Mighty Earth: Glasgow’s $12 billion for forests great news, but just a start


2 November 2021


Joel Finkelstein | 202.285.0113 | [email protected]


Glenn Hurowitz Founder and CEO, Mighty Earth

“$12 billion to protect and restore the world’s forests is a welcome boost for nature conservation, but it is still paltry compared to either the need or the investment happening in the energy sector. Nature based climate solutions represent 37% of the solution, and until now have received just two percent of total climate finance.

“Climate policymakers are still indulging in an energy fetish that is blinding them to the outsized potential for forests, mangroves, and grasslands to suck extra carbon out of the atmosphere. Sure, we need to go big on energy, transportation, and industrial decarbonization – but we need to go at least as big when it comes in investing in the natural climate solutions all around us.”

On the source of the finance commitment:

“It’s remarkable that philanthropy is providing such a large share of this pledge, when governments and the private sector have vastly more resources. The battle to stop the collapse of the natural systems that underpin life on Earth shouldn’t depend so disproportionately on charity.”

On other upcoming deforestation decisions:

“The UK, US, and European Union are all considering new legislation to ban the import of commodities linked to deforestation. Big ag interests are aggressively lobbying for some giant loopholes. We hope Glasgow is a springboard to go from talking about action on forests to making deforestation illegal once and for all.”

On some noticeably absent investors:

“It’s great to see several large investors pledging to curtail financing deforestation, but several of the biggest bankrollers of deforestation like BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street are notably absent. Notorious forest destroyers like JBS and Bunge just shouldn’t have access to mainstream capital markets to finance the bulldozing of the world’s last rainforests.”

On the missing meat sector:

“The meat industry drives more deforestation and climate pollution than the entire global transportation sector, but is missing entirely from the pledge. It’s not surprising given that the giant meat companies that supply the UK and other markets like Cargill and JBS have resisted calls from customers and financiers alike to shift their development to the Earth’s 1.6 billion acres of previously deforested lands. It’s time for Tesco and other supermarkets to stop putting up with their suppliers’ continued efforts to tear down everything the world is calling for when it comes to conservation.”

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Glenn Hurowitz is a globally recognized leader and campaigner on forests, agriculture, and climate change.

Glenn Hurowitz is the founder and CEO of Mighty Earth, a global environmental organization. Glenn leads campaigns to protect forests, conserve oceans, and solve climate change, and is an internationally recognized expert on forests, agriculture, and climate change. Under his leadership, Mighty Earth has achieved transformative forest, climate, and human rights policies from the world’s biggest emitting industries – including major contributions to driving a 90% reduction in deforestation for palm oil, industry-wide action to end deforestation and land-grabbing in the rubber and cocoa industries, and billions of dollars in new clean energy investments. In addition to advocacy, Mighty Earth monitors tends of millions of acres of forests globally as part of its Rapid Response satellite monitoring and supply chain analysis program. Glenn previously co-founded Chain Reaction Research, which provides major financial institutions with in-depth risk analysis of companies’ sustainability risk; served as Managing Director of Waxman Strategies, and chaired the Forest Heroes campaign, which won the Benny Award from the Business Ethics Network for itssuccesses in transforming global agriculture.

Glenn has worked extensively in politics, and is the author of the critically-acclaimed book Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Nation, Politico, The American Prospect, and The Singapore Straits Times, among others. He’s appeared on many international media outlets, including CNN, Bloomberg, BBC, MSNBC, FOX, CBS, and NPR. He is a graduate of the Green Corps fellowship and Yale University.