Michelin moves to keep rubber in EU Deforestation Regulation

Michelin today became the first major company to publicly express support for the inclusion of natural rubber under the forthcoming European Union Deforestation Regulation, which is entering the crucial final week of negotiations.  

The draft Regulation, which will prohibit the sale of agricultural products linked to deforestation in the EU, does not currently include rubber amongst the list of commodities covered. However, the European Parliament is pushing for rubber to be included, whilst individual member states are divided on the issue; leading to a stalemate in the negotiations. 

Crucial to swaying country positions is the opinion of companies that buy and sell rubber products, particularly tire companies, which are by far the largest users of natural rubber. To date, the industry has been lukewarm, with trade association ETRMA (European Tire and Rubber Manufacturers Association) failing to offer a clear position either way. 

Today's announcement by Michelin represents a breakthrough. In their statement, the company writes: 

"Michelin confirm that it supports the inclusion of natural rubber in the list of commodities affected by the regulation on imported deforestation, provided that the traceability’s requirements are adapted to the natural rubber supply chain, which is particularly complex and fragmented". 

The company prefers a district-level approach to traceability, rather than individual farm plot level. 

Responding to the statement, Mighty Earth Senior Director, Dr Julian Oram, commented:" 

“Michelin has shown much-needed leadership by calling for the inclusion of natural rubber within the EU Deforestation Regulation. Other European tire companies like #Pirelli and #Contintental need to do the same and tell EU policymakers that the industry is ready to make legal commitments on zero-deforestation natural rubber supply chains.” 

The final Trialogue discussions between EU member states, the Parliament, and the European Commission are due to take place on Monday December 5, 2022. 

Excavator in action at RLU/LAJ concession on High Conservation Value (HCV) potential area on the edge of Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, Jambi in Sumatra, November 2014. Credit: TFT/Earthworm (2014)

New investigation alleges deforestation and greenwashing linked to Michelin.

A major new year-and-a-half long investigation by Voxeurop into a “sustainable” rubber project by French tire giant Michelin and Indonesian conglomerate Barito Pacific has led to fresh allegations of widespread deforestation, wildlife habitat destruction, and greenwashing linked to the joint venture. 

The investigation, initially sparked by Mighty Earth’s 2020 Complicit report, alleges investors in a $95 million so-called “green bond” used to finance the PT Royal Lestari Utama (RLU) project in Jambi, Sumatra, were misled and never told that Michelin’s local partner had deforested thousands of hectares of tropical rainforest and global priority wildlife habitats just prior to the launch of the flagship project in January 2015. 

Michelin had claimed to investors that the RLU project would promote good practices for sustainable natural rubber production and support the development of local communities while protecting, reforesting, and restoring crucial habitats for the critically endangered Sumatran tigers, elephants, and orangutans, which live in and around RLU's rubber plantations.  

Specifically, Michelin said in a key press statement in May 2015 that their RLU project with Barito Pacific would include: “The reforestation of three concessions, representing a total surface area of 88,000 hectares, ravaged by uncontrolled deforestation.” But analysis of historical satellite imagery published in the Voxeurop report found much of the landscape within RLU’s concessions in Jambi was not previously “ravaged by uncontrolled deforestation” at all.  

Instead, Voxeurop’s investigation claims that 8,468 hectares of pristine rainforests within the concession were industrially deforested to make way for RLU’s monoculture rubber plantations and that, in doing so, vital habitats in Sumatra’s No.1 conservation priority area – including key tiger ranges, elephant corridors, and orangutan re-introduction sites – were destroyed and fragmented. Two highly vulnerable forest-dwelling Indigenous communities also lost their ancestral lands, and other villagers and local communities have claimed they did not give their free, prior and informed consent for these forest clearances.

Overall, Voxeurop found about a third of the rubber plantations financed by the green bonds are located in the area that was deforested in Jambi before the joint venture with Michelin and Barito Pacific was signed.

The RLU project was supported by major organisations such as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), USAID, and WWF and backed by key banks and financiers such as BNP Paribas, ADM Capital and the &Green fund. But the investigation published by Voxeurop asserts that Michelin and the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (TLFF), which issued the 15-year $95m green bond, knew from an independent assessment report by Earthworm that Michelin’s local partner, Barito Pacific, had intentionally deforested the Jambi rainforests between 2011 and 2014. According to Voxeurop and an earlier complaint by Mighty Earth, this information was not shared with investors during the sale of $95m of green bonds on the Singapore Exchange in 2018 to finance the RLU project – a financial innovation dubbed as “Asia’s first green bond”, and which seemingly complied with Climate Bonds Initiative standards.  

In June 2022, Michelin acquired RLU as a sole shareholder. In an extraordinary twist, that following month, the entire $95m in long-dated green bonds were quietly redeemed and paid back in full to investors for reasons which remain unclear. 

Following the publication of the new evidence by Voxeurop, Mighty Earth Senior Director, Alex Wijeratna, said: 

“This is a major scandal and a classic example of how green bonds are fuelling corporate greenwashing.” 

“Two years ago, Mighty Earth produced evidence which suggested that Michelin knew its local partner had carried out extensive deforestation in Sumatra’s number one priority conservation area prior to the official launch of their joint venture. Voxeurop’s new investigation adds weight to our assertion that Michelin and other key actors failed to disclose material information about that critical habitat destruction to investors in this collapsed green bond scheme.” 

“Local communities claim they were allegedly forced off their ancestral land in Jambi without free, prior and informed consent, while global priority habitats of critically endangered species were destroyed, bringing people and wildlife into conflict. Mighty Earth is joining local groups in Indonesia calling for an urgent UN investigation into alleged Indigenous, environmental, and human rights violations linked to Michelin’s RLU rubber project in Sumatra.” 

With the publication of Voxeurop’s new investigation, there is now considerable evidence demonstrating that the RLU project in Jambi was in likely violation of the voluntary Green and Sustainability Bond Principles. Mighty Earth submitted a formal complaint to the green bond oversight body, the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) in London in March 2021 against the $95m green bond listing on the RLU project, but the CBI failed to formally respond to or investigate Mighty Earth’s complaint. With moves to tackle corporate greenwashing hitting the headlines at COP27, and the UN demanding a tightening of these voluntary standards, this case exemplifies all that is wrong with so-called “green” bonds.  

Dr Julian Oram, Senior Director at Mighty Earth, is calling for proper scrutiny of green and sustainability-linked bonds to prevent greenwashing:  

“Voxeurop’s evidence has exposed grave flaws in the booming but wildly unregulated green bond market. It has revealed how Southeast Asia’s first corporate green bond was glaringly unfit for purpose and facilitated greenwashing of a project with patently unsustainable origins.” 

“With proper human rights-based due diligence and close stakeholder consultation, green finance schemes can play an important role in leveraging vital funds into nature-enhancing agriculture projects. But we need tougher regulation and scrutiny of green, climate and sustainability-linked bonds to ensure these schemes don’t mislead investors or inadvertently fuel climate change or forest and wildlife habitat destruction.” 

Abdullah Bedoel, Executive Director of local environmental group Walhi Jambi, said human-wildlife conflict has become a bigger problem following the RLU project: 

“The local community in Jambi have lost most of their ancestral forests due to massive land clearing for Michelin’s RLU project. In the past, the community could use the forests as a source of livelihood and grow crops. Now the animals that used to live there have lost their habitat, and the area has been opened to wildlife hunters. The food chain is badly disrupted, causing wildlife such as tigers and elephants to descend on community settlements in search of food. In the past, before the large-scale forest clearing, there were no cases of wildlife attacks on local communities. Now, communities around the forest must deal with elephant herds entering their farmlands and tigers preying on their livestock, even resulting in fatalities.” 

Mighty Earth is calling for: 

  • An urgent UN investigation into alleged Indigenous, environmental and human rights violations in the RLU project area in Jambi, specifically those relating to the violation of Indigenous peoples’ rights; 
  • The publication of all environmental and social assessments, wildlife surveys, FPIC and community consultation exercises conducted before the launch of the joint venture between Michelin and Barito Pacific; 
  • Restoration of environmental damage done and full compensation for all negatively affected communities.
  • Tighter regulation of green bond markets to stop the mis-selling of financial products linked to “sustainable” rubber and other commodity projects without adequate due diligence checks.
  • A formal response to a written complaint submitted by Mighty Earth in March 2021 to the Climate Bonds Initiative, which played a crucial role in rubber-stamping the “green” credentials of the RLU project.

PROMISES, PROMISES! – Supermarkets response

In Mighty Earth’s recent soy report – Promises, Promises! – we found 27,000 hectares of deforestation which occurred on ten farms post 2020 in Brazil’s Cerrado savannah linked to major global soy traders – such as Cargill, Bunge, COFCO and LDC. It’s a shocking amount of deforestation in a critically threatened savannah and something major supermarket buyers should urgently act to stamp out. Key supermarkets have publicly committed to deforestation and conversion-free soy supplies with a cut-off date of January 2020 or earlier.

We sent our report to all members of the Retail Soy Group – who last year agreed on a Roadmap for zero-deforestation soy supplies – and urged them to investigate our claims and to drop any of their soy suppliers linked to this deforestation.

To date, Lidl and Migros have failed to respond to our research. Read the responses of the other supermarkets below:

Read the responses >>

La carne y los lácteos de los supermercados siguen vinculados a la deforestación prohibida

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA Lunes, 11 de julio de 2022

Las principales cadenas de supermercados Carrefour, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco y Sainsbury's siguen arriesgándose a vender productos cárnicos y lácteos relacionados con empresas que impulsan una enorme deforestación en Brasil, pese a que hace apenas unos meses la asociación sectorial que engloba a muchas de estas empresas, el Grupo de Minoristas de la Soja (Retail Soy Group, RSG), publicó una hoja de ruta en la que se pedía de forma inequívoca a las empresas asociadas que dejaran de realizar dichas compras vinculadas con la deforestación.

El Grupo de Minoristas de la Soja pretende apoyar el desarrollo de un mercado en el que la soja sostenible sea la norma. Este grupo representa a los supermercados Ahold Delhaize, Aldi South, Aldi North, Co-op (Reino Unido), Co-op Switzerland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco y Waitrose & Partners, y Woolworth's Group-Australia.

En respuesta al anuncio realizado por RSG en octubre de 2021 sobre la prohibición de las compras vinculadas a la deforestación, Mighty Earth llevó a cabo un análisis intensivo del cumplimiento por parte de las empresas de los pasos y compromisos clave que figuran en su propia hoja de ruta para la deforestación cero. El objetivo del análisis era proporcionar a los supermercados la información que necesitaban para cumplir con sus propios compromisos empresariales de actuar contra el cambio climático y acabar con la destrucción de los ecosistemas autóctonos.

El nuevo informe de Mighty Earth descubrió más de 27.000 hectáreas de deforestación reciente en plantaciones de soja en un solo ecosistema crítico -el Cerrado brasileño- sujeto a la prohibición de compra en base a dicho compromiso. Lo más importante es que la deforestación se produjo después de agosto de 2020, que es la fecha límite adoptada en la hoja de ruta de los supermercados. Nueve miembros del Grupo de Minoristas de la Soja -Ahold Delhaize, Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Migros, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose y Woolworths- y otros minoristas como Carrefour adoptaron explícitamente políticas de no comprar soja, carne o productos lácteos vinculados a empresas relacionadas con la deforestación producida posteriormente a 2020.

Sin embargo, aunque los supermercados aceptaron las nuevas y alarmantes pruebas aportadas por Mighty Earth, hasta la fecha todos se han negado a cumplir sus propios compromisos alejando su negocio de las empresas de la industria cárnica vinculadas a la deforestación.

En la explicación de sus razones para negarse a actuar de forma coherente con la hoja de ruta en cuya elaboración había participado, un portavoz de Aldi Süd escribió a Mighty Earth para decir que, a pesar de las nuevas pruebas, "nuestro enfoque es comunicar a los comerciantes [de soja] la petición y las expectativas alineadas de muchos actores de la cadena de suministro y comprometernos con ellos sobre una base de confianza en lugar de excluirlos o avergonzarlos públicamente".

"Que Aldi afirme que confía en las mismas empresas que acaban de salir a la luz pública incumpliendo sus propios compromisos de la Hoja de Ruta es el colmo de la deshonestidad, la ingenuidad o ambas cosas", dijo Alex Wijeratna, director senior de Mighty Earth. "Basta de palabras huidizas. Estamos hablando de una situación que conlleva al ecocidio".

"La destrucción del ecosistema que se ha documentado en el Cerrado en relación con estos supermercados es sólo una pequeña parte de toda la destrucción de la que son responsables", dijo Wijeratna. "Sabemos que estos supermercados también tienen vínculos en la cadena de suministro con una amplia destrucción del ecosistema en Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay y las Grandes Llanuras de Estados Unidos también".

El Cerrado de Brasil es la sabana y la pradera arbolada más biodiversa del mundo y es el punto caliente mundial de la deforestación provocada por la producción de carne. La agricultura animal es el mayor impulsor de la deforestación, de la extinción de la vida silvestre y del desplazamiento de los pueblos indígenas, y causa más contaminación climática que todos los coches, camiones, barcos y aviones del mundo juntos.

"El Cerrado es el nuevo Amazonas en términos de deforestación desenfrenada vinculada a la industria cárnica. Supermercados como Tesco, Carrefour, Adli y Lidl deberían cumplir su propia hoja de ruta y abandonar inmediatamente su relación comercial con los conocidos destructores de los bosques", dijo Wijeratna.

El informe de Mighty Earth "¡Palabras, palabras!" (adjunto) descubrió que los cinco principales comerciantes de alimentos para animales, Bunge, Cargill, COFCO, LDC y ALZ Grãos, seguían comprando soja a los proveedores locales brasileños y a los megaconglomerados que habían talado y deforestado desde la fecha límite de agosto de 2020 al menos 27.000 hectáreas en diez fincas en el Cerrado. Se trata de un área mayor que la ciudad de Edimburgo en Escocia, o la mitad del tamaño de Chicago.

Basado en el análisis de imágenes satelitales, otros hallazgos clave del informe de Mighty Earth incluyen:

  • Cada uno de los cinco principales comerciantes de soja tiene relaciones comerciales, bien directamente con las explotaciones agrícolas involucradas en la deforestación, bien con los grupos matriz (incluidos los megaconglomerados como BrasilAgro, SLC Agrícola y Condomínio Agrícola Estrondo).

  • La magnitud de la destrucción es enorme. El caso más grave de deforestación identificado se produjo dentro del Condomínio Agrícola Estrondo en Bahía; la investigación descubrió que se desbrozaron más de 15.000 hectáreas después de la fecha límite de 2020. De ellas, más de 100 hectáreas fueron probablemente ilegales, en lo que debería haber sido la Reserva Legal protegida de la finca.

  • Muchos otros casos fueron también significativos. La Fazenda Serra Grande de BrasilAgro, en Piauí, desbrozó más de 1.180 hectáreas de vegetación -el equivalente a 1.652 campos de fútbol- en un solo mes. La Fazenda Parnaíba de SLC Agrícola, en Maranhão, despejó 668 hectáreas - equivalentes a 935 campos de fútbol- de vegetación en seis meses.

  • Deforestación en curso también se encontró en las fincas de los proveedores que aparecen en los informes Rapid Response de seguimiento de la deforestación publicados anteriormente por Mighty Earth, incluyendo SLC Agrícola, Estreito Agropecuária, Grupo Mizote y Grupo Tomazini. Los principales comerciantes de soja, Bunge, Cargill, COFCO, LDC y ALZ Grãos, siguen comprando a uno o varios de estos proveedores locales, a pesar de que Mighty Earth dio la alarma públicamente sobre la deforestación en sus explotaciones hace más de un año.

    "Nos entusiasmamos cuando los supermercados por fin dieron un paso adelante y pasaron de pedir ineficazmente a la industria cárnica que detuviera la deforestación a finalmente comprometerse a hacer algo al respecto. Pero incluso ante la clara evidencia de la vasta destrucción de estos ecosistemas, parecen paralizados mientras Brasil arde. Dados los vínculos de su carne con la inmensa deforestación, los clientes deberían estar totalmente consternados por lo que estos supermercados están vendiendo", dijo Wijeratna. "Ya es hora de que los supermercados hagan algo de verdad, y no solo un lavado de imagen de su carne procedente de la deforestación".

La hoja de ruta del Grupo de Minoristas de la Soja fue muy clara sobre las medidas que deben tomar sus clientes: "Esta hoja de ruta presenta los principios y las prácticas que se necesitan urgentemente dentro del sector minorista para desempeñar su papel en la detención de la deforestación y la conversión, abordando así la crisis climática mundial y preservando los ecosistemas vitales de la Tierra, como el Amazonas, las Grandes Llanuras y el Cerrado", dijo en su comunicado de prensa de presentación de la Hoja de Ruta.


Para más información, llamar:
- MilesGrant(PrensadeMightyEarth):[email protected],+1703-864-9599(m) - CarlosBravo(MightyEarthenEspaña):[email protected],+34626998241

Acerca de Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth ( es una ONG internacional que trabaja para defender un planeta vivo. Nuestro equipo ha logrado cambios transformadores al persuadir a las principales industrias para que reduzcan drásticamente la deforestación y la contaminación climática a lo largo de sus cadenas de suministro mundiales de aceite de palma, caucho, cacao y piensos, al tiempo que a mejorar los medios de vida de las comunidades indígenas y locales en los trópicos y a movilizar miles de millones de dólares para energías renovables.

La viande et les produits laitiers des supermarchés toujours liés à la déforestation interdite 

Analyse de la mise en œuvre du manifeste « pour un soja sans déforestation » par les supermarchés Européens

11 juillet 2022 – Un nouveau rapport de Mighty Earth qui sort aujourd’hui indique que les grandes chaînes de supermarchés comme Leclerc, Carrefour et Tesco risquent de vendre de la viande et des produits laitiers liés à des entreprises à l'origine d'une vaste déforestation au Brésil, et ce alors que ces entreprises ont signé avec le soutien du gouvernement un manifeste pour lutter contre la déforestation importée liée au soja. La déforestation est à un niveau record au Brésil et aucune entreprise ne met en place des actions à la hauteur des enjeux.

En réponse à la publication par la France en Novembre 2021 d’un nouvel outil d’évaluation des risques de déforestation liée aux importations de soja et à la signature d’un Manifeste "Pour un soja sans déforestation" signé par 9 distributeurs, 15 industriels et 1 fabricant d’alimentation animale, Mighty Earth a entrepris une analyse des pratiques des principaux importateurs de soja en France et en Europe en matière de lutte contre le changement climatique et de fin de la destruction des écosystèmes naturels.

Le nouveau rapport de Mighty Earth a révélé une déforestation récente de plus de 27 000 hectares sur des plantations de soja dans un seul écosystème critique - le Cerrado brésilien - soumis à l'interdiction d'achat mentionnée dans le manifeste. La déforestation s'est produite après janvier 2020. Pourtant selon les signataires du manifeste, il a été adopté des politiques visant à ne pas acheter de soja, de viande ou de produits laitiers liés à des entreprises impliquées dans la déforestation après 2020.

Avec d’autres ONGs, Mighty Earth a demandé aux signataires d’être conformes avec le manifeste "Pour soja sans déforestation" et d’exclure les entreprises non conformes avec les engagements. Comme cela a été fait dans le secteur de l’huile de palme et comme ils s’y sont eux même engagés, il a aussi demandé de publier l’origine du soja jusqu’au silo de stockage.

12 entreprises signataires sur 28 ont répondu au courrier. Elles évoquent la tenue d’une réunion de travail à venir à l’automne et leur implication pour travailler à la recherche de solutions avec les importateurs. Aucune d’entre elles n’a respecté ses propres engagements en se détournant des entreprises de l'industrie de la viande liées à la déforestation récentes.

Dans son explication pour justifier le refus de mettre en place ses propres engagements demandées en tant que signataire du manifeste soja, un porte-parole du groupe Leclerc a écrit à Mighty Earth pour dire que "Nous regrettons des délais de réponse aussi courts ainsi que le manque d’échange préalable pour traiter un sujet si complexe (…) Nous considérons qu’il vaut mieux instaurer une relation de confiance avec les importateurs pour les amener dans la bonne direction."

"Leclerc prétend faire confiance à des entreprises qui rompent les engagements du manifeste soja. C’est le summum de la malhonnêteté ou de la naïveté, ou des deux", a déclaré Boris Patentreger, directeur France de Mighty Earth. "En 2022, alors que la déforestation explose au Brésil, il faut agir et respecter ses propres engagements. Assez de mots ambigus et de perte de temps. Nous parlons d'écocide ici". 

Le Cerrado Brésilien, qui est la savane et la prairie boisée la plus riche en biodiversité au monde, est le point chaud mondial de la déforestation due à la viande. L’élevage est le principal vecteur de déforestation, d'extinction de la faune sauvage et de déplacement des populations autochtones, et elle est à l'origine de plus d’émissions de GES que l'ensemble des voitures, camions, navires et avions du monde entier réunis. 

"Le Cerrado est la nouvelle Amazonie en termes de déforestation rampante liée à l'industrie de la viande. Les supermarchés comme Leclerc, Carrefour et Tesco devraient être en conformité avec leur propre feuille de route et arrêter immédiatement de s’approvisionner auprès d’entreprises impliquées dans la destruction des forêts", a déclaré Boris Patentreger. 

Le rapport de Mighty Earth intitulé "Vaines promesses !" a révélé que cinq grands négociants en aliments pour animaux - Bunge, Cargill, COFCO, Louis Dreyfus et ALZ Grãos - continuaient d'acheter du soja à des fournisseurs brésiliens locaux et à des méga-conglomérats qui avaient défriché et déboisé au moins 27 000 hectares sur dix exploitations du Cerrado depuis la date butoir de janvier 2020. Il s'agit d'une superficie de trois fois Paris.

Sur la base de l'analyse de l'imagerie satellitaire, voici d'autres conclusions clés du rapport de Mighty Earth :

  • Chacun des cinq principaux négociants en soja entretient des relations commerciales soit directement avec les exploitations engagées dans la déforestation, soit avec les maisons mères (notamment les méga-conglomérats tels que BrasilAgro, SLC Agrícola et Condomínio Agrícola Estrondo).
  • L'ampleur de la destruction est considérable. Le cas le plus grave de déforestation identifié s'est produit au sein de Condomínio Agrícola Estrondo à Bahía ; les recherches ont révélé que plus de 15 000 hectares ont été défrichés après la date butoir de 2020.
  • Une déforestation continue a également été constatée dans des exploitations appartenant à des fournisseurs figurant dans les rapports de suivi de la déforestation publiés précédemment par Mighty Earth (Rapid Response) notamment SLC Agrícola, Estreito Agropecuária, Grupo Mizote et Grupo Tomazini. Les grands négociants en soja Bunge, Cargill, COFCO, Louis Dreyfus et ALZ Grãos continuent de s'approvisionner auprès d'un ou plusieurs de ces fournisseurs locaux, bien que Mighty Earth ait publiquement tiré la sonnette d'alarme sur la déforestation dans leurs exploitations il y a plus d'un an.
  • L’enquête internationale révèle aussi que Bunge et Cargill sont respectivement les importateurs avec le risque de déforestation le plus important en 2021 avec respectivement 87 866 ha et 63701 ha.

Bunge particulièrement ciblé dans le rapport, est par ailleurs l’importateur principal de soja en France. Il s’avère par ailleurs, qu’il est celui ayant le plus augmenté ses capacités de stockage de silos dans les municipalités à risque de déforestation au Brésil, avec 110.000 tonnes entre 2019 et 2021. En même temps Bunge fournit de grands groupes de viande comme LDC, le géant français de la volaille qui fournit les marques distributeurs de volaille de la grande distribution en France.

"Nous étions enthousiastes lorsque les supermarchés se sont finalement engagés. Mais même face aux preuves évidentes d'une vaste déforestation de ces écosystèmes, ils semblent paralysés alors que le Brésil brûle. Étant donné les liens entre leur viande et la déforestation, les clients de ces enseignes devraient être totalement consternés", a déclaré M. Boris Patentreger. "Certaines actions émergent comme un premier cargo de soja non issu de la déforestation. Mais en 2022, alors que le Brésil brule, il faut en premier lieu couper tous les liens entre la déforestation, la viande et les produits laitiers."

À propos de Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth ( est une organisation mondiale de défense d'une planète vivante.  Notre objectif est de protéger la moitié de la Terre pour la nature et de garantir un climat propice à la vie.  Nous sommes obsédés par l'impact et aspirons à être l'organisation de défense de l'environnement la plus efficace au monde. Notre équipe a réussi à transformer les choses en persuadant des industries de premier plan de réduire considérablement la déforestation et la pollution climatique tout au long de leurs chaînes d'approvisionnement mondiales en huile de palme, caoutchouc, cacao et aliments pour animaux, tout en améliorant les moyens de subsistance des communautés autochtones et locales sous les tropiques et en mobilisant des milliards de dollars pour les énergies propres.

Contact en France : Boris Patentreger, [email protected] - 0776074419

European Supermarkets fail to act on deforestation-linked soy

Major European supermarkets Tesco, Carrefour, Asda, Lidl and Sainsbury’s have been urged to drop key global soy companies after an investigation by Mighty Earth found over 27,000 hectares of deforestation on soy farms in the threatened Cerrado savannah in Brazil.

Less well known than the Amazon rainforest, Brazil’s tropical Cerrado is the world’s most biodiverse savannah and wooded grassland and it has become a global hotspot for soy and cattle-driven deforestation. Most of the soy-driven deforestation observed was used to produce soy animal feed. Meat is the world’s largest driver of deforestation, wildlife extinction, and displacement of Indigenous peoples.

Eleven members of the Retail Soy Group – Ahold Delhaize, Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Migros, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Woolworths – and other retailers such as Carrefour with similar corporate policies promising to ban deforestation-risk soy after a 2020 cut-off date have been urged to investigate Mighty Earth’s findings and to immediately drop key soy traders linked to this new deforestation in the Cerrado. 

Based on satellite imagery analysis, Mighty Earth’s new report Promises, Promises! found five major global soy traders Bunge, Cargill, COFCO, LDC and ALZ Grãos continued to buy soy from Brazilian suppliers and conglomerates who had cleared and deforested at least 27,000 hectares on ten farms in the Cerrado since after August 2020 cut-off. This is an area larger than the city of Edinburgh in Scotland, or half the size of Chicago.

"Major supermarkets like Tesco, Carrefour, Asda and Lidl should urgently investigate and then ban any soy company with proven links to deforestation,” said Alex Wijeratna, Senior Director at Mighty Earth

Read the full report:


Unpacking Deforestation and Climate Change within Chocolate Scorecard 

Dr Stephanie Perkiss 

Stephanie Perkiss is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting at the University of Wollongong and explores social and environmental accounting and accountability in her research. 

This blog post is one of a series linked to the publication of the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard company sustainability rankings. To view the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard please go to 

When biting into a crunchy chocolate candy, many consumers don’t realise where the cocoa ingredients in their favourite treats come from, nor the costs that their production can have for nature and the climate.  

West Africa produces 75% of the world’s cocoa, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana producing the lion’s share. In the last 60 years, these two African countries have lost around 94% and 80% of their forests respectively, with approximately one-third of that forest loss to make way for growing cocoa. Research published by Mighty Earth revealed that, in the period between January 2019 and January 2022 alone, Côte d’Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares (194.21 km2) of forest within cocoa-growing regions, while Ghana lost 39,497 hectares (394.97 km2)  in cocoa regions. This amounts to a combined area equivalent to the size of the cities of Madrid, Seoul, or Chicago.  

Many of the remaining tropical forests under threat in these two countries are within legally protected areas, providing critical habitat to endangered species like chimpanzees and pygmy hippos. They also contain vast stores of carbon, which if released could exacerbate global climate change. Forests absorb carbon, and when they die, they release carbon and no longer serve as a sink.  

Amongst other indicators, the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard focuses on the extent to which individual companies are taking concrete steps to ensure that forests are not being cut down to provide them with cocoa. We analysed the responses to deforestation and climate change in the following areas based on best-in-class guidance (see AFI box)  

  1. Application of no-deforestation policy to global sourcing, and percentage of cocoa purchased through a deforestation-free monitoring system;
  2. Percentage of cocoa sourced from deforested areas since 2010 when satellite monitoring systems became widely available;
  3. Percentage of cocoa sourced from actors who have been deforesting since the launch of the CFI in 2017;
  4. Detailed plans for how to respond to evidence of suppliers sourcing cocoa from recently deforested land; and 
  5. 5. Policy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions company-wide; or using science-based targets.

Chocolate Scorecard survey results 

The highest score of the deforestation and climate change theme went to Alter Eco and Beyond Good. There were several others in the ‘green’ or top scoring category: Chocolats Halba, ECOM, Ferrero, Nestlé, and Olam. All these companies have undertaken efforts that put them at the top of the pack, relative to their peers. The lowest scores for deforestation and climate change went to Daito Cacao, Glico and Morinaga. These companies did, however, respond to the survey and have endeavoured to engage on deforestation and climate. This sets them apart from General Mills, Starbucks, and Storck who did not participate in the survey – and who appear (based on a review of their publicly available material) to be worryingly behind on many sustainability metrics including those for their cocoa when it comes to forests/climate – remain at the rock bottom.  

Grading for the deforestation and climate change theme was tough. For many questions we were looking for specific and verifiable data – usually figures and percentages with links so they can be publicly verified. While many of our companies were great at narrative accounts, some key figures were missing.  

We will start with what was done not so well: 

  • Satellite monitoring – We would like to see more companies purchasing cocoa from locations that are verified deforestation-free, using a satellite monitoring system. Even better, if companies started using the available technology that forecasts (quite accurately) where deforestation will happen, this could stop deforestation in their cocoa supply chains before it takes place. While many companies are starting to do monitoring, imagine how good it would be if all companies reached 100%, and then actually used the monitoring to curb forest destruction in their supply chains!  
  • Deforestation mapping - We gave special attention to deforestation and purchasing from the two largest cocoa producing countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Many companies could not provide details on cocoa they had sourced from areas deforested since 2010 (at which point, accurate and free satellite mapping of forests was easily accessible to all); or again after November 2017 (at which point Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) was signed, wherein all major companies and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana pledged to end deforestation and start mapping). We appreciate that this data can feel confusing at first, especially if companies have only recently begun mapping. But, without mapping and understanding one’s deforestation, pledges will remain empty words.  
  • Verifiability - In the survey, we awarded points where respondents provided reference to their data/figures, which can be independently checked. In several instances, citations and URLs were not provided and grades were not given, such as for a few companies who failed to provide evidence of a time-bound plan for working with suppliers and smallholders to map farms using GPS.  
  • Transparency is important - Public transparency in relation to deforestation and climate change is important, so we have urged participating companies to keep publicly sharing their sustainability initiatives and achievements. This allows civil society to follow the old adage: trust, but verify.  

Now, onto what was done well:  

  • Monitoring systems - Most of the companies we surveyed have some form of monitoring system. However, most of these remain incomplete or even deeply flawed. For example, satellite mapping is rarely connected to an alert system that trigger field investigations in the places identified as having deforestation. It also seems almost no company is using deforestation forecasting, although this now exists for Côte d’Ivoire and for many geographies with a variety of tools. There were some standouts: Beyond Good used both satellite imagery as well as on-the-ground monitoring and went further than its peers. Beyond Good established a high-quality Deforestation Dashboard as a deforestation monitoring system.  

Source: Beyond Good’s mapping tool. 

  • Collaboration to eradicate deforestation - Many of the participating companies have joined the ‘Cocoa & Forest Initiative’ (CFI) and/or Initiatives for Sustainable Cocoa (ISCOs). ISCOs refer to public-private platforms for sustainable cocoa now existing in a number of countries including Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Japan. Most ISCOs include a focus on deforestation in cocoa, and help shape collaborative efforts to eradicate deforestation from consumer countries, as CFI does in producer countries. While it is great to see a lot of companies joining CFI and ISCOs, we are finding similar themes - that there is still a lot to making these collaborative efforts truly work. Joining is only one step. Collaborating for robust group efforts to promote change, is key. Merely joining does not obviate a need for companies to continue their individual work on deforestation and climate change, nor their need to invest in conservation and restoration.  
  • Deforestation-free policies - It was great to see that most of our participants had gone beyond CFIs to embrace a global deforestation-free cocoa policy, or even a cross-commodity deforestation-free policy (for some or all regions they source from). It shows that companies in this industry are trying to take seriously the issues of deforestation and climate change in their supply chains. 
  • Public grievance systems and noncompliance policies - Most Scorecard participants have established both public grievance mechanisms, and noncompliance policies. In most cases these are not deforestation-specific, but cover the entire supply chain, including social and environmental indicators. However, full points on this front were only given when public grievance mechanisms were easily accessible and user-friendly, and where non-compliance policies establish clear consequences for deforestation, including suspension.  
  • Net-Zero carbon emission - We see major positive change with some key cocoa/chocolate companies embracing the SBTi’s Corporate Net-Zero Standard. Points were awarded for joining SBTi’s race to zero. While some of the commitments show a low-ambition target of 2050, others have better timetables focused on 2030. In future grading of deforestation and climate change, we will be looking specifically at the actions companies are taking to reach these targets and whether companies have signed up for SBTi.  

A note on CDP, which some cocoa/chocolate companies flagged. We think CDP is providing a valuable service in promoting transparency for investors and nudging companies to be more explicit with the types of data and analysis they report. However, there is uneven public access to CDP disclosures. Best practice in the cocoa space could mean that companies opt to submit forest disclosures to CDP, and also post a copy of their disclosures to their company website so it can be verified.  

A tip for next year’s Chocolate Scorecard! 

Despite progress, some companies are still at risk from sourcing cocoa associated with legal and illegal deforestation. Legislation has been proposed by the European Union to regulate deforestation in high-risk commodities such as cocoa, and similar regulation is also proposed for other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, United States of America, New York State, the State of California, and more. It is worth noting that many chocolate companies have spoken out courageously to support due diligence and deforestation-free regulations in recent years. A public statement supporting regulation in your home country or regions where you sell chocolate will help gain you a better score in future years.  

There are many different roads that lead to better policy and action on deforestation and climate change. For example, Ferrero scored a ‘Green’ because it has now joined others in purchasing 100% certified volumes, and this comes on top of its considerable company-specific efforts around deforestation and climate. However, taking a different path, Mars scored well with only about half of its cocoa being certified, but performing far better when it comes to a serious company-wide, commodity-wide approach to slashing overall emissions with a time-bound implementation plan.  

Another pathway to points was, for example, clear criteria on what it takes to suspend a non-compliant supplier caught with deforestation problems (as opposed to wishy washy criteria or no criteria). Yet another pathway consists of rapid and largescale improvement, with the key to points being speed and scale of change. So, we tried to recognize that what is “good” in the case of deforestation and climate change can be very different. We’re agonistic so long as companies are on a meaningful road, and not a bridge to nowhere. 

Overall, we see lots of potential for continued growth in policy, monitoring, and action in relation to deforestation and climate change, but this is not a bad place to be, at least for the higher-performing companies in this category!  

2022 Easter Chocolate Scorecard Lists Starbucks Among “Broken Eggs”

To download the full Scorecard click here:


Coalition encourages industry to break the links between chocolate products, deforestation, child labor, and environmental degradation

April 7, 2022 – What’s really going into our Easter chocolate? A global coalition of environmental and social justice advocates today released The Chocolate Scorecard, an annual survey that examines the chocolate industry’s progress, or lack thereof, in addressing social and environmental concerns stemming from cocoa industry practices and the chocolate products they sell. The 29-member coalition includes Be Slavery Free, Mighty Earth, and National Wildlife Federation, among others.

The Chocolate Scorecard focuses on the production and supply chains that start in West Africa, where around 75% of the world’s cocoa is produced. Many industry players are rising to the challenge, but others continue to ignore consumer demand for chocolate that’s free of child labor, poverty, deforestation. General Mills, Starbucks, and Storck received the researchers’ “Broken Egg” for their refusal to provide information for The Chocolate Scorecard, while Storck was given an additional "Rotten Egg" for ongoing lack of transparency about its policies and practices in their cocoa supply chain, and in light of civil society complaints about the company.

“It’s disappointing to see companies like Starbucks, which claim to be a leader on sustainability and confronting the climate crisis, refuse to answer straightforward questions about their performance on cocoa sustainability. It’s a real shame in an era of growing transparency that Starbucks refuses to be straight with its customers,” said Glenn Hurowitz, founder and CEO of Mighty Earth. “Mighty Earth will continue to demand transparency and true supply chain sustainability, both for our climate and for the local communities that produce these key commodities.”

This year Ferrero joins the list of “Good Eggs” that includes Hershey’s, Unilever and Ritter, whose cocoa is close to 100% certified by the Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade.

“While certification is not perfect, it is often a positive first step in a company’s sustainability journey,” said Fuzz Kitto, of Be Slavery Free, the Australia-based charity which coordinated The Chocolate Scorecard. “If companies are making progress on increasing the sustainability of their chocolate supply chains then we and their customers and investors would like to hear about it.”

Special mentions for leadership go to:

  • Previous Scorecard “Good Eggs” Alter Eco, Tony’s Chocolonely, and Whittaker‘s for continuing to be among the best in class overall
  • Nestlé for taking huge steps in innovation for addressing farmers’ income with additional payments and with their commitment to plant 2.8 million shade trees by the end of 2022
  • Ferrero for now joining other companies whose cocoa is overwhelmingly certified such as Hershey’s, Unilever, Fazer and others.

The Scorecard is an accountability measure that rates companies on the six most pressing sustainability issues facing the chocolate industry: human rights due diligence; transparency and traceability; deforestation and climate change; agroforestry; living income policies; and child labor. As Christians around the world celebrate Easter by enjoying chocolate products, the coalition urges consumers to use the Scorecard to make smarter, more sustainable purchases that reward good business behavior rather than reinforcing irresponsible practices.

Previous Mighty Earth data analysis has revealed that more than four years after the high-profile launch of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), Africa’s top cocoa-producing nations continue to see huge areas of precious forest being destroyed in West Africa to make room for cocoa production. The loss of these precious forests is often driven by the fact that small farmers in the region do not make a living income from their cocoa, forcing them to expand.

"We are now starting to see many companies make commitments to address farmer poverty and improve cocoa farming livelihoods,” said Sam Mawutor, Policy and Advocacy at Mighty Earth. “This shows chocolate brands are increasingly aware of the problem, which is progress. However, since farmer household poverty drives child labor, chemical use, and forest conversion, we need to see improved collaboration amongst companies at a landscape level. The time for small pet projects is over”.

To download the full report click here: Full Report
To read the methodology used to create the company scores you can find out more here:

About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth ( is a global advocacy organization working to defend a living planet.  Our goal is to protect half of Earth for Nature and secure a climate that allows life to flourish.  We are obsessed with impact and aspire to be the most effective environmental advocacy organization in the world. Our team has achieved transformative change by persuading leading industries to dramatically reduce deforestation and  climate pollution throughout their global supply chains in palm oil, rubber, cocoa, and animal feed while improving livelihoods for Indigenous and local communities across the tropics.

Press Contacts:
For general press enquiries contact: Miles Grant, [email protected], (+1) 703-864-9599 (m)
For regional press enquiries, pictures, and expert quotes, contact:

Tesco’s meat problem

Tesco's meat problem

Britain’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco sells a lot of meat – hundreds of millions of chickens a year alone. Three weeks ago, Tesco produced a new set of requirements for its meat suppliers to try and address the massive environmental consequences of those meat sales, starting with the soy-based animal feed used to fatten chicken, pigs and cows for its own-brand meat and dairy offer.

The long overdue update has been produced following campaign efforts from Mighty Earth and Greenpeace UK – with consumers calling on the company to drop the worst forest destroyers in its supply chain.

Meat has outsized environmental consequences. Raising meat produces more climate pollution, fouls more drinking water, and requires more land for livestock and feed globally than all other food crops combined - for a fraction of the nutritional value.

But the single most acute environmental consequence is the bulldozing and burning of millions of acres of rainforest and other ecosystems to make way for industrial animal feed plantations and cattle ranches.

There has been more land in the Amazon and Cerrado Biomes of Brazil bulldozed for soy plantations than the entire land mass of Israel or Slovenia in just 11 years.

Unless companies like Tesco take strict action, it could get worse very quickly: proposed legislation in front of the Brazilian legislature, which if passed, puts at least 19.6 million hectares of public land in the Amazon at risk from large agribusiness companies trying to grab land to make more industrial feed and meat.

Within this context, the new requirements for Tesco meat suppliers sourcing from South America to have a strict no-deforestation, no-conversion and no-human rights abuse policy – based on a ‘cut-off date’, a biome-wide agreement and improved transparency in sourcing represents an improvement over the status quo.

However, unless the details are strengthened, Tesco shoppers will still be eating chicken and pork connected to the destruction of the rainforest and tropical savannah in Brazil for some time.

Supplier impunity on deforestation 

Tesco’s policy, in essence, allows agribusinesses that supply animal feed to continue driving deforestation with impunity while supplying the company. In particular:

  • Tesco fails to spell out how or when it will suspend meat suppliers sourcing soy animal feed from companies that drive the destruction of the Amazon and the Cerrado in Brazil, nor how they will exclude traders from their supply chain complicit in deforestation. For example, even with a recent policy commitment to zero deforestation, US agribusiness behemoth Cargill will accept or condone deforestation in its supply chain until at least 2030 – giving industrial meat interests nine years to bulldoze as much land as possible.
  • The scheme allows suppliers to purchase ‘mass balance’ credits or certificates if they are unable to prove that their soy is either from deforestation-free areas or from a ‘gold standard’ certified source of supply. This discredited approach is a ‘get out of jail free’ card because it could inadvertently support deforestation by allowing Tesco suppliers like Cargill to buy soy from recently destroyed forests and savannahs, and then buy credits from land that was cleared some time ago. This type of approach has also been criticised for lacking transparency and undermining traceability.
  • Finally, while the policy pays lip service to the Accountability Framework Initiative (AFI), it fails to advance the principle of ‘group level accountability’ for deforestation into practice. The AFI is currently advancing guidance that bestows responsibility on traders for land conversion that happens on any farms owned by the farmers supplying them, rather than just the farms directly in their supply chain. At present, the Tesco policy allows traders such as Cargill to sell Tesco suppliers certified no-deforestation animal feed, while continuing to buy from farmers that are razing forests in other parts of its supply chain.

A tangible way forward

We have seen whole industries change when they enforce robust policies on suppliers engaged in deforestation, pollution, or human rights abuse.

Many consumer facing companies have adopted strict policies on palm oil, for instance, that simply required suppliers not to engage in deforestation, with no excuses, no credits, and no greenwashing. Those policies were a key driver of a massive environmental success: deforestation for palm oil is down more than 90%.

Until Tesco and other companies adopt similarly strong policies and cut ties with supplier companies that are driving the destruction of Brazil’s forests – such as JBS, Cargill and Bunge, its meat is still going to be driving environmental destruction on an enormous scale.

These policies are simple, clear and affordable: to comply, all producers must do is produce meat and beef on the 1.6 billion acres of previously deforested land instead of expanding on the agricultural frontier.

That should just be the easy first step, instead of something we must fight for. But if Tesco is going to provide truly sustainable protein, it needs to go further:

  1. Help shift consumers to sustainable, plant-based diets. As a leading retailer in the UK, Tesco has a role to play in influencing consumer behaviour towards these diets which begin to tackle the demand-drivers of deforestation.
  2. Support strong forest protections in producer countries, while promoting the use of existing agricultural or degraded land for soy production. Advocacy by Tesco and other supermarkets when forest laws are under threat can help in this regard, as can cutting commercial links with suppliers that support deregulation of forest protections.
  1. Work with others to ensure full transparency and traceability in meat from farm to product; ensure that all soy entering the market is from ‘clean’ suppliers and move forward the principle of ‘group-level responsibility’ for deforestation - meaning that companies cannot deforest in some parts of their operation while selling ‘sustainable soy’ simultaneously to other parts of the market.

While Tesco shows positive intent through its new policy, action in these three areas would prove that the company is serious in tackling the drivers of deforestation, rather than allowing its suppliers to cut down forests on one hand, while reaping the benefits of sustainability certification and credits on the other.

Hat Yai sustainable rubber workshop

Learning how to ‘do’ sustainable rubber

July 27, 2021

Read the Report

As part of Mighty Earth’s continuing efforts to advance sustainability within the natural rubber sector, we are thrilled to be co-publishing a new practical guide for rubber industry actors, entitled “Sustainable Natural Rubber: pathways, policies and partnerships”.

The guide is based on expressed demand from stakeholders following a workshop of the same title, held in Hat Yai, Thailand, in September 2019, which was co-hosted by Mighty Earth, Rainforest Allianceeinhorn ProductsEarthnet Foundation, and the Prince of Songkla University. This event brought together over one hundred rubber farmers, traders, processors, CSOs representatives, government officials, academics, and consumer brand companies to share knowledge and and potential solutions to environmental, social, and economic challenges in the industry.

Like the workshop itself, the guide is a collaborative piece, consisting of four distinct yet complementary perspectives on the proactive steps companies purchasing natural rubber can take to engage with their supply chain. These are just four potential ways out of a long list of courses of action a company may find themselves interested in pursuing. The ultimate goal of this guide is to encourage companies interested in establishing sustainability initiatives to expand their knowledge of potential paths, and further learn how they can best accomplish each route.

Mighty Earth and our partners hope that this resource will equip companies interested in sourcing sustainable natural rubber with additional tools and ideas for doing so.

U.S. Cocoa Imports: Secretive mega-traders get the lion’s share. 

Mighty Earth and Stand.Earth partnered together to undertake preliminary cocoa supply chain research to improve our understanding of how cocoa enters the U.S.—the biggest chocolate market in the world. Though the results confirm a lot we know already, some new revelations are stunning. Our findings uncovered a damning story of the action of a few dominant traders, the secrecy in cocoa/chocolate imports, an international web of opaque cocoa-laundering, and a cover-up of corporate value captured from poor producer countries.

These results are from the analysis of vessel tracking and American vessel manifest data from January to October 2020, using various algorithms to clarify the data. We focused on American imports of cocoa from four major cocoa-producing countries: Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, and Peru.

Patterns of exploiting cocoa farmers continue: Our research exposes the extent to which cocoa-producing countries are losing substantial revenue by not exporting directly to consumers, and by exporting raw materials rather than processed cocoa products. This is due to post-colonial models of exploitation of the Global South by predatory Western corporations, unfair trade deals dictated by former colonial powers, and a failure of governance, commitment, and development by cocoa-producing governments. Large volumes of Ivorian and Ghanaian cocoa beans are sold to the U.S. via Belgium and Spain, meaning that revenue and profits that could go to farmers are diverted to foreign traders instead.

This also extends to grinding capacity ownership. Cote d’Ivoire's grinding capacity is considerably large—16 percent in 2019—but much of its installed grinding capacity is owned by foreign companies. Although grinding cocoa beans brings more value to the country, capital flight drains most of this revenue from the country. Ghana mostly sells cocoa beans, but comparatively, gains more from the trade due to its less liberalized market where the regulators action reduces the negative market shocks.

The EU exports cocoa into the U.S.: 43 percent of cocoa beans from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire pass through Europe—specifically Spain and Belgium—often re-exported without any value addition. This tells us that whatever the EU decides on cocoa sustainability will have a massive impact on American cocoa trade policy, and vice versa.

Other cocoa laundering countries - Panama and Columbia: Large amounts of Peruvian and Ecuadorian cocoa funnel through Panama and Colombia into the U.S. Yet Panama has never made any sustainable cocoa commitments, has no traceability or transparency goals for cocoa, and is not yet appropriately scrutinized as a major cocoa player. The sustainability of Panama's cocoa industry must be re-examined, and a “Cocoa & Forests Initiative” (CFI) for Panama would be a good start. Colombia has already taken steps with its own “Cocoa, Forests and Peace Initiative” to reform its sector. Our research points to one clear conclusion: this initiative should now cover all cocoa that passes through, not just what Colombians grow.

The irony of traceability: Traceability sheds light on where cocoa comes from to address problems at the farm level, but it also needs to show where cocoa products go. Besides the murkiness of traceability or re-exported cocoa from Europe, there are widespread omissions and normalized errors in American import data. What should be seen in vessel manifest data is often missing or difficult to trace, because shipper and consignee information is removed. Our research shows such a pattern and practice of obfuscation that we must now ask, "What are the importers hiding?" In 2020, 40 million kilos of untraceable chocolate products entered the U.S. The U.S. government must revise its systems to ensure that cocoa becomes traceable to the companies involved in the actual transaction, not just forwarding companies. This means that American data on imports and exports must dramatically improve, and chocolate companies should be obligated by the U.S. authorities to disclose their entire global supply chains at both ends, not just their suppliers.

The EU is far behind on importer-side traceability: While U.S. customs manifest data needs to greatly improve, the EU has a long way to go. Currently, the data ends at the EU ports. The EU’s opaque systems of customs manifest data facilitate concealment of crimes, thus there is no way to trace cocoa from producer countries to processors or manufacturers. This lack of transparency is unacceptable for a major cocoa consumer block like Europe. The EU must urgently reform its customs data to bring it in line with best practices on commodity transparency. France has recently set a new model with reforms for transparency around customs data, which the rest of the EU ought to emulate.

The trader's trick to hide: While beans get sold in vast bulk shipments through integrated supply chains like Olam and Cargill, finished chocolate goes from a wide variety of manufacturers to what seems at first glance to be a wide variety of consignees. A closer look reveals, however, that these are often different iterations of the company name. For instance, we found 35 versions of the name of the world’s largest cocoa trader called ‘Barry Callebaut’ — breaking up the volume across a variety of businesses so that the full size of its monopolies or value of its trade is hidden. After delving into all the versions of names, our research clearly shows how the biggest cocoa traders—Barry Callebaut, Olam, ECOM, Sucden, and Cargill—are running the show. We were even able to pierce through the fog to show how ECOM is the biggest trader of cocoa beans into the U.S., though it masquerades amongst other things behind the name Atlantic Specialty Coffee. If Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Olam, Sucden, ECOM, and other cocoa trading companies are serious about traceability, they should solve this data challenge of nomenclature immediately, with or without American regulatory action. America's largest grinder, Blommer, is conspicuously absent from the consignee space and delivers little or no data on its website to guarantee traceability. If they have nothing to hide, they should publish their names properly on all their transactions–no more games.

 Where do we go: Our research underscores how the Biden administration must act decisively to advance cocoa sustainability and bring together chaotic, siloed, and disparate engagement various government agencies. The U.S. should also seriously consider establishing an "ISCO." The multi-stakeholder platform could bring together the appropriate federal government agencies, NGOs, chocolate manufactures, and cocoa traders together to strengthen the cocoa industry's traceability, transparency, and sustainability. Legislatively, regulation to restrict imported deforestation is long overdue for chocolate and other commodities. And beyond passing legislation, the U.S. must regularly engage with cocoa-producing countries to improve governance and strengthen the voices of farmers and local civil society in cocoa discussions.

New Mighty Earth Report Finds Agroforestry Drives Sustainability in Rubber Supply Chain

Switching over from monocultures to more diverse systems of rubber agroforestry can drive sustainability in global rubber supply chains and help tackle climate change, finds a new report published by Mighty Earth today (see the summary here).

Mighty Earth’s report, co-authored by three leading academic scientists, found that rubber agroforestry – a set of mixed farming systems involving the production of rubber trees alongside a variety of other plants, crops and livestock – has multiple benefits for smallholder farmers, biodiversity and the environment, including:

    • Better support for smallholder incomes and livelihoods
    • Better support for smallholder food and nutrition security
    • Social advantages for smallholder farmers and rubber tappers
    • Improved soil health and water quality, and other beneficial environmental, biodiversity and climate resiliency outcomes.

The new study for Mighty Earth assessed over 800 peer-reviewed scientific reports and papers on rubber agroforestry worldwide and was conducted by a team from the Global Agroforestry Network (GAN). Natural rubber – which is used in products from tires to condoms – is predominantly grown in the tropics in Asia. About 90% of natural rubber is produced by smallholder family households, largely in monoculture systems where rubber trees occupy all the available farmland.

However, monoculture rubber poses increasing environmental and climate problems, including widespread pollution and degradation of soils and water resources, rampant deforestation, habitat loss and ecosystem destruction, as well as risks to rubber tree health from disease, pests and drought, plus growing vulnerability to climate change. In addition, smallholder households face potentially catastrophic threats to their livelihoods due to fluctuations in global rubber prices.

Drawing on a geographically diverse set of studies on low-input rubber agroforestry and intercropping systems, ranging from China to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Cote d’Ivoire, the authors reveal the multiple livelihood, environmental and climate benefits of rubber agroforestry, and highlight the need for greater support and incentives from Governments, the rubber industry, researchers and civil society to accelerate the widespread scale-up of agroforestry through smallholder farmer-to-farmer networks.

Please find a GPSNR report launch webinar and slide deck presentation on Mighty Earth's agroforestry report findings.


Notes: The report, “Rubber Agroforestry, Feasibility at Scale” was authored by:

  • Maria Wang Mei Hua, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures and Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Dr Eleanor Warren-Thomas, School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, UK
  • Associate Professor Dr. Thomas Cherico Wanger, Sustainability, Agriculture & Technology, Westlake University, China; Agroecology, University of Göttingen, Germany
Mighty Earth’s new monitoring data reveals deforestation connected to soy trader and meatpackers in Brazil more than doubled over two-year period

Mighty Earth’s new monitoring data reveals deforestation connected to soy trader and meatpackers in Brazil more than doubled over two-year period

The largest soy traders and meatpackers in Brazil have failed on their promises to end deforestation in their supply chains and continue to do business with suppliers that are destroying rainforests and savanna. 

review of the past two years of monitoring data (March 2019-March 2021) demonstrates that deforestation detected in companies’ supply chains more than doubled in the second year of monitoring compared to the firstHowever, despite this escalating crisis, only one case of deforestation has ever been resolved by these companies out of the 235 recorded by our monitoring.  

Thupdated tracker includes new data from Mighty Earth’s three latest Rapid Response reportsreleased in partnership with Aidenvironment. The new data builds on the original version of the tracker and policy brief released in December 2020 to encompass a full two years of monitoring (March 2019-March 2021.) 

Key Findings: 

  • The tracker update reveals that major soy traders and meatpackers are linked to more than 314,000 hectares deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado over the past two years (March 2019 to March 2021) -- an area larger than twice the size of London. Yet, out of 235 cases of deforestation that Mighty Earth has sent to companies, only one has ever been resolved. 
  • The data reveals a pattern of escalating amounts of deforestation carried out by soy trader and meatpacker suppliers. On average, deforestation connected to supply chains of soy traders and meatpackers more than doubled over a two-year period of monitoring. This pattern mirrors increasing rates of deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes overall during this time periodi. 
  • JBS was the worst-scoring meatpacker and company overall. It has been linked to 100,000 hectares of clearance the past two years – an area larger than all of Berlin. 75 percent of this clearance occurred in protected areas, making it potentially illegal under Brazilian law.  
  • Bunge and Cargill are the worst performing soy traders, despite their recent sustainability reports touting their nearly deforestation-free supply chainsBunge is linked to almost 60,000 hectares of clearance – more than a third of which took place in protected areas. Meanwhile, Cargill is linked to more than 66,000 hectares of clearance -- the largest amount out of any other soy trader.  
  • While no company performs well in the tracker, some are performing better than others, such as Amaggi and Louis Dreyfus out of the soy traders. 

Many US supermarkets continue to buy from Bunge, Cargill, and/or JBS despite these numbers – including Costco, Walmart, and Kroger. Bunge, Cargill, and JBS are also major suppliers to European supermarkets, including Tesco, EDEKA, Carrefour and Albert Heijn (Ahold Delhaize.)

In addition to the worst-scorer JBS above, the other two meatpackers included in the tracker, Marfrig and Minerva, are also poor performers, having been connected to more than 50,000 hectares of clearance eachMost of this clearance is potentially illegal, having occurred in protected areas. Much of the deforestation included in the meatpackers’ scores is related to their indirect suppliers, which meatpackers currently cannot fully trace and therefore cannot monitor for deforestation. 

Although Mighty Earth sends all instances of deforestation detected in our monitoring system to meatpackers and soy traders on a monthly basisthey very rarely take action on the suppliers responsible for the destruction. Only one case of deforestation has ever been resolved by a company, out of 235 cases to date that Mighty Earth sent to companies in the past two years 

One example of this inaction is meatpackers continuing to source from Agropecuária Santa Bárbara Xinguara (AgroSB a company that has direct and indirect links to JBS, Marfrig, and Minerva. Mighty Earth and Aidenvironment have caught AgroSB deforesting or setting fires on six separate occasions during the past two yearsAgroSB has also been accused of exploiting workers and money laundering.ii The clearance carried out by AgroSB now totals more than 2,800 hectares, more than 2,200 of which occurred in protected areas. The clearance could have been stopped long ago, but inaction from meatpackers allows business to continue as usual.  

Similarly, Cargill and Bunge continue to source from SLC Agrícola despite repeated deforestation cases connecting the supplier to more than 11,000 hectares of clearance over our two years of monitoring. Furthermore, SLC Agrícola is associated with $200 million land grabbing corruption schemeiii. While SLC Agrícola committed to stop deforesting in 2020, it admitted it still had more clearing to do before implementing the commitment and has actively opposed a deforestation cut-off date in the Cerradoiv. It also recently bought 8 new properties through its acquisition of Terra Santa Agro, one of which overlaps with more than 18,000 hectares of Indigenous land in Mato Grossov 

AgroSB and SLC Agrícola are examples of how the agricultural groups and property owners implicated in deforestation cases are often also connected to land conflicts, labor rights violations, government bribery and environmental crimes, which are further detailed in our Rapid Response reports. 

Beyond the issue of deforestation, many cases added to the tracker involve the concerning use of fire. About half of the deforestation cases from Rapid Response reports added to the latest tracker update also involved fire incidences. Often, producers use fire to clear debris from bulldozed trees after they’ve deforested. Fires set by agricultural companies can often spread out of control, resulting in the destruction of land and air quality of Indigenous and local communitiesvi. The worst performers in the tracker tended to be linked to more fire incidences. For instance, 63 percent of new cases connected to Bunge included in the updated tracker involved fire events on the property. Meanwhile, 55 percent of new cases connected to JBS involved fires. 

Ultimately, no company featured in the tracker can claim a clean supply chainAll companies in the tracker lack full traceability of their direct and/or indirect supply chain and therefore are limited in their validation and investigation of our reports of deforestation. Even the best performer in the tracker, soy trader Amaggi, still only earns a total of 56 points out of 100 points and is connected to more than 5,000 hectares of clearance. 

The Solution 

The buyers and financiers of the soy traders and meatpackers must take significant action that includes contractual penalties if significantly more progress on their zero-deforestation commitments is not made by supplying traders and meatpackersThey should ensure that the soy traders and meatpackers in their supply chain: 

1) Agree to a cut-off date for deforestation in the Cerrado with a 2020 cut-off date 

2) Adopt zero deforestation and zero conversion commitments for all sourcing areas, including those outside of Brazil. 

2) Adopt a suspend-then-engage approach to suppliers with widespread conversion, either legal or illegal 

3) Develop a publicly available joint-monitoring system that includes transparent traceability to farm-level for all suppliers 

4) Commit to the advancement of corporate and government policies that protect Indigenous land and secure workers’ rights 

Want to learn more about our methodology? 

*Data reflects company responses as of April 15 2021 

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