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Obama Administration Rewards Malaysia with Improved Human Trafficking Status One Day After Wall Street Journal Exposes Human Trafficking on Palm Oil Plantations

Trans-Pacific Partnership deal coincides with sudden shift in Malaysia’s ranking; WSJ reports: "They buy and sell us like cattle," says palm oil worker. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, Emma@ran.org, (425) 281-1989 | Christopher Herrera, Christopher@ran.org, (510) 290-5282   July 27, 2015 (SAN FRANCISCO, CA) - The Obama administration has removed Malaysia from the list of worst offenders for human trafficking and forced labor today, one day after The Wall Street Journal published an extensive report on human trafficking and forced labor on Malaysian palm oil plantations that directly supply major U.S. companies. Malaysia is one of...

Joint NGO Statement: Modern Day Slavery Found on RSPO Member Felda Global Venture’s Plantations

Coalition of NGOs calls on the RSPO, Malaysian Government and international buyers for an open investigation into The Wall Street Journal’s findings FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, Emma@ran.org, (425) 281 - 1989   July 27, 2015 (San Francisco, CA) - On the heels of a major investigative article from The  Wall Street Journal exposing serious human rights and labor abuses in Malaysian grower Felda Global Venture’s plantations, a coalition of civil society groups is calling on the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for an open investigation into...

Bank of America’s Coal Policy: A Bold Challenge to U.S. Banks on Climate

Last month, Bank of America published its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which addressed the bank’s financing policies and practices in detail. This blog post looks back on the bank’s release of its updated coal policy in May, and looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the policy update and what it means for the banking sector’s financing of coal more broadly. Overall: Bank of America’s new coal policy is both groundbreaking and imperfect. It acknowledges that the bank has a responsibility not only to finance the transition to low-carbon energy but also to cut financing for high-carbon energy sources. The policy goes well beyond comparable policies at the bank’s U.S. peers by committing to a broad cutback to BofA’s lending for coal mining both in the U.S. and internationally. However, this commitment lacks public-facing detail in terms of targets and deadlines, and fails to address the bank’s...

From the Field: Online Petitions and Indigenous Resistance

It was 8:30 PM when we finally sat down with the community leaders in Pandumaan-Sipituhuta. These leaders work all day, tapping the benzoin trees in the jungles of Northern Sumatra. These trees produce a sap used for products from incense to medicine. Only once the community leaders come back to the village, often after hours of walking through the forest, do they have time to sit together and talk about how to protect their land. The men and women in this gathering – maybe about 10 people total – knew each other well. They have been fighting Toba Pulp Lestari, a pulp and paper company that produces the pulp that is used for rayon, viscose, and modal fabrics, for over a decade. Toba Pulp Lestari, or TPL, clear cut part of the forest that the community owns and relies on for...

Coal Finance Case Study: Putting Communities and a World Heritage Site at Risk for a New Power Plant

    As part of RAN's work to call on banks to commit to the Paris Pledge and end financing for coal and coal-fired power prior to the Paris climate summit this year, we'll be highlighting case studies of destructive coal projects around the world. This case study, authored by Greig Aitken from BankTrack highlights the Rampal coal plant planned for Bangladesh, which would have devastating impacts on communities, a World Heritage-listed mangrove forest, and the climate. Just last month, three of France’s largest banks (BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, and Société Génerale) committed to refrain from financing the project.   Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to climate change. When powerful storm surges hit this low lying country, the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, provides a natural barrier which protects hundreds of thousands of lives. But this could change if a joint venture between India’s National Thermal Power...

Systems Change, Rainforests, and Racism

“What Does ______ Have to Do with Rainforests?!”This week, RAN posted a message of support on Facebook about the courageous civil disobedience by Bree Newsome in South Carolina. And, as a testament to the social justice leanings of our community, our post was met with...

Conflict Palm Oil Demonstration at Nissin Foods US Headquarters

Nissin Foods is one of the Snack Food 20 companies in RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil Campaign, and is lagging far behind the rest of the group with a weak palm oil commitment that relies solely on the inadequate Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification system and lacks requirements for suppliers to end destruction of rainforests, peatlands and abuse of human and labor rights. We were headed to their offices to make sure that our campaign demands were seen and heard by the folks who work at the there.

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From the Field: Online Petitions and Indigenous Resistance

It was 8:30 PM when we finally sat down with the community leaders in Pandumaan-Sipituhuta. These leaders work all day, tapping the benzoin trees in the jungles of Northern Sumatra. These trees produce a sap used for products from incense to medicine. Only once the community leaders come back to the village, often after hours of walking through the forest, do they have time to sit together and talk about how to protect their land. The men and women in this gathering – maybe about 10 people total – knew each...

Ralph Lauren: Words vs. Reality

The campaign against Ralph Lauren is heating up. Last month, there were protests in both New York and San Francisco — and thousands of you are taking action to pressure the company. If you’ve been following the campaign, you may already know that fabrics like rayon and viscose may contain rainforest destruction and egregious human rights abuses. If you haven’t, it may surprise you to learn that huge fashion companies rely on this deforestation to create its latest trends. These fabrics are actually produced by processing trees into fiber and weaving that fiber into fabric — making these...

Systems Change, Rainforests, and Racism

“What Does ______ Have to Do with Rainforests?!”This week, RAN posted a message of support on Facebook about the courageous civil disobedience by Bree Newsome in South Carolina. And, as a testament to the social justice leanings of our community, our post was met with predominant support. Post by rainforestactionnetwork.However, there was also the de rigeur Internet Indignance. “Why is an environmental group talking about ____?” “What does this have to do with rainforests?!!” “You no longer have my support!” We always expect these responses. Yet when we touch on issues involving race in the United States, those responses always seem a little louder. And a lot uglier.Systems Change: It’s What We DoOf course, Rainforest Action Network is no stranger to civil disobedience or controversy. For 30 years, one of RAN’s core advocacy strategies has been to challenge corporate power and systems...

Conflict Palm Oil Demonstration at Nissin Foods US Headquarters

Nissin Foods is one of the Snack Food 20 companies in RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil Campaign, and is lagging far behind the rest of the group with a weak palm oil commitment that relies solely on the inadequate Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification system and lacks requirements for suppliers to end destruction of rainforests, peatlands and abuse of human and labor rights. We were headed to their offices to make sure that our campaign demands were seen and heard by the folks who work at the there.

A Missed Opportunity for Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren's citizenship report represents a small step for the company, but it lacks the specificity to protect forests and communities in a meaningful way. Demand a real policy here.

  • 06/24/15
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Bank of America’s Coal Policy: A Bold Challenge to U.S. Banks on Climate

Last month, Bank of America published its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which addressed the bank’s financing policies and practices in detail. This blog post looks back on the bank’s release of its updated coal policy in May, and looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the policy update and what it means for the banking sector’s financing of coal more broadly. Overall: Bank of America’s new coal policy is both groundbreaking and imperfect. It acknowledges that the bank has a responsibility not only to finance the transition to low-carbon energy but also to cut financing for high-carbon...

Coal Finance Case Study: Putting Communities and a World Heritage Site at Risk for a New Power Plant

    As part of RAN's work to call on banks to commit to the Paris Pledge and end financing for coal and coal-fired power prior to the Paris climate summit this year, we'll be highlighting case studies of destructive coal projects around the world. This case study, authored by Greig Aitken from BankTrack highlights the Rampal coal plant planned for Bangladesh, which would have devastating impacts on communities, a World Heritage-listed mangrove forest, and the climate. Just last month, three of France’s largest banks (BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, and Société Génerale) committed to refrain from financing...

Systems Change, Rainforests, and Racism

“What Does ______ Have to Do with Rainforests?!”This week, RAN posted a message of support on Facebook about the courageous civil disobedience by Bree Newsome in South Carolina. And, as a testament to the social justice leanings of our community, our post was met with predominant support. Post by rainforestactionnetwork.However, there was also the de rigeur Internet Indignance. “Why is an environmental group talking about ____?” “What does this have to do with rainforests?!!” “You no longer have my support!” We always expect these responses. Yet when we touch on issues involving...

Stop the fossil fuel industry's vision of the future

Today, we’re launching a new project to envision a climate-stable future — and brainstorm the strategies to make that vision a reality. Will you help us Change the Course? Today, the climate movement is full of unprecedented energy and momentum. Together, we’re marching in the streets and working to shift our institutions away from fossil fuels. We’re fighting coal exports, fracking, oil trains, and dirty energy in our communities. And, of course, we’re ready to engage in civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL pipeline if and when that time comes. All of these fights are indispensable to shifting our society off carbon and creating the renewable energy economy. But, with so much of our attention focused on fighting short-term battles, it can be hard to find...

BREAKING: Bank of America dumps coal mining

After years of pressure on Bank of America, they just announced a new coal mining policy: “Our new policy … reflects our decision to continue to reduce our credit exposure over time to the coal mining sector globally.”1 Translation: Bank of America is dumping coal mining! This is a huge moment. Bank of America has gone from being the top bankroller of coal to having the strongest global coal mining policy of any major global bank. It’s the result of years of hard-hitting campaigning by RAN, our many front-line allies — and by you and all of RAN’s supporters in this fight. So, thank you for everything you’ve done. Now, we have to hold Bank of America to its word by rigorously monitoring their implementation of this policy. And second, we have to push other banks to meet or...

Bank of America Campaign Timeline

Bank of America has gone from being the top bankroller of coal to having the strongest global coal mining policy of any major global bank. That's the result of years of hard-hitting campaigning by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), our many front-line allies — and by you and all of RAN's supporters in this fight. So, thank you for everything you've done! Here's a snapshot of the past four years. March 2011 RAN warns six banks, including Bank of America, that we are preparing to launch a campaign, by serving "On Notice" orders to "Cease and Desist" their financing of coal. July 2011 We announce our Bank of America campaign with a "Billionaires for Coal" protest at a San Francisco branch of the bank. August 2011 In an advocacy meeting,...

Earth Day is About Action

Did you know today is Earth Day?Did you know that because you’ve been swamped with “Go Green” commercials?Is your TV and Facebook suddenly filled with polar bears and pollution stats?That’s not what Earth Day is about. Earth Day was born out of action -- not...

Tell President Obama: No More Public Lands and Waters Giveaways

Five years ago today, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing eleven people and sending some 210 million barrels of oil flooding into the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama called it “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced”.1...

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Coal Finance Case Study: FirstEnergy's Failed Bet on Coal Power

Posted by 08/03/15

As part of RAN's work to call on banks to commit to the Paris Pledge and end financing for coal and coal-fired power prior to the Paris climate summit this year, we are highlighting case studies of destructive coal projects and failed investments in coal infrastructure around the world. This case study, authored by Mark Kresowik of the Sierra Club highlights FirstEnergy’s financial struggles associated with a failed bet on coal-fired power. FirstEnergy’s coal plants continue to be a huge financial burden, with the company now asking Ohio regulators to allow it to dump the cost of operating the company’s uneconomic power plants on its customers.   In 2014, Tony Alexander, FirstEnergy's CEO stood up before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to defend coal and deride energy efficiency, wind, solar, demand response, and virtually any other form of clean energy innovation taking place in the U.S. electric...   Read more

Meet the Palm Oil Action Team Leaders: Lindsay Vanderhoogt

Posted by 08/03/15

This past March, Palm Oil Activists from around the country gathered in the San Francisco Bay Area for a five-day campaign organizing and direct actions training with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) campaigners and staff. These activists now make up the inspiring Palm Oil Action Team Leaders, and are taking the tools and skills they learned from the trainings back to their respective hometowns, where they are educating and mobilizing their communities to take action against Conflict Palm Oil. We will be releasing a series of blog with each one telling a story of a different leader. Here is part 1 of the series: Lindsay’s story on how her journey with activism began and why the issue of Conflict Palm Oil motivates the work that she does. If you live in the Boston, MA area and feel inspired by Lindsay’s story, sign up to work with her by clicking the sign-up...   Read more

Meet the Palm Oil Action Leaders: Cailie Kafura

Posted by 08/03/15

Cailie is a 21 year old activist from Wisconsin and a vibrant member of the Palm Oil Action Team Leaders group. The 4th addition to our current 7 part blog series focused on the Leaders, this blog reveals how Cailie’s passion for environmental and social justice motivates the work that she does in her community and on the Conflict Palm Oil campaign. If you live near the Green Bay, WI area and feel inspired by Cailie’s story, sign up to work with her by clicking the sign-up link at the bottom of the page! Cailie Kafura, 21, Green Bay, WI From a very young age, Cailie has been an environmentalist, striving to make the world a better place. She has always felt an inherent responsibility to care for the earth and all its inhabitants, and acted upon this feeling...   Read more

Meet the Palm Oil Action Team Leaders: Jacob Foster

Posted by 08/03/15

Here is part 5 of our 7 part series to introduce some the of leading activists at RAN, our Palm Oil Action Leaders. These amazing people are taking on the highest level of action with our palm oil campaign, and we want you to know who they are, so you take action with them in your hometowns. Below is Jacob’s story, an activist from Chicago, on what inspired him to apply to the Palm Oil Action Leaders Summit and how his experience at the Summit impacted him. If you live in the Chicago, IL area and feel inspired by Jacob’s story, sign up to work with him by clicking the sign-up link at the bottom of the page! Jacob Foster, 30, Chicago, IL Jacob has been an activist and organizer in the Midwest since 2009. His first introduction to Rainforest Action Network was in...  Read more

Coal Finance Case Study: FirstEnergy's Failed Bet on Coal Power

Posted by 08/03/15

As part of RAN's work to call on banks to commit to the Paris Pledge and end financing for coal and coal-fired power prior to the Paris climate summit this year, we are highlighting case studies of destructive coal projects and failed investments in coal infrastructure around the world. This case study, authored by Mark Kresowik of the Sierra Club highlights FirstEnergy’s financial struggles associated with a failed bet on coal-fired power. FirstEnergy’s coal plants continue to be a huge financial burden, with the company now asking Ohio regulators to allow it to dump the cost of operating the company’s uneconomic power plants on its customers.   In 2014, Tony Alexander, FirstEnergy's CEO stood up before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to defend coal and deride energy efficiency, wind, solar, demand response, and virtually any other form of clean energy innovation taking place in the U.S. electric...   Read more

Meet the Palm Oil Action Team Leaders: Lindsay Vanderhoogt

Posted by 08/03/15

This past March, Palm Oil Activists from around the country gathered in the San Francisco Bay Area for a five-day campaign organizing and direct actions training with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) campaigners and staff. These activists now make up the inspiring Palm Oil Action Team Leaders, and are taking the tools and skills they learned from the trainings back to their respective hometowns, where they are educating and mobilizing their communities to take action against Conflict Palm Oil. We will be releasing a series of blog with each one telling a story of a different leader. Here is part 1 of the series: Lindsay’s story on how her journey with activism began and why the issue of Conflict Palm Oil motivates the work that she does. If you live in the Boston, MA area and feel inspired by Lindsay’s story, sign up to work with her by clicking the sign-up...   Read more

Meet the Palm Oil Action Leaders: Cailie Kafura

Posted by 08/03/15

Cailie is a 21 year old activist from Wisconsin and a vibrant member of the Palm Oil Action Team Leaders group. The 4th addition to our current 7 part blog series focused on the Leaders, this blog reveals how Cailie’s passion for environmental and social justice motivates the work that she does in her community and on the Conflict Palm Oil campaign. If you live near the Green Bay, WI area and feel inspired by Cailie’s story, sign up to work with her by clicking the sign-up link at the bottom of the page! Cailie Kafura, 21, Green Bay, WI From a very young age, Cailie has been an environmentalist, striving to make the world a better place. She has always felt an inherent responsibility to care for the earth and all its inhabitants, and acted upon this feeling...   Read more

Meet the Palm Oil Action Team Leaders: Jacob Foster

Posted by 08/03/15

Here is part 5 of our 7 part series to introduce some the of leading activists at RAN, our Palm Oil Action Leaders. These amazing people are taking on the highest level of action with our palm oil campaign, and we want you to know who they are, so you take action with them in your hometowns. Below is Jacob’s story, an activist from Chicago, on what inspired him to apply to the Palm Oil Action Leaders Summit and how his experience at the Summit impacted him. If you live in the Chicago, IL area and feel inspired by Jacob’s story, sign up to work with him by clicking the sign-up link at the bottom of the page! Jacob Foster, 30, Chicago, IL Jacob has been an activist and organizer in the Midwest since 2009. His first introduction to Rainforest Action Network was in...  Read more

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