Our Work: Forests Program

Rainforest Action Network activists prepare a huge banner protesting General Mills involvement in rainforest destruction. By Mercury Miller.

Rainforest Action Network believes corporate exploitation of our world’s forests is a crime that demands bold and strident resistance. Everyday, RAN challenges corporate power with hard-hitting campaigns that prioritize the long-term health of forest communities and ecosystems.

Deforestation is among the most pressing environmental crises facing the world today. Rapid destruction of forests to clear space for the production of international commodities like pulp, palm oil, soy and cattle is a leading cause of species extinction, social conflict and carbon pollution worldwide. RAN’s Forest Program confronts the root causes of forest destruction with unflinching campaigns that engage offending companies from within and without. These campaigns target the intersection of forest destruction, climate change and human rights abuses with tactics from civil disobedience to boardroom negotiations.

RAN’s campaigns have successfully removed rainforest-destroying beef from Burger King’s menus, ensured Home Depot shelved its sales of old growth wood, and moved General Mills to recognize the problems with palm oil.  These precedent-setting victories have led to real change on the ground for forests and forest dependent communities, and have transformed what is accepted as ‘business as usual’ for some of the largest companies in the country. 

RAN has identified the rainforests of Indonesia as among the most important and endangered on earth, and the forest program is currently running two robust campaigns targeting the primary drivers of Indonesian rainforest destruction: the palm oil and pulp and paper industries.

You can view a brief timeline of RAN’s Success Stories preserving the world’s forests here, as well as a representative sample of links that illustrate our work below. 

Direct Action 

When negotiation, grassroots organizing and public pressure fail to convince a corporation to do the right thing, RAN does not shy away from utilizing creative, nonviolent civil disobedience to make sure our message is heard. 

Mickey and Minnie Protest Disney Rainforest Destruction at Company HQ
Activists dressed as Mickie and Minnie lock down to the front gates of Disney’s HQ to protest the company’s use of rainforest destroying paper fiber in its kids books.

ADM, Bunge, Cargill: the ABCs of Rainforest Destruction
Rainforest Action Network turned up the heat on US Agribusiness giants ADM, Bunge, and Cargill with a giant banner dropped at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Massive Banners Dropped on Cargill, Grain Exchange Skyway
RAN activists hang two billboard-sized banners off of a Minneapolis skyway, calling attention to Cargill’s role in the destruction of the world’s last remaining rainforests.

Ran Activist in Store Driving Consumer Demand

RAN educates consumers and corporate customers to make socially and environmentally informed purchasing choices that place pressure on companies to improve their business practices.

New Report Shows Publishing Industry Trend to Protect Rainforests; Two Leading Publishers Receive Failing Grades

A RAN report examines leading US book publishers and ranks them based on their paper policies and purchasing practices.

What Do Cargill’s Recent Palm Oil Commitments Mean For Its Customers?
While Cargill’s new commitments are significant, they do not mean customers should stop pushing Cargill to deliver responsibly sourced palm oil as soon as possible.

RAN Grassroots Stick It to Palm Oil
1,000 rainforest defenders visit their local supermarkets, and place warning signs on palm oil-containing Halloween candy made by Hershey and Nestle.

Boardroom image Boardroom Negotiation

RAN works to get companies to the negotiating table and then helps them develop and implement precedent setting policies that prevent forest destruction and human rights abuses from entering their products and supply chains.

General Mills Moves Away from Rainforest Destruction
RAN announces a victorious end to its General Mills palm oil campaign.

Home Depot Announces Commitment to Stop Selling Old Growth Wood; Announcement Validates Two-Year Grassroots Environmental Campaign
After a two-year grassroots campaign by RAN, Home Depot announced the end of wood sales from endangered forests.

A Victory for Tasmania’s Forests
After years of clearcutting Tasmania’s ancient forests, Australian timber giant Gunns Limited stated that it will pull out of native forest logging altogether.

working with frontline communities Frontline Community Support

RAN realizes the best way to protect forests is to support the people who depend on them most. We maintain relationships with communities impacted by forest destruction and prioritize efforts to amplify their voices and act in solidarity with their demands.

From The Field: RAN’s Work Pays Off In Indonesia
RAN speaks with Indonesia’s Friends of National Parks Foundation in Bali, and explains why FNPF is exactly the sort of frontline ally RAN is proud to support.

Reclaiming Stolen Lands: Indigenous Community Stands up to Global Palm Oil Giant
After fighting for the return of their lands for more than a decade, the people of Long Teran Kenan take a stand with a decisive and peaceful act of collective resistance

The Old Growth Campaign Victory – how did we do that?
A victory as big as AbitibiBowater pulling their logging out of Grassy Narrows is big enough to warrant a look back at the huge group of people who made it happen.

Learn More

The average North American touches paper countless times a day. Yet the true environmental and social costs of these everyday products often go unnoticed.
Green tells a moving story about the corporate conversion of rainforests in Indonesia for palm oil, tropical wood and paper through the eyes of a dying orangutan - a victim of deforestation and resource exploitation. This film is a visual journey illustrating the impacts of land clearing, the effects of consumerism, the tragic loss of biodiversity and the other harsh realities that Indonesian rainforest destruction is inflicting upon endangered species like the orangutan.