Pages tagged "Forests"

Press Release: Indonesia’s President inundated with calls to protect Iconic Leuser Ecosystem


Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Green Legacy Stands or Falls on Protection of the Leuser Ecosystem, NGOs say 

[Jakarta, Sept. 22] In the final weeks of his presidency, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has come under massive international pressure to act to protect one of the world’s most biodiverse forests. 

On the eve of the UN Climate Summit in New York, thousands of tweets flooded the President’s personal twitter account, @SBYudhoyono, asking him to protect the Leuser Ecosystem, as recent studies found Indonesia to have overtaken Brazil in having the highest rate of deforestation in the world. Located at the country’s most western tip, the fate of the Leuser Ecosystem rests entirely on the cancellation of an illegal spatial plan drawn up by the government of Aceh province.

“The Aceh Spatial Plan is invalid and illegal,” said Effendi Isma, spokesperson of Aceh Forest Care Coalition. “The plan is clearly at odds with National Spatial Planning Law and the President’s own moratorium on new plantations. It even goes as far as violating Aceh’s own 2006 Law on Aceh Governance, which is causing much distress for all those in Indonesia and abroad who supported the Helsinki Peace process.”

The Aceh Spatial Plan, which opens up the nationally protected Leuser Ecosystem to logging, mining and clearing for plantations, has become a global and national scandal. An evaluation by the Ministry of Home Affairs requires Aceh’s government to revise the plan and ensure protection of the Leuser Ecosystem, but to date the Aceh Government has completely ignored this obligation.  

“The situation is very clear.  If President SBY does not cancel the Aceh Spatial Plan an extremely dangerous precedent will be set for law enforcement in Indonesia, and environmental commitments right across the country. Time is running out for President SBY. He only has a couple of weeks before he steps down from office,” said Greenpeace forest campaigner Teguh Surya.

“Thousands of Aceh residents have already lost their livelihoods, and many have lost their lives, because of bad land-use planning” said Effendi. “The will of the people of Aceh is to restore our forests, not destroy them, as they protect our communities from flooding and are the key to our long term prosperity. They are a huge natural asset to the economy of Aceh, millions of people rely on having Leuser’s forests protected,” he concluded.

“Losing the Leuser Ecosystem would be a humanitarian and environmental disaster,“ said leading primatologist Dr Ian Singleton, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. “It is the last place on earth where orangutans, rhinos, tigers, and elephants coexist in the wild. President SBY has said he never wants to have to tell his granddaughter, Almira, that these species disappeared like the dinosaurs.  But he risks having to tell her exactly that, and that it was he himself who allowed it to happen! He risks having to admit to Almira that by his own failure to enforce national laws, he was personally accountable for the extinction of these iconic Indonesian treasures.” 

“The President of Indonesia can respond to the calls of thousands of people rallying for bold climate action by rejecting the plan to destroy the Leuser Ecosystem for palm oil and pulp plantations.  Business as usual practices are no longer tenable as consumers, investors and governments are taking action to secure a safe climate by demanding deforestation and conflict free commodities,” concluded Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network.  [ends]

Images available on request:

Farwiza Farhan – Media Officer – Forest Nature and Environment Aceh

+62 821 6261 0756

For further comment:

Teguh Surya – Forest and Climate Campaigner – Greenpeace Indonesia

+62 819 1519 1979

Dr Ian Singleton – Director – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

+62 811 650 491 

Effendi Isma – Spokesperson – Aceh Forest Care Coalition

+62 813 6016 0055

Video available at:

Press Release: Palm Oil Giants Hit Pause Button On Bulldozers


Friday, September 19th, 2014


Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161

Palm Oil Giants Hit Pause Button On Bulldozers

Moratorium on forest clearance for palm oil plantations a ‘step in the right direction,’ RAN says companies must now stop the bulldozers for good and convince suppliers to do the same.

SAN FRANCISCO—In the face of growing criticism over their “talk and log initiative,” known as the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto, five of the world’s largest producers and traders of palm oil have announced a commitment to temporarily halt the clearance of critical forest areas in their own palm oil plantation concessions during a year long study.

The Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto was launched by these 5 companies, namely Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK), Sime Darby Plantation, IOI Group Corporation Berhad, Musim Mas Group, Asian Agri, and Cargill International in July 2014. The initiative was criticized by environmental and social justice organizations as it did not adequately address the current deforestation and climate crisis caused by palm oil expansion and failed to require an immediate halt to the destruction of rainforests throughout the signatories’ supply chains.

“The Signatories to the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto have been forced to realize that half measures are not good enough. Today, these companies have taken a step in the right direction, but their commitment still falls short of their peers. Hitting the pause button on deforestation is not a lasting solution. They need to adopt policies inline with leading industry benchmarks and convince their suppliers to do the same,” said Rainforest Action Network agribusiness campaign director Gemma Tillack.

“Actions are stronger than words. Each company must now demonstrate that bulldozers have been stopped in their tracks and release maps showing the locations of their palm oil plantations and plans for future expansion," continued Tillack.

This announcement follows the release of leading palm oil policies by Wilmar International, Golden Agri Resources (GAR), Cargill International and members of the Palm Oil Innovation Group who have all committed to eliminate deforestation, expansion onto carbon rich peatlands and human rights violations from their global supply chains.

These companies, in addition to Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Golden Veroleum Liberia have established a body with leading NGOs that aims to standardizes the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach, the methodology being used to implement zero deforestation commitments. Non-producer companies and NGOs involved include Conservation International, Daemeter, Forest Heroes, Forest Peoples’ Programme (FPP), Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, Proforest, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Rainforest Alliance, The Forest Trust (TFT), Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), The Nature Conservancy, and World Resources Institute.

The "Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto" companies have also established a process for defining High Carbon Stock areas but it lacks the support or involvement of NGOs.


Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit:

Diet for a Healthy Planet

LGEG_Grains.pngWill the U.S. Government finally weigh the climate impacts of our food choices when determining official recommendations on what Americans should be eating?


All eyes are on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee this week. For the first time ever, these U.S. agencies are determining what constitutes a diet that’s not only healthy for our bodies, but good for our planet too. This means figuring out how to integrate ecological health concerns into their recommendations on what we should be consuming.


The Committee will be deliberating these issues at their public meeting on September 16 and 17, the last public meeting before the release of final draft guidelines in early 2015. As Kari Hamerschlag of Friends of the Earth puts it, “if the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee has its way, America’s dinner plates are about to include a healthy portion of much needed environmental awareness.”


It is encouraging that our government is providing direction on food choices that are better for human health and the planet, but it’s essential that it pay closer attention to science when making recommendations or new rulings that affect millions of people. Specifically, it’s essential the government factor in the climate footprint of any given food before determining it is healthy for people or planet.


Let’s be honest: climate change is scary. The National Academy of Sciences published a study in 2013 explaining how 1,700 American cities – including New York, Boston, and Miami – will become locked into some amount of submersion from rising sea levels unless expensive new dykes and levees can hold back the rising waters. In fact, the International Energy Agency has warned that major action by 2017 may be the last real chance to reverse climate change before it’s too late.


To reverse climate change before it’s too late we must take speedy and large-scale action in the food, agriculture, and forestry sectors. We must eliminate foods with the highest climate footprint from our diet and transition to a diet higher in plant proteins, support local agriculture, and halt tropical deforestation for palm oil.


For example, consider the massive climate footprint of two highly consumed commodities: palm oil and beef. Whenever the causes of climate change are discussed, fossil fuels top the list. Oil, natural gas and especially coal are indeed major sources of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. But what about rainforest destruction and meat production?


Palm Oil

In November 2013 the Food and Drug Administration signaled the end for heart-harmful, artificial trans fats in our foods. This was a huge step forward and a long time coming, but the unintended consequences have been dire for our climate. Food manufacturers have raced to remove hydrogenated oils from their products and as the primary replacement oil have turned to Conflict Palm Oil. Palm oil production is one of the world’s leading drivers of climate change and of rainforest destruction. As RAN ED Lindsey Allen warned in her New York Times Letter to the Editor, “a healthy diet is one that also contributes to a healthy environment. Companies do listen when we speak. Let’s make sure that they know that we don’t want Conflict Palm Oil in our snacks either.”



The United Nations currently estimates that livestock production alone is responsible for 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. (One 2009 analysis by World Watch put the number significantly higher, arguing that “the life cycle and supply chain of domesticated animals raised for food have been vastly underestimated as a source of green house gas emissions (GHGs) and in fact account for at least half of all human caused GHGs.”)


Therefore it's no surprise that the two of the most credible sources on the science behind climate change, United Nations Environmental Program and Nature Climate Change, suggest that “the fastest way to address climate change would be to reduce significantly the amount of meat that people eat.”* Animal-based foods (meat, dairy products, and eggs) are resource-intensive, inefficient, and polluting. Their production requires massive amounts of water, land, and energy. The byproducts of animal agriculture pollute our air and water and contribute significantly to global climate change.


As Kari Hamerschlag pointed out in her post, at its July public meeting, Miriam Nelson, chair of the Sustainability and Food Safety Subcommittee, made clear that their review of 1600 studies provided overwhelming evidence of significant environmental impacts of “higher consumption of animal foods” and that “a dietary pattern lower in animal based foods and higher in plant foods has lesser environmental impact and at same time is more health promoting than the current American diet.”


Although meat consumption has dropped in the U.S. in recent years, we still consume significantly more meat than what is recommended by current USDA guidelines and we have the highest per capita meat consumption in the world. And unlike some parts of the world, the vast majority of this meat is produced from animals raised in cruel and unsanitary conditions on factory farms.


Given the severity of risk that climate change poses to all of humanity and the role our industrialized food system plays in climate change, it is critical that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee provide Americans with recommendations grounded in science.


*Davies Boren Z. 2014 Apr 10. US government searching for “cow of the future” to save the environment. The Telegraph; Ripple WJ, Smith P, Haberl H, Montzka SA, McAlpine C, Boucher DH. 2014 Jan. Commentary: ruminants, climate change, and climate policy. Nature Climate Change. pp. 1–4.

*Hertwich E, van der Voet E, Suh S, Tukker A, Huijbregts M, Kazmierczyk P, Lenzen M, McNeely J, Moriguchi Y. 2010. Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production: Priority Products and Materials, A Report of the Working Group on the Environmental Impacts of Products and Materials to the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management. UNEP.

Press Release: Donut Giants Take First Step to Cut Ties with Conflict Palm Oil


Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161

Donut Giants Take First Step to Cut Ties with Conflict Palm Oil

RAN welcomes commitments from donut giants as a ‘step in the right direction’ but says thorough, rapid implementation is needed to address the urgent crisis and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from products globally.

SAN FRANCISCO—In the face of growing criticism over their use of the controversial food additive Conflict Palm Oil, Dunkin’ Brands and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have joined a growing global trend and released new palm oil sourcing commitments. These announcements are notable as both commitments go beyond the often-criticized standards of  “sustainable” palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

“Dunkin’ Brands and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have taken a step in the right direction. For communities, plantation workers and the endangered species threatened by palm oil expansion, what matters now is that these donut giants earnestly and rapidly implement these commitments throughout their global operations. The race is now on to see which of these iconic companies will be the first to truly reform its full supply chain and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil for good." said Rainforest Action Network agribusiness campaign director Gemma Tillack.

Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, uses palm oil to produce donuts, ice cream and other snacks sold in 60 countries worldwide.  “Dunkin’ Brands’ commitment requires stores in the US to break the links between its products and suppliers that destroy rainforests, drain carbon-rich peatlands, and violate human rights by December 31, 2016, but it so far fails to set the same requirements for its stores across the globe,” continued Tillack. “This critical gap must be addressed to meet the demands of consumers.”

Both Dunkin’ Brands and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have responded to mounting pressure from consumers, investors and public campaigns by a growing number of NGOs to require their suppliers to stop destroying rainforests, draining carbon-rich peatlands, violating human rights and using forced and child labor. 

These announcements follow the release of strengthened palm oil purchasing commitments from half of the companies dubbed the ‘Snack Food 20’ by Rainforest Action Network, including food giants Nestle, Mars, Mondelez, Kellogg’s and ConAgra Foods. Rainforest Action Network exposed the Snack Food 20 companies’ use of Conflict Palm Oil connected to rainforest destruction, orangutan extinction, human rights violations and climate pollution with a public pressure campaign launched in Spring 2013. 

For more info:  The full report titled ‘Conflict Palm Oil: How US Snack Food Brands are Contributing to Orangutan Extinction, Climate Change and Human Rights Violations’ can be downloaded here:


Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit:

Part 3: Fashion and controversy

As the lavish display of Fall Fashion Week gets under way in New York City, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is announcing Out of Fashion: a campaign for forest friendly fabric.

“Out of Fashion” is our latest major effort to preserve the world’s endangered forests and we need your help to win. Add your voice here. With this campaign, RAN is bringing attention to a growing global threat to forests, animals and Indigenous communities -- a threat that has been hiding in plain sight for years: dissolving pulp. Dissolving pulp is a highly influential commodity in today’s marketplace. And the increased demand for this product is accelerating deforestation and exacerbating human rights abuses across the globe.  

Big name fashion brands are complicit in the pulping of pristine forests -- seizing Indigenous land, driving species loss, and threatening the climate -- all to manufacture a product that makes its way into the clothes we wear every day.

Over the last few days, we've introduced the campaign and how and where the fiber to produce dissolving pulp comes from in our "Introducing: Out of Fashion" piece. We've discussed how and why that dissolving pulp has become attractive to clothing manufacturers in "Part Two: Dissolving Pulp and Fashion." This, our third of the three part series, outlines what fashion can do about the problem.

Part 3: Fashion and controversy

In our second blog, we talked about how clothing companies are turning forests into fashion. In order to produce rayon, viscose and other textiles, companies source fiber through the destructive and toxic production of dissolving wood pulp, buying from suppliers who have been linked with deforestation and land grabbing. When clothing companies turn a blind eye to the impact that their fabrics have on the environment, they need to know that they are putting themselves at risk. Dissolving wood pulp is responsible for the destruction of rainforests, human rights abuses, land grabbing from Indigenous communities, the loss of habitat for endangered species and large-scale climate pollution -- and it’s time for that to stop

What can the fashion industry do about this issue?

It is imperative that the fashion industry take action to clean up its act. There are clear steps that fashion companies (including famous brands like Louis Vuitton and Guess) should take in order to eliminate rainforest destruction and human rights abuses from their clothing lines.

Step One: Map the Complete Supply Chain

The first step is for companies to trace and map their supply chains. Only by clearly mapping supply chains can companies ensure that their parent or affiliated companies, as well as their vendors and suppliers, are not involved in illegal activities, rainforest destruction, and human rights abuses.

Step Two: Get a Global Policy

Companies must develop a global forest footprint policy which contains measurable and time bound targets to eliminate controversial fiber and suppliers from their supply chains. These policies need to include hard requirements for all forest fiber, including fiber they use for bags, reports, printer paper, etc. Companies need to release this policy publicly and share it with all of their supply chain partners.

It is also important to monitor and update these policies regularly ensuring that targets and timelines remain ambitious and in line with best practices. In order to successfully protect rainforests, peatlands, climate, and biodiversity; uphold human and labor rights; and eliminate controversial forest fiber, these policies -- and the common sense and environmentally responsible values that they represent --  should take center stage within companies that purchase and use forest-sourced products.

Any policy must include targets to maximize responsible fiber (like recycled content and agricultural waste) and eliminate fiber from controversial sources.

Once the policy is in place, companies need to send a strong message, and educate supply chain partners and parent companies about the controversy associated with dissolving pulp. Apparel companies should ask supply chain partners to develop and implement similar purchasing policies, and communicate with government agencies to strengthen protection for forests and human rights on a policy level.

The last step is to verify the implementation of their policy. In order to demonstrate leadership, companies should release a time bound implementation plan and report on progress on an annual basis.

Are there companies doing the right thing?

There is already momentum for change within the industry. There are some companies who have already taken steps to eliminate controversial sources from their supply chain, and some companies also have commitments to dig into their supply chains. Their initiative on this issue demonstrates that change is possible, but we need your support to push the industry forward as a whole.

Please join us in transforming the fashion industry. It’s possible to move this industry, and with your help we can take on those yet to change. Add your voice and demand that the fashion industry as a whole move beyond rainforest destruction.


Stroller Brigade: Mothers Call on PepsiCo CEO To Act on Climate Change


mom_to_mom.jpgDo you read the ingredients of everything your child eats? I try to. As a mom, grocery shopping is no simple task. I'm constantly reading labels, on the hunt for nasty additives that could harm my one year old's health. Is the can my coconut milk is packaged in BPA-free? Refined sugar in his granola bars? Pesticides on his blueberries? The list goes on. Since palm oil has become one of those nasty additives in everything, often disguised by complex ingredient names, I've been on a mission to educate other parents about Conflict Palm Oil: what it's in, why it's so bad for our planet and our health, and how we can use our powerful voice as parents to get it out of our children's food.


Since launching a hard-hitting campaign on 20 of the largest snack food companies in America (dubbed "the Snack Food 20") a year ago, RAN and our partners have inspired some pretty monumental shifts in the palm oil sector. Half of the Snack Food 20 companies have now adopted new commitments to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil and RAN is working hard to turn those commitments into real change on the ground in Indonesia and Malaysia. But a small handful of companies still lags behind, including PepsiCo, which has adopted a new commitment but failed to include the key safeguards needed to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil for good. 


PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world and while it has begun to take steps, it has yet to adequately address its Conflict Palm Oil problem. Which is why this morning a group of moms and kids gathered at Bruce Park playground in Greenwich, CT - the hometown of PepsiCo CEO Ms. Indra Nooyi - for a colorful stroller brigade. The three mothers held a Conflict Palm Oil teach-in and marched together holding colorful visuals to send a powerful message to Ms. Nooyi. After the event the moms delivered more than 355,000 petitions from supporters in 122 countries to PepsiCo’s current global headquarters in White Plains, NY. Check out the photos, and send an email to PepsiCo in support. 




This event was led by three local mothers named Harriet, Susan and Debra. They have been active members of RAN's global Palm Oil Action Team (POAT) since the launch of our Last Stand of the Orangutan campaign last Fall. Just last week they sent a powerful open letter to Ms. Nooyi via a dozen influential mommy bloggers requesting immediate action from Ms. Nooyi prior to the historic People's Climate March in NYC September 21.

The stroller brigade and open letter are evidence of the growing number of mothers who've decided that enough is enough: if we're going to stop climate change, we must take matters into our own hands. As the moms state in their open letter to Ms. Nooyi:

delivery.jpg“We are three mothers who live in your community. We are witnesses, first hand and in our own communities, to the impacts of climate change. Our thoughts, concerns, fears and hopes - are for our children, for their future and their now. We are reaching out to you in regards to the historic leadership opportunity you face right now on the issue of climate change and palm oil. We are writing as fellow mothers, daughters, and working women. We are representatives of and speak for thousands of mothers around the country - neighbors, friends, relatives, as well as Rainforest Action Network members, who share our concerns that climate change is a direct threat to our children’s future.”

Their open letter, and the massive support behind it, highlights the growing movement around the globe calling on PepsiCo to address its Conflict Palm Oil problem and the role it plays in climate change. Add your voice and demand change from PepsiCo here.

We'll continue to push by joining an even larger contingent of mothers and fathers in NYC on September 21 as we march for our children's future in the historic People's Climate March. Join us! Contact us at for more details.

Thank you to Susan Rutman for all the photos in this piece. 

Part 2: Dissolving pulp and fashion

As the lavish display of Fall Fashion Week gets under way in New York City, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is announcing Out of Fashion: a campaign for forest friendly fabric.

“Out of Fashion” is our latest major effort to preserve the world’s endangered forests and we need your help to win. Add your voice here. With this campaign, RAN is bringing attention to a growing global threat to forests, animals and Indigenous communities -- a threat that has been hiding in plain sight for years: dissolving pulp.  Dissolving pulp is a highly influential commodity in today’s marketplace. And the increased demand for this product is accelerating deforestation and exacerbating human rights abuses across the globe.  

Big name fashion brands are complicit in the pulping of pristine forests -- seizing Indigenous land, driving species loss, and threatening the climate -- all to manufacture a product that makes its way into the clothes we wear every day.

Over the next few days, RAN will introduce you to this destructive industry -- and how Rainforest Action Network is planning to take it on.

Dissolving Pulp and Fashion

In our first blog, "Introducing: Out of Fashion", we introduced the threat of dissolving wood pulp and how this product makes its way out of the forest and into your closet. Dissolving pulp makes this journey disguised as rayon, viscose, and modal, fabrics used in the latest fashions from many of today’s most popular brands.

So, how do trees actually make their way into the clothes you’re wearing?

It’s a complicated process: forests are cut, then pulped into a toxic sludge or “soluble compound”. This sludge is what is known as dissolving pulp and it is produced using a wide variety of toxic chemicals including dioxin, chlorine, volatile organic compounds and adsorbable organic halides. These chemicals are known to bioaccumulate -- meaning they collect and increase in negative impact within the bodies of human beings and all living creatures. This toxic sludge is then forced through spinnerets, and becomes viscose staple fiber (VSF). The VSF is then spun into yarn, woven into fabric, sewn into garments, and then marketed by brands and sold in outlets all over the world--from luxury stores to suburban shopping malls to big box stores. That is how pristine rainforests find their way into our closets.

So, what fabrics actually contain dissolving pulp? What should you look for on the label?

This fiber goes by many names, so it’s important to check the label when looking for your next outfit. These include: rayon, viscose, Lyocell, and modal. While clothes might feel like silk or cotton, remember to double check and see if they contain rayon or these other potentially rainforest-damaging fabrics. And even if you personally are avoiding these fabrics, remember that not everybody is. That's why RAN is calling on the industry to change as a whole - and that's why we need your voice on this petition. 

Why would people actually turn precious rainforests into high-fashion apparel in the first place?

These fabrics are becoming attractive options due to the rising cost and (ironically) environmental concerns associated with cotton. Due to recent flooding and droughts, cotton crops have suffered significantly in recent years. As a response, clothing brands will even list these rainforest-destroying fabrics such as rayon  as “natural” or “renewable” textiles.

One of the most amazing things is the ubiquity of these products. From cheap clothing to high-end luxury brands, rayon and viscose are everywhere, and at every price point. Companies that use these products range from Forever 21 to Prada, from Abercrombie to Louis Vuitton--  and everyone in between. It’s critical that companies that are profiting from this destruction take responsibility for their supply chain.

In the next blog, we’ll dive into what clothing companies can do and actions you as the consumer can take to protect forests and human rights from irresponsible clothing and the expansion of the dissolving pulp market. But don’t wait - take action now to demand that your clothes are free of deforestation and human rights abuses here.

Introducing: Out of Fashion

As the lavish display of Fall Fashion Week gets under way today in New York City, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is announcing Out of Fashion: a campaign for forest friendly fabric.

“Out of Fashion” is our latest major effort to preserve the world’s endangered forests and we need your help to win. Add your voice here. With this campaign, RAN is bringing attention to a growing global threat to forests, animals and Indigenous communities -- a threat that has been hiding in plain sight for years: dissolving pulp.  Dissolving pulp is a little-discussed yet highly influential commodity in today’s marketplace. And the increased demand for this product is accelerating deforestation and exacerbating human rights abuses across the globe.  

Big name fashion brands are complicit in the pulping of pristine forests -- seizing Indigenous land, driving species loss, and threatening the climate -- all to manufacture a product that makes its way into the clothes we wear every day.

Over the next few days, RAN will introduce you to this destructive industry -- and how Rainforest Action Network is planning to take it on.

The Context

Recently, we told you about the devastating impact that the production of wood pulp by paper giant Toba Pulp Lestari is having on the communities and forests of North Sumatra. Amazingly enough, this pulp makes its way into countless everyday products, like books, office paper and packaging.

But the production of dissolving wood pulp is an equally problematic issue.  Dissolving pulp is an ingredient found in an even wider variety of products such as cosmetics, food, household product, sanitary products -- and clothing that we wear every day.

So, wait. Trees are in my clothes?

Shockingly, yes, if you are wearing rayon, viscose, modal, or tencel.  The most prevalent type of this pulp is Rayon grade pulp, which is a core component of a textile called viscose staple fiber (VSF). This is what we’ll be focusing on, since VSF represents a large market share--and the production of VSF is responsible for 90% of the dissolving pulp expansion.

This fiber can be found in blended fabrics or on its own and it has been slowly replacing cotton as a cheaper alternative. It can also be found in polyester to create a more “high-end” feel and is present in many best selling  brands.

What are the problems with dissolving pulp?

The quest for cheaply produced dissolving pulp is leaving an incredibly destructive footprint on the globe and has been a significant driver of human rights abuses, land grabbing, natural forest conversion, the development of carbon-emitting peatlands, climate change, biodiversity loss, and toxics pollution. Every year, more than 70 million trees are turned into clothing through the dissolving pulp process. And the process is almost criminally inefficient: only 30% of tree matter is actually useable for clothing. The other 70% becomes waste. With pulp mills all over the world, including in Indonesia, Canada and Brazil, the industry is diffuse and the supply chain difficult to pin down.

One of the challenges in confronting this problem is that dissolving pulp is very difficult to trace. When we launched our campaign to eliminate rainforest destruction from books and printed materials, we could perform independent fiber testing of books to determine the species of tree and country of origin. Since the production of dissolving pulp requires a much higher toxic chemical load the trees’ DNA is virtually destroyed, making it practically impossible to pinpoint the origin of the fiber. This creates an “opaque”  supply chain, one in which the companies themselves must be active and responsible in policing to avoid contamination from conflict pulp and the timber used to produce it.

What’s next? Join us on the journey to get rainforest destruction out of fashion.

Not sure if you’re wearing rainforest destruction? Go ahead and look in your closet. And definitely have a look the next time you shop--do you see rayon or viscose on the label? Beware: you could be buying rainforest destruction.

We will be telling you more about dissolving pulp in the coming weeks and how this driver of rainforest destruction is making its way into your clothes. Join us in confronting this global threat to forests and sign the petition to send a clear message to fashion companies: We want deforestation and human rights abuses out of our clothing.


Ready for more? Read part two of our three part series here. 

Be a Part of the Biggest Climate March in History

ClimatePeoplesMarch_v2.pngOn September 21, New York City will see the biggest climate march in history. 

Be a part of it! 

You know the deadly effects of climate change: more storms like Superstorm Sandy in New York, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. More droughts like the one right now in California, and fires like the ones that have been engulfing the Western U.S. every summer. Farmland drying up and sea levels rising, which means hunger and displacement for many of the world’s poorest people. 

Now more than ever, we need to show decision-makers that climate change is a planetary emergency, and that we can't wait any longer for serious action to stop climate chaos. That's why next month, when President Obama and other world leaders gather for a crucial climate summit at the United Nations, the global climate movement will greet them with the largest climate march in history. 

Are you in? 

Rainforest Action Network will be there for this historic event for the global climate movement. We'll also be there to send an important message: to stabilize the climate, we have to challenge corporate power. We have to challenge PepsiCo to stop sourcing Conflict Palm Oil that’s destroying the rainforests that help to regulate our climate. We have to challenge TransCanada: they won’t build the Keystone XL pipeline on our watch. 

You know that winning the fight against global warming means challenging corporations that put profit before people and the planet. And we need you to bring that message to the streets of New York. 

Join us!

This summit kicks off truly crucial series of meetings, with a real chance for binding international emissions targets by the end of 2015. We can’t afford business as usual -- and we know that’s exactly what our elected officials will deliver unless we show them we mean business. Let’s seize our chance to shape history. 

Come be a part of it.

P.S. On September 21, the action goes well beyond New York City, with mobilizations across the country and around the world. Can’t make it to New York? Be part of an event near you.

Cargill Releases New Commitment to Fix Its Conflict Palm Oil Problem; Rainforest Action Network Says Crucial Details Still Missing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday July 29 2014

***High resolution images available

Contact: Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161

Following years of campaigning by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and others, agribusiness giant pledges to take more responsibility for the impact of its palm oil business, but key elements needed to achieve truly responsible palm oil remain absent.

San Francisco, CA – Responding to mounting pressure from large corporate customers, global consumers and environmental and social justice organizations, Cargill announced new environmental and social commitments today that signal a potentially significant shift in direction for its palm oil business and more widely for the industry overall. Cargill has stated its intention to eliminate palm oil in its supply chain associated with deforestation, degradation of carbon-rich peatlands or failure to protect Indigenous and other human and worker rights.  

Cargill is the largest importer of palm oil into the United States. Palm oil is used in roughly half the packaged goods sold in grocery stores and products containing Cargill-sourced palm oil can be found in most American homes.

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has publicly pressured Cargill to adopt a responsible palm oil policy since 2007. Recently, many of Cargill’s major palm oil customers, including Nestlé, Unilever, General Mills, Mondelēz, Kellogg, Safeway, Hershey, Mars – and most recently Procter & Gamble - have responded to pressure by RAN, Greenpeace and allies by committing to strengthen their palm oil policies.

In response to today’s announcement, RAN’s Executive Director Lindsey Allen issued the following statement outlining the key elements Cargill will need to include in its implementation plan for today’s commitment to achieve its stated goals.

“This announcement marks a milestone in the ongoing international effort to break the links between palm oil production and rainforest destruction, human rights violations and carbon pollution. But the lack of adequate deadlines, independent third party verification and an implementation plan to make sure it is actually working, means it remains too early to tell if Cargill will achieve the real change that is so desperately needed. The devil is truly in the details for Cargill if it is to successfully transform itself from its current business model into a trusted supplier of responsible palm oil. All eyes are now on Cargill’s next steps.”

What new commitments has Cargill just made?

  • Cargill has recognized that it needs to adopt a global palm oil policy that addresses widely recognized gaps in the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards for certified palm oil. The RSPO has been strongly criticized for certifying on-going tropical deforestation, continued expansion onto carbon-rich peatlands and its poor track record of eliminating, conflict and the use of forced and child labor from its member’s operations.

  • Cargill is now committing to build a traceable and transparent palm oil supply chain and is seeking compliance from its suppliers to end egregious practices such as deforestation, expansion onto peatlands and the exploitation of Indigenous Peoples, workers and local communities.

  • Cargill’s commitment to seeking compliance to its no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation principles is effective immediately. Full compliance includes ceasing the clearance of potential high carbon stock forests by third party suppliers throughout its global supply chain, a commitment many of Cargill’s suppliers, including Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK), have so far been unwilling to make.

To address the critical gaps in its commitment, Cargill must develop and publicly release:

  • A time-bound implementation plan that sets measurable performance targets and outlines how it intends to implement its policy.

  • Clear deadlines for achieving a fully traceable global supply chain by 2015 and independently verified compliance by 2016.

  • Details on the auditing, verification and due diligence procedures that will be used to identify cases of non-compliance and specifics on the actions Cargill will take to eliminate problematic suppliers from its supply chain.

  • Details on the establishment of an independent conflict resolution and grievance mechanism that will enable the resolution of conflicts in its supply chain to the satisfaction of Indigenous Peoples, workers and local communities.

  • Cargill must also adopt best practices for transparent auditing, monitoring and reporting on progress. This must include the public release of third party audits and documentation of complaints, grievances and cases of non-compliance.

With 2013 revenues of $136.7 billion and profits of $2.31 billion, Cargill is among the largest and most powerful private corporations in the world. Cargill’s business lines touch all aspects of palm oil production, trade, refining and marketing as it moves palm oil from producers to end consumers. Cargill has a crucial role to play in building traceable and responsible palm oil sourcing from growers to markets.


Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit:

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