing plant construction activity on this wild animals is deemed as an important negative impact with significant weight of impact (-3) based on the following considerations:

(1) the loss of original vegetation will reduce the population of protected wild animals of quite wide diversity, due to the loss of their habitat functioning as a place to find feed, nesting, egging, and breeding, even though certain animals will undergo a migration out of the study area

  • (2)  the presence of outsiders working at the project area, tends to cause a potential decrease of unique wild animals, due to a demand for being owned and raised (for aves species) even for being taken their meat (deer) through hunting
  • (3)  the migration of wild animals particularly boar and rat will potentially become a pest for plants, either oil palm plant or community’s feed plant, that might impact on the death/damage of cultivation crops which shall be detrimental to the community 

  • (4)  the impact characteristic of this wild animals’ migration can be classified as permanent impact, except for mobile species (certain aves)”


“The impact of oil palm plantation construction plan on nature’s vegetation constitutes a primary impact where by total felling down system, the floristic composition in the existing land will be replaced with monoculture vegetation system. Further, since the previous existing vegetation constituted a habitat of various wild animals (protected and non-protected ones), then this impact is classified as an important impact.”



Tree kangaroo, baby in pouch, roaming the underbrush in Papua. In its environmental and social impact assessment, PT BIA acknowledged that it would destroy tree kangaroo habitat and have a perminant negative impact on the species and other protected species in the area. Photo credit: Bustar Maitar


While it’s impossible to reverse all of the damage its already caused, POSCO Daewoo must immediately enact a moratorium on forest clearing in order to do no further harm, adopt a comprehensive group-level No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation policy, and undertake credible sustainability assessments (High Carbon Stock and High Conservation Value) aligned with the industry benchmark for responsible production, the High Carbon Stock Approach. In addition, POSCO Daewoo must take responsibility for the negative impacts PT BIA knowingly brought to the environment and communities in Papua. It should invest in extensive forest restoration, clean up the Bian and Fly rivers until water quality is restored to its original condition, and seek to resolve the social conflicts it has spurred to the satisfaction of the community.

This case also raises questions about whether exciting licenses should be reviewed and, in instances where companies have inflicted significant harm to community health and wellbeing, peatlands, or Indonesia’s dwindling rainforests, revoked.








Photo credit: Mighty Earth


Credit: Mighty Earth, June 2016



To read the full social impact assessment, click here.



Caption for banner image: According to Pastor Nikodemus Rumbayan MSC, Parish Pastor in Muting, the village Chief’s wife had to go to the hospital after bathing in the water because her skin broke out in rashes. She was urged to keep quiet about the incident.

Photo Credit: SKP KAMe Merauke


New satellite mapping reveals POSCO Daewoo continues to clear Indonesian rainforest at rapid pace in second half of 2017

Company could clear all remaining forest on its palm oil plantation by end of the year


New satellite mapping of Papua, Indonesia - home to the third largest rainforest in the world - shows that the Korean conglomerate POSCO Daewoo has continued to rapidly clear large areas of the rainforest for palm oil production at its palm oil plantation called PT Bio Inti Agrindo (PT BIA).


The mapping shows that POSCO Daewoo has destroyed an area of forest approximately half the size of the metropolis of Seoul, South Korea — an estimated total of 27,050 hectares of mostly primary rainforest – as of August 19, 2017.


Of PT BIA’s two blocks of land, block I has already been completely cleared, totaling 6,816 hectares of deforested land.

Map depicting cleared areas and remaining forest at Block II of POSCO Daewoo’s PT BIA concession in Papua, Indonesia. Click here to see an interactive version of this map.


The new Planet satellite map of block II above depicts the area cleared from February 21, 2017 to August 19, 2107 – a total of 4,203 hectares, outlined in orange. The area outlined in yellow was cleared prior to February 21, 2017, a total of 16,031 ha. Combined with the complete clearing of block I (6,816 ha), POSCO Daewoo has cleared an estimated total of 27,050 ha of mostly pristine rainforests. Given its pace of clearing, it is likely more deforestation has occurred in the past month, but no cloud-free satellite image was available in this timeframe.


An estimated 8,032 ha of forest remain in the PT BIA concession, outlined in green. At POSCO Daewoo’s extremely rapid pace of clearing, it could clear the entirety of the remaining forest in its concession by the end of 2017. Indeed, the visible outline of new roads into the forested area indicate more clearing is imminent. POSCO Daewoo has refused to institute a moratorium on forest clearing.


This animation shows the conversion of forest to plantation by POSCO Daewoo from February 21, 2017 to August 19, 2017, totaling an approximate 4,201 hectares.


Animation using Planet satellite imagery, showing forest clearance by POSCO Daewoo at its PT BIA palm oil plantation in Papua, Indonesia between February 21, 2017 and August 19, 2017, totaling 4,203 hectares.





Clearance at PT BIA from July to September 2017 using Sentinel-1 radar data.


POSCO Daewoo should be on a black list for any potential customers, business partners, or financiers who are striving to achieve responsible business practices and supply chains.
Caption for banner image: New palm oil saplings planted on land that used to be covered by virgin rainforests at POSCO Daewoo’s PT BIA concession. @Mighty Earth, June 2016.



Mighty Earth partners with Green Corps to Clean Up America’s Meat

Tyson Foods needs to step up and make a clear commitment to cleaning up pollution from its meat that is contaminating waters across the country. That’s the core message that Green Corps organizers will be bringing to communities most affected by this pollution as part of Mighty Earth’s campaign for cleaner meat.


Mighty Earth has partnered with Green Crops to place seven grassroots organizers in communities across the Midwest and Gulf, including Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Fayetteville, Arkansas; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Dallas, Texas. Green Corps is the nation’s leading training program for environmental organizing, and partners with environmental campaigns across the country as part of a year-long training program.


“Green Corps gets the job done,” said Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz, himself a graduate of Green Corps’ organizing fellowship. “With the nation’s most talented young environmental organizers on board, we’re building a powerful movement that will end the meat industry’s out-of-control pollution.”


The meat industry is the main source of water pollution in the United States. Pollution from raising meat is contaminating drinking water across the Midwest, and flows 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. This year’s dead zone was the largest on record. The pollution comes primarily from producing the vast quantities of corn and soy required to raise meat, although manure is also a source.


An investigation by Mighty Earth into the specific companies responsible for this pollution found Tyson Foods to be at the forefront. Tyson Foods is America’s largest meat company, producing one out of every five pounds of meat in the country, and its vast footprint can be found driving the agricultural practices in all the regions experiencing the worst pollution from meat.


However, Tyson’s new CEO recently stated he wants to ‘place sustainability at the center of the company’s strategy’. Mighty Earth has partnered with Green Corps to make sure Tyson lives up to its word and adopts a clear commitment to cleaning up pollution from its vast meat supply chain. Green Corps organizers are taking the findings of our investigation to communities across the country most impacted by the meat industry’s pollution in order to build the call for Tyson to Clean It Up.


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Interested in getting more involved? Click here to sign up to volunteer for the cause in your community.

El chocolate que se come a África

El Pais | Sept. 14, 2017

La ONG Mighty Earth denuncia la explotación ilegal y sistemática de zonas protegidas en Ghana y Costa de Marfil por parte de la potente industria del cacao.

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Cacao ivoirien : une ONG accuse les grands groupes de favoriser la déforestation

Jeune Afrique | Sep. 13, 2017

L’ONG Mighty Earth accuse les principaux négociants de cacao et les grands chocolatiers de complicité dans la déforestation ivoirienne : selon elle, ces derniers ferment les yeux sur les conditions de culture des fèves.

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Schmutzige Schokolade

Der Spiegel | Sept. 13, 2017

Für den Kakaoanbau wird in der Elfenbeinküste Regenwald im großen Stil gerodet. Ein Report zeigt das Ausmaß der Zerstörung - und belegt, wie wenig Regierung und Konzerne wie Nestlé, Mars oder Lindt dagegen tun.

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'Once this was all trees, but they burned them to plant cocoa': the ruin of West Africa's rainforest

The Guardian | Sept. 13, 2017

A journey into the heart of Ivory Coast reveals its forests are being ripped up to feed the growing global demand for chocolate.

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Chocolate industry drives rainforest disaster in Ivory Coast

The Guardian | Sept. 13, 2017

Exclusive: As global demand for chocolate booms, ‘dirty’ beans from deforested national parks have entered big business supply chains

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Environmental group cries “fowl” over biodiesel event

Biodiesel not a “feel-good, hippie fuel”


Washington, DC-- The National Biodiesel Board offered Congressional members and staff free French fries today, but the group’s touting of used cooking oil misrepresents the real-world reality of biodiesel production.  Environmentalists and their animal ‘friends’ attended the event to share information about the strong links between biodiesel and deforestation.


“Biodiesel is not a feel-good, hippie fuel. Rather than Willie Nelson’s tour bus, the more accurate representation of biodiesel is a tropical rainforest which has just been bulldozed and cleared for an industrial-scale soy or palm plantation,” said Rose Garr of Mighty Earth.


The large majority of biodiesel is produced from virgin vegetable oils, not used cooking oil. And even recycled and “waste” oils and fats may not have the climate benefits long assumed.  Recent research show as that these oils and fats can be used in animal feed and consumer care products, and diverting them to fuel production drives demand for replacements and expands the global vegetable oil market. The cheapest replacement is often palm oil, which is a major driver of deforestation in Southeast Asia.


“We’re offering to buy that used fryer oil, take it off the Biodiesel Board’s hands, and give it to a Maryland farmer to use as feed. Continuing to ramp up biodiesel production and grow demand for vegetable oils around the globe will contribute to deforestation,” Garr added.


In 2017, significant quantities of biodiesel imports were imported from Argentina and Indonesia, two countries experiencing high levels of deforestation for agricultural production.



La destruction de parcs nationaux par l’industrie du chocolat révélée par une enquête

La destruction de parcs nationaux par l’industrie du chocolat révélée par une enquête

La culture du cacao en Côte d’Ivoire et au Ghana est responsable de la disparition de vastes étendues boisées, et met en péril l’habitat des chimpanzés et des éléphants

WASHINGTON DC. — Une nouvelle enquête menée par Mighty Earth et intitulée L’amère déforestation du chocolat, révèle qu’une quantité importante du cacao avec lequel Mars, Nestlé, Hershey, Godiva et d’autres grandes marques fabriquent leur chocolat est cultivée illégalement dans des parcs nationaux et des aires protégées en Côte d’Ivoire et au Ghana. Ces deux pays sont les plus grands producteurs de cacao au monde.

Ce rapport démontre que plusieurs parcs nationaux et aires protégées ont vu 90 % de leur surface, voire davantage, convertie en cultures de cacao, alors que les forêts denses ne recouvrent plus que 4 % de la Côte d’Ivoire. Le laxisme des chocolatiers en matière d’approvisionnement a également entraîné une déforestation massive au Ghana. En Côte d’Ivoire, la déforestation a chassé les chimpanzés qui vivent aujourd’hui dans des petites poches de forêts. Ce phénomène a aussi contribué à réduire drastiquement la population d’éléphants à 200-400 spécimens, quand ce pays pouvait s’enorgueillir jadis d’en compter plusieurs dizaines de milliers.

Trois sociétés, Cargill, Olam et Barry Callebaut, contrôlent à elles seules près de la moitié du marché mondial du cacao. L’enquête de Mighty Earth a remonté la filière du cacao, des cultivateurs installés dans les parcs nationaux aux intermédiaires et jusqu’aux négociants qui vendent ensuite ce cacao en Europe et aux États-Unis, là où les grandes sociétés de chocolaterie le transforment en tablettes, barres, pâtes à tartiner et autres en-cas.

« Le degré d’implication de marques célèbres de chocolat comme Mars dans la destruction des parcs nationaux et des aires protégées est choquant », a déclaré Etelle Higonnet, Directrice juridique et Directrice de campagne pour Mighty Earth. « Ces sociétés doivent immédiatement prendre des mesures fortes pour mettre un terme une bonne fois pour toutes à la déforestation, et remédier aux dégâts causés par le passé. »

Avec des forêts d’Afrique de l’Ouest au bord de l’épuisement, le secteur du chocolat a commencé à étendre son modèle non durable à d’autres régions tropicales humides comme l’Amazonie péruvienne, le bassin du Congo et les forêts paradisiaques d’Asie du Sud-Est.


« Nous espérons que ces autres pays prendront conscience des méfaits de l’industrie du chocolat en Côte d’Ivoire, et qu’ils empêcheront ses acteurs de répéter ailleurs leurs mauvaises pratiques », poursuit Etelle Higonnet. 

« Les anciennes forêts de notre nation étaient autrefois un paradis pour la faune comme les chimpanzés, les léopards, les hippopotames, et les éléphants. Aujourd’hui, elles sont fortement dégradées et déboisées, et sont sur le point de disparaître », a déclaré SIGNO Kouamé Soulago Fernand, Secrétaire général du ROSCIDET, un réseau d’ONG ivoiriennes spécialisées dans la protection de l’environnement et dans le développement durable.

« Cette déforestation est due principalement à la culture du cacao. Or, nous devons parvenir à développer une agriculture respectueuse des forêts et qui profite réellement aux communautés et à l’économie du pays. Les grands groupes chocolatiers doivent soutenir les actions du gouvernement en ce sens à la fois financièrement et sur un plan technologique. »

L’enquête a révélé que d’importants campements de cultivateurs de cacao, qui comptent parfois de dizaines de milliers d’habitants, se sont installés dans l’enceinte même d’aires protégées comme des parcs nationaux. Nous avons pu démontrer que des négociants achetaient ouvertement ces fèves cultivées illégalement pour les vendre ensuite aux plus grands chocolatiers du monde. Malgré les nombreuses initiatives publiques en matière de développement durable lancées par ces derniers, ces pratiques se sont perpétuées sans réel changement.

« L’industrie du cacao poursuit son exploitation des forêts et des communautés d’Afrique de l’Ouest pour un cacao vendu pour une bouchée de pain », a déclaré Sindou BAMBA, Coordinateur général de Regroupement des acteurs ivoiriens des droits humains (RAIDH). « Mais ce cacao bon marché coûte en revanche fort cher à la Côte d’Ivoire en matière de déforestation et d’abus des droits humains. Il est grand temps que ce secteur achète le cacao à un prix décent aux agriculteurs et qu’il mette en œuvre des pratiques de production durables afin d’assurer la résilience des écosystèmes locaux, car nous finirons tous par payer tôt ou tard le prix de la destruction de ces forêts. »

Les cultivateurs de cacao en Côte d’Ivoire et au Ghana gagnent en moyenne moins de 0,82 $ par jour et travaillent souvent de longues heures dans des conditions dangereuses. Le travail des enfants reste encore une pratique courante pour ce secteur, malgré les promesses de nombreux chocolatiers d’éliminer cette pratique.

Ce rapport arrive à point nommé pour le secteur du chocolat qui doit saisir cette occasion pour prendre de véritables mesures orientées vers un futur plus responsable sur le plan environnemental. Au début de cette année, le Prince Charles a convoqué les PDG et hauts dirigeants de 34 grandes entreprises du secteur du chocolat pour les exhorter à agir contre la déforestation. Ces entreprises ont promis de présenter un plan concret en novembre, à l’occasion du prochain sommet sur le climat à Bonn. 

« Ce rapport montre que le secteur du chocolat proclame depuis longtemps des engagements en matière de développement durable, mais que cela ne l’a pas empêché de se comporter de manière indigne, a déclaré Etelle Higonnet. Le Prince Charles est parvenu à réunir les acteurs de ce secteur autour d’une table afin qu’ils réfléchissent enfin à des actions concrètes, et a créé ainsi une occasion unique pour impulser un changement possible. »


À propos de 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.

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