Pages tagged "indigenous"


New Report Finds Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Lagging on Social Responsibility Commitments; Provides Recommendations for Improvement

On-the-ground interviews with 17 affected Indonesian communities reveal policy implementation problems while hundreds of unresolved land conflicts remain

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, 415 246 0161, laurel@ran.org 

San Francisco, CA – A field-based survey to investigate Asia Pulp and Paper’s (APP) performance, provide input into an evaluation of APP’s progress on fulfilling its social responsibility commitments, and make recommendations to the company finds little on-the-ground evidence to date that APP is taking sufficient action to resolve land conflict issues.

With the exception of progress in two communities where it is piloting conflict resolution approaches, there has been little change for communities embroiled in land disputes with the company. Hundreds of land conflicts remain and APP has been failing to involve affected communities and other key stakeholders in the identification, analysis and resolution of these conflicts.

The study, which was initiated by a coalition of Indonesian and International NGOs and community-based organizations, conducted interviews with village leaders and community members from 17 communities impacted by APP and its affiliates. Communities were visited in the Indonesian provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan between May and September 2014, including visits to  three APP concessions where the company has initiated conflict resolution pilot projects.

APP’s 30-year legacy of adverse social and environmental impacts from its widespread deforestation and pulp plantation expansion across Indonesia is well documented.  Following decades of public criticism, community opposition and pressure from its customers and investors, in February 2013 APP announced a much-welcomed new Forest Conservation Policy, which sets out the companies commitments to reform its forestry practices and to address its legacy of land grabs and human rights violations, climate pollution, deforestation, and wildlife habitat destruction across its 2.6 million hectares of concessions.

The study is a contribution towards ongoing independent monitoring of the company’s performance. The study was submitted to an evaluation of APP’s progress against its Forest Conservation Policy Commitments being conducted by the Rainforest Alliance. 

Commenting on the coalition’s findings, Patrick Anderson from Forest Peoples Programme said:

“APP still has a tremendous amount of work to do before we can say that their commitments are yielding satisfactory remedies to conflicts on the ground. We’re very concerned that at least one of the the two land conflict agreements that have been reached did not follow all the requirements in APP's policy on respecting community rights and that there are many hundreds of conflicts with communities remaining to be resolved. APP is still failing to effectively involve communities and other key stakeholders in developing action plans and efforts to scale up its conflict resolution. If the situation doesn't change, we’re concerned that the company’s efforts will not secure durable and equitable agreements  at scale.”

Aidil Fitri, campaign director at Wahana Bumi Hijau stated that “our research on APP’s implementation of its Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) commitment relating to the new Oki Pulp Mill, one of the world’s largest, finds that the company has not gotten FPIC from at least one rights holding community and that the company has started construction of Oki Pulp Mill before the FPIC process was completed. We see this as a clear violation of FPIC and the company’s own policy.”

“If APP wants to regain the trust and business of customers and investors, it must improve transparency, work more effectively with stakeholders and prove that it has sufficiently implemented its commitments to a  point where it can demonstrate widespread and positive impacts on the ground,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “Because the company’s implementation is still at an early stage, there is a clear need for continued independent monitoring and verification of the company’s performance. In order for APP to scale up  conflict resolution and prevent further deforestation in the remaining natural forests in their concessions, the company will need to give back more of the land it is currently using for pulp wood plantations to meet community livelihood needs and land claims.” 

“Our report provides detailed recommendations for how APP can address current problems and how it can ensure that the foundation that it has established leads to positive outcomes for communities and forests and delivers the results it has promised. The study suggests to buyers and others that it’s still too soon to tell whether APP’s promises will become a reality,” Cortesi said.

The full report, available to download here: http://www.ran.org/app_performance_2015, includes a table outlining the research findings from each community, and the executive summary and recommendations, available to download here: http://www.ran.org/app_performance_2015_summary, provides an overview of the full report’s findings and detailed recommendations of improvements APP can make.

For a Bahasa Indonesia translated version of this press release, download one here: 

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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:www.ran.org






Constant Conflict? Unresolved Land Disputes Still Haunt Asia Pulp and Paper

On-the-ground interviews with 17 affected Indonesian communities reveal policy implementation problems while hundreds of unresolved land conflicts remain

Nearly two years after Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) made groundbreaking commitments to transform its notoriously destructive business practices, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has partnered with one international and nine local Indonesian allies to produce a report that documents the company’s performance in meeting its social responsibility promises. Recent on-the-ground research in 17 Indonesian communities affected by APP reveal significant APP policy implementation problems, and hundreds of unresolved land conflicts remaining in APP’s concessions.

APP’s OKI Mill, one of the largest mills in the world, under construction before community Free, Prior and Informed Consent obtained:

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Asia Pulp and Paper is recognized as one of the world’s foremost forest destroyers due to its 30-year legacy of egregious  social and environmental impacts resulting from its insatiable acquisition of land and conversion of diverse rainforests to monoculture pulp plantations across Indonesia.

Following decades of public campaigning by RAN and allies, widespread community opposition and pressure from its customers and investors, in February 2013 APP announced a much-welcomed new Forest Conservation Policy. The policy sets out the companies commitments to reform its forestry practices and to address its long history of land grabs and human rights violations, climate pollution, deforestation, and wildlife habitat destruction across its 2.6 million hectares of concessions.

Our study is a contribution to ongoing independent monitoring of the company’s performance. The study was submitted as input into an evaluation of APP’s progress against its Forest Conservation Policy commitments being conducted by the Rainforest Alliance.

The community based research at the core of this report were part of a field based survey to investigate Asia Pulp and Paper’s (APP) performance, provide input into the evaluation of APP’s progress on fulfilling its social responsibility commitments, and  recommendations to the company. The study finds little on-the-ground evidence to date that APP is taking sufficient action to resolve land conflict issues.

With the exception of progress in two communities where it is piloting conflict resolution approaches, there has been little change for communities embroiled in land disputes with the company. Hundreds of land conflicts remain and APP has been failing to involve affected communities in giving free, prior and informed consent to new projects or  involving affected communities and other key stakeholders in the identification, analysis and resolution of land  conflicts. Given how far the company still has to go to demonstrate and verify that satisfactory changes and remedies are happening on the ground, it’s still too soon for pulp and paper customers or investors to resume business with APP. The study suggests that potential business partners must scrutinize APP’s performance and require demonstrable and independently verified social and environmental outcomes from the company as a prior condition of business.

 The study, which was initiated by a coalition of 11 Indonesian and International NGOs and community-based organizations, conducted interviews with village leaders and community members from 17 communities impacted by APP and its affiliates. Communities were visited in the Indonesian provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan between May and September 2014.

Commenting on the coalition’s findings, Patrick Anderson from Forest Peoples Programme said:

“APP still has a tremendous amount of work to do before we can say that their commitments are yielding satisfactory remedies to conflicts on the ground. We’re very concerned that at least one of the the two land conflict agreements that have been reached did not follow all the requirements in APP's policy on respecting community rights and that there are many hundreds of conflicts with communities remaining to be resolved. Currently APP is failing to effectively involve communities and other key stakeholders in developing action plans and efforts to scale up its conflict resolution. If the situation doesn't change, we’re concerned that the company’s efforts will not secure durable and equitable agreements needed at scale.”

Aidil Fitri, campaign director at Wahana Bumi Hijau stated that “our research on APP’s implementation of its Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) commitment relating to the new Oki Pulp Mill, one of the world’s largest, finds that the company has not gotten FPIC from at least one rights holding community and that the company has started construction of Oki Pulp Mill before the FPIC process was completed. We see this as a clear violation of FPIC and the company’s own policy.”

“If APP wants to regain the trust and business of customers and investors, it must improve transparency, work more effectively with stakeholders and prove that it has sufficiently implemented its commitments to the point where it can demonstrate widespread and positive impacts on the ground,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “Because the company’s implementation is still at an early stage there is a clear need for continued independent monitoring and verification of the company’s performance. In order for APP to scale up the resolution of land conflicts and prevent further deforestation in the remaining natural forests in their concessions, the company will need to give back more of the land it is currently using for pulp wood plantations to meet community livelihood needs and land claims.”

“Our report provides detailed recommendations for how APP can address current problems and how it can ensure that the foundation that it has established leads to positive outcomes for communities and forests and delivers the results APP has promised. The study suggests to buyers and others that it’s still too soon to tell whether APP’s promises will become a reality,” Cortesi said.

The full report, available to download here, includes a table outlining the research findings from each community, and the executive summary and recommendations, available to download here, provides an overview of the full report’s findings and detailed recommendations of improvements APP can make.

 


Toba Pulp Lestari: In depth on one of the worst actors in pulp and paper

Indonesian pulp and paper giant Toba Pulp Lestari has been operating recklessly in North Sumatra for years. The company's mill has been poisoning communities and disrupting life and livelihoods for the local people who call this area home. The mill, and it’s operators, are responsible for horrific land conflicts between the company and villagers who hold traditional land rights to the company’s concessions.


These communities, whose land is protected by customary rights under Indonesian law, rely on these forests for their life and livelihoods. As reported by RAN’s on-the-ground partner, Kelompok Studi dan Pengembangan Prakarsa Masyarakat, well over 17,000 hectares of natural forest have been destroyed, impacting or displacing over 13,000 Indigenous people.

These communities are fighting back, and at least 59 activists have been arrested for resisting Toba Pulp Lestari’s continued expansion and destruction. In the past few years, land conflict has only escalated between villagers and Toba Pulp Lestari employees over the forest area. Meetings with government representatives and Toba Pulp Lestari management have brought no results, and local villagers have resorted to protests and blockades of company operations in order to protect the forests.

The behavior of Toba Pulp Lestari employees shows clear disregard for the livelihoods of local people. In February 2013, local farmers from Pandumaan and Sipituhuta Villages caught Toba Pulp Lestari employees entering their forest areas and cutting down frankincense trees. Instead of apprehending those causing the destruction, resulting clashes between farmers and the employees led to the arrests of 31 farmers.

The harvest of frankincense is essential to the local economy. These communities, who have farmed this land for generations, extract the frankincense without destroying the trees in order to maintain the health of the forest and keep this vital source of income intact for future generations. When the forests are wiped out for pulp plantations, Toba Pulp Lestari destroys not only the livelihoods of the community, their childrens’ livelihoods, and the ecosystem, but it destroys their culture as well.

Local communities have opposed the mill since it began operations in North Sumatra in 1989 due to the rainforest destruction, land grabbing and toxics pollution central to the company’s business model. In 1990, 10 elderly women from Sugapa Village were arrested for pulling up and destroying eucalyptus plantings on their traditional land. Protests by the local community escalated in 1998 and temporarily shut down the mill. But in recent years, the company has changed its name from PT Inti Indorayon Utama to PT Toba Pulp Lestari and reopened the mill; it is now in the process of expanding its destructive operations further into pristine rainforest. Along with name changes, the company has changed affiliations multiple times in order to hide its destruction. The company was formerly affiliated with pulp and paper giant, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) and its parent Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), and is still controlled by notorious Indonesian business tycoon Sukanto Tanoto through holding companies.  

This may seem like a conflict far away from those of us in the Americas, Europe, or Australia, but it’s closer than one would think. A wide variety of consumer products contain pulp from rainforests like those in North Sumatra, including paper, food, cosmetics, household goods—even clothing. This pulp, and the conflict that produced it, is sold on store shelves in your neighborhood - unmarked and unidentifiable.

Unless Toba Pulp Lestari respects the rights of the Indigenous people, including the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), conflicts will only continue. And while Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has acknowledged the customary forest rights of the communities, Toba Pulp Lestari’s concessions and operations continue to undermine the ability of local people to access and manage their own forests.

We plan to keep you up to date on this conflict and bring more information continue to explore and expose the pulp supply chains threatening global rainforests.... stay tuned.


Industry’s Dreams, Indigenous Nightmares: A Visit to the Alberta Tar Sands

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In late June, a team of RAN staff travelled to Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada to participate in the Tar Sands Healing Walk, which is organized and hosted by members of the local First Nations Communities. Walking amidst the tar sands destruction was a humbling and powerful experience.

This blog post is one of a series, sharing our impressions and reflections.

Our journey in Alberta began in Fort McMurray, a boomtown where the international oil industry has set up a base of operations from which to conduct tar sands extraction. The scale of the industry anchored in Fort McMurray is difficult to overstate: the town sits on one of the world’s largest oil deposits, the Athabasca tar sands. The extraction of Alberta’s tar sands constitutes the world’s biggest industrial project, and massive mining operations directly abut Fort McMurray. 

We landed at the brand new Fort McMurray international airport, where workers were putting the finishing touches on the terminal’s décor, as if the place had been quickly constructed in anticipation of our arrival. Immediately, signs of the tar sands-driven boom were apparent; gift shops featured oil sands tee shirts and advertisements announced new direct international flights to Las Vegas, enabling well-paid oil workers to quickly spend their paychecks on gambling and entertainment.

industry_mags_600x416.jpgMore than 80% of Canada’s tar sand workers are male, and Fort McMurray was full of bulky guys. On the plane, I overheard a pair of oil workers talking about how they had gained over 100 pounds while living in company-provided housing at a tar sands refinery, a by-product of boredom and sedentary machine-operation. As if to justify the weight gain, the workers then turned their conversation to the “couple of houses” each had bought with their tar sands earnings. 

Many of Fort McMurray’s workers seemed focused on buying real estate with oil profits; the town was awash in oil industry publications that combined breathless accounts of lucrative tar sands expansion, advertisements for mining companies, and tips on homeownership and real estate. According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, capital investments in the Canadian tar sands have jumped more than 400% since 2006, stretching the municipality’s resources and skyrocketing population and property values in Fort McMurray. Expansion, growth, money, and oil are the watchwords of the day.

Ft._Mac_600x660.jpgOn the edge of town we visited the Oil Sands Discovery Centre, a shrine to the technological process of extracting and refining the tar sands. Sponsored by the Albertan government with heavy support from industry, the Discovery Centre was most remarkable for what it was not included in its displays. As in Fort McMurray and the tar sands industry more broadly, the Oil Sands Discovery Centre lacked any acknowledgement of the climate impacts stemming from the tar sands. It was as if the oil industry town existed in an alternative reality where climate change did not exist and endless expansion of tar sands mining was completely unopposed by the global community.  This was a step beyond climate denialism; it was an outright refusal to even recognize that the concept of climate change exists.

Irony_At_the_Oil_Sands_Discovery_Centre_400x600.JPGIn place of the gaping hole where climate concerns should have been, the Oil Sand Discovery Centre touted Fort McMurray’s incredibly ironic ban on single-use plastic bags, and offered an appeasing video insinuating that oil industry reclamation efforts are akin to the millennia of sacred land stewardship practiced by Indigenous First Nations groups. While we immediately smelled a rat in the oil industries claims of reclamation, it wasn’t until we joined the Athabasca Chipeywan and Mikisew Cree First Nations that the abject hideousness of industry claims came into focus.

When we left the world of Fort McMurray’s oil settlers and joined First Nation host communities at the Tars Sands Healing walk, what we heard and saw laid bare the poisonous horror that lurks beneath the sheen of Alberta’s lucrative tar sands boom and industry’s expansionist dreams.

Part Two, "Indigenous Nightmares", will be posted next week. 

 

Photos: 

1. Visitors at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre in Fort McMurray.

2. Oil industry magazines predict growth for Fort McMurray and tar sands mining.

3. Fort McMurray is dwarfed by nearby tar sands mines.

4. An ironic sign at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre.

 


"Without clean water, we cannot survive."

RAN is proud to be an original supporter of ClearWater, which has launched an incredible new website today. Here are a few words from our friends at Amazon Watch about the important work ClearWater is doing and how you can get involved. "Without clean water, we cannot survive," Emergildo Criollo told me recently. You may have heard of Emergildo. An indigenous leader of the Cofan Nation in Ecuador's northern Amazon, he has been a relentless advocate for his people, speaking out about oil giant Chevron's toxic legacy in his territory. But today, even as he continues the fight to hold Chevron accountable, Emergildo isn't waiting for a cleanup that seems always on the horizon. Emergildo is taking matters into his own hands, helping to bring clean water to thousands of Indigenous people who have suffered without for decades. Rainforest Action Network is proud to stand with Emergildo, and the other Indigenous leaders who are part of an effort to address that dire need. It's called The ClearWater Project.

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ClearWater began with a big goal: provide safe, sustainable access to clean water for every Indigenous family in the region, whose ancestral waterways have been poisoned by oil production and ensuing industrialization. In just two years, ClearWater has installed more than 500 family-sized rainwater harvesting and filtration systems that serve thousands of people in communities that have long suffered an epidemic of cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses that numerous health studies in the region blame on a lack of access to safe sources of water for drinking, bathing, and cooking. Our efforts have been able to make this impact because, from the beginning, ClearWater has been a collaborative partnership between the five indigenous nationalities here—the Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Kichwa, and Waorani—and international supporters, such as water engineers, humanitarians, activists, and philanthropists. ClearWater believes in collaborative, integrative, community-led solutions, where someone like Emergildo is coordinating amongst the different Indigenous nationalities to install new water systems, local youth are using GPS to map their biological and cultural resources, and frontline leaders are learning new media techniques to broadcast their concerns to the world. Clean water, health, and dignity. From this foundation, Emergildo and the Indigenous people of Ecuador's northern Amazon are building a movement for rainforest protection and cultural survival. I’m proud that Rainforest Action Network is a founding partner in this project, and I hope you’ll join us, too. Explore ClearWater's impact by navigating around this cutting-edge interactive map designed by another Amazon Watch family member, Gregor MacLennan, now Digital Democracy's Program Director. Learn more about ClearWater on our website or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
han-headshot   Han Shan is an Amazon Watch Advisory Board Member.

PepsiCo Says No More Land Grabbing; Now Needs To Cut Conflict Palm Oil and Deforestation

PepsiCo Land GrabsToday, food and beverage giant PepsiCo declared that it will no longer accept land grabbing in its global supply chains. Land grabbing occurs when Indigenous Peoples or local communities are kicked off their land so corporations can make profits from growing palm oil, sugar, and other crops.

This announcement comes after significant consumer pressure from Oxfam's Behind the Brand Campaign and PepsiCo investors who called on the company to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for land grabbing.

The adoption of its new Land Policy is a positive step forward for PepsiCo, but we know all too well that actions are stronger than words. PepsiCo must take real action to deal with its land grabbing problem. Given that land grabbing is also a symptom of PepsiCo's deforestation and Conflict Palm Oil problems, it must now make the next bold move and implement a responsible palm oil sourcing and no deforestation policy.

PepsiCo is a huge company, operating in over 200 countries and earning $65.6 billion in revenue each year. Its well known brands, including Pepsi, Doritos, Ruffles, Cheetos and Quaker, are found in homes around the world. RAN has exposed the dangers of Conflict Palm Oil and the fact that it ends up in chips, cookies and granola bars made by PepsiCo. PepsiCo sources its palm oil from companies like Cargill, Wilmar and AAK in Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico.

Despite the growing concern over Conflict Palm Oil, PepsiCo has not adopted a responsible palm oil policy to remove deforestation and social conflict from its global supply chain. Instead of taking responsibility for its supply chain, the company relies solely on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO continues to certify companies that are destroying rainforests and peatlands and causing high greenhouse gas emissions. It also has a poor track record of enforcing its human and labor rights standards, and resolving disputes between certified companies and local communities over land grabbing.

PepsiCo cannot rely on the RSPO.

To address these problems fully, PepsiCo must join other leading consumer companies and adopt responsible palm oil sourcing and no deforestation policies and cut Conflict Palm Oil from its products.

You can help pressure PepsiCo to tackle its deforestation and Conflict Palm Oil problems next.

On May 7th, PepsiCo will need to face up to its shareholders who will be casting their vote on a deforestation resolution at its annual general meeting. With your help, we’ll convince PepsiCo to do the right thing for the forests and the people that depend on them for their survival. Add your voice here.

Banner photo via C.J. Chanco Inset photo via Oxfam


Mars Steps Up!

RAG_marschicago1We have great news—your actions are delivering REAL victories for rainforests. After nearly a year of negotiations, Mars has announced that it will only source palm oil from companies that are not destroying rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands or causing human rights abuses!

Even better, Mars has set a deadline that its suppliers must meet to keep its business. The company is demanding that its suppliers, like Cargill, adopt the same strong commitments and only supply it with responsible palm oil. If Cargill fails to fall in line, it will be dropped as a supplier. This is what driving transformation in a supply chain truly means.

This would not have happened without all of the wonderful RAN activists who have taken action. Your letters to Mars on Valentine’s Day, phone calls, posts, tweets and, for some, your visit with Strawberry the orangutan to Mars headquarters made this possible. We exposed Conflict Palm Oil in Mars' supply chain and today the family-run company has taken the first step to deal with its Conflict Palm Oil problem. Now it's time for Mars to move beyond words with a thorough and rapid implementation plan for removing Conflict Palm Oil from its products.

Getting Mars on board is another step forward for Indonesia and Malaysia’s rainforests and the people and wildlife that call them home. The brands we’re taking on are huge, but it’s you and your friends that have the real power. It’s because of you that we have power in the negotiation room and are winning!

In the face of growing criticism over their use of Conflict Palm Oil, a number of the Snack Food 20 companies have taken action. Mars, Nestle, Unilever, Kellogg and Mondelez are all delivering the same message to their suppliers, like Cargill. The writing is on the wall: Cargill needs to get in line with other traders like Wilmar International and Golden Agri Resources (GAR) who have set new benchmarks for responsible palm oil production and trade or risk losing some of its most important customers.

We’re winning—now there's one more thing to do to help turn this commitment into real action. Post this message on Mars' Facebook wall: Hey Mars, thanks for stepping up to protect rainforests and people from Conflict Palm Oil. We need Mars to put its words into action with a thorough and rapid implementation plan for removing Conflict Palm Oil from its products. The power is #InYourPalm. We’re on a roll and we have big plans that we’ll share with you very, very soon.


Pulp and Paper Giant APRIL Rebuked, Put On Notice

 interiorThe World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a group of 200 international corporations who claim commitments to sustainability, has put APRIL, Indonesia’s second largest and now most destructive pulp and paper company, on notice. APRIL has been placed on probation and the WBCSD will revoke its membership unless it can prove that it has ended its long-standing practices of rainforest destruction. The WBCSD, which counts PepsiCo and Monsanto as members, isn’t your usual advocacy group. It’s essentially a club of large multi-national corporations. To have them find that one of their own is so bad they are expelled sends the unequivocal message that APRIL is a rouge company. It’s also a clear signal to businesses that buy pulp and paper or finance the company that they should sever ties with APRIL as well as the web of companies controlled by Sukanto Tanoto, APRIL’s notorious owner. However, it is unclear whether this condemnation will be sufficient to push an end to the egregious practices of APRIL and its sister companies. RAN worked with WWF and Greenpeace last year to convince the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to disassociate itself from APRIL due to its destructive social and environmental practices. Unfortunately, the FSC action failed to achieve any major changes from APRIL, which is still logging and converting to monoculture plantations an estimated 12,000 acres of rainforest a month, often on land stolen from local communities. APRIL has 12 months to comply with the WBCSD Roadmap, which outlines proposed steps to end forest conversion and to conserve natural forests. If APRIL and its sister companies follow the principles of the Roadmap that the WBCSD has laid out – which include an immediate cessation of logging of rainforests – it will be a good start. But the WBCSD provisions do not go nearly far enough to ensure responsible forestry practices by APRIL. The scope must apply to APRIL and its sister companies and their supply chain partners. Suppliers and their performance must be independently verified. These companies must address the myriad of social issues, land conflicts, and human rights violations that they and their suppliers are responsible for. They must end any further incursions on carbon-rich peatlands. And they must address the legacy of negative environmental and social impacts, properly resolve land and social conflicts, and restore key ecological and hydrological areas that have been destroyed. APRIL has a long history of broken promises, forest destruction, and human rights abuses. Clearing intact rainforests to feed its pulp mills appears to be its key business model, with 60% of its fiber supply coming directly from the rainforest. This is a clear signal from the business community that APRIL’s current practices cannot continue. This must stop now. Twelve months is too long. For years, APRIL has offered only broken promises. Until APRIL can come into compliance with responsible forest practices, even beyond what is outlined in the WBCSD’s Roadmap, companies must cancel their contracts with this notorious forest destroyer. To read the full text of the WBCSD complaint, click here.

Lumber Liquidators: Trading Siberian Tigers, Organized Crime, and Illegal Logging for Cheap Flooring

[caption id="attachment_22664" align="alignleft" width="300"]Extinction for cheap flooring? Hell no. Extinction for cheap flooring? Hell no.[/caption] A shocking new report shows direct ties between hardwood flooring giant Lumber Liquidators, organized crime, and the illegal logging of the habitat of the last 450 Siberian Tigers. This shameless disregard for the last few remaining members of the species in pursuit of cheap flooring is not only disgusting, it's illegal under American law and has prompted a federal investigation. Take Action: Tell Lumber Liquidators to immediately eliminate illegal hardwoods from their products. Posing undercover as large scale lumber buyers, RAN's awesome and much admired allies at the Environmental Investigation Agency infiltrated the worst of the worst of a shadowy network of illegal logging operations in Russia's Far East and tracked their shipments back to their biggest customer, the largest retailer of flooring in the United States, Lumber Liquidators. The remote area where this rapid deforestation is occurring is the last frontier of old growth hardwoods in the region and the last habitat in Russia for the highly endangered Siberian Tiger. Thanks to the US Lacey Act, amended in 2008 to ban the trade of illegal wood and forest products, this case is now under active investigation by the US Department of Justice. For the amazing backstory of how this came to be, watch EIA's video (below) and then read their recently released report Liquidating the Forests: Hardwood Flooring, Organized Crime and the World's Last Siberian Tigers. In order to retain even a shred of credibility, Lumber Liquidators needs to immediately and irrevocably take action to improve due diligence and bring itself into compliance with the Lacey Act. It must eliminate forest illegality, destruction and human rights violations from its supply chain. Lumber Liquidators must cut supply chain ties with Xingjia, the supplier which is the source of this illegal hardwood, and adopt and implement a comprehensive procurement policy that ensures the company will never again be involved in destroying old growth and endangered forests, abuse of human rights and run away climate change. The time for action is now—add your name here to send your message directly to Lumber Liquidators.

//www.youtube.com/embed/UKqwMH2N0vc


Our Big Finale! (Or is it?)

RAG_CampbellsVisitRawThis is it! We’ve reached the final stop on our “The Power Is In Your Palm” Tour! This morning, I accompanied Strawberry, the orphaned orangutan from Indonesia, on her final two Snack Food 20 visits, to the headquarters of Grupo Bimbo (makers of Sara Lee Bread) in Horsham, PA and Campbell Soup Company in Camden, NJ. Campbell’s is a major U.S based global food company that uses palm oil. Over the past 6 months we have met with Campbell's but the company has not made any commitments to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products. Can you help us close the tour with a bang and make sure Campbell’s feel the pressure today? Grupo Bimbo is a major global food company that controls popular brands, including Sara Lee Breads and Bimbo cookies and baked goods, and uses palm oil. Over the past 6 months Grupo Bimbo has failed to respond to our requests for meetings. Last week the company finally agreed to meet with us to discuss the urgent need to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products. Will you echo our demands to Campbell’s and Grupo Bimbo right now? Let’s make a call for change so loud the companies can't ignore it! 1. Post this message on Campbell’s Facebook wall: Hey Campbell’s, I won't feed my family products that contain Conflict Palm Oil. Demand responsible palm oil from your suppliers and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products. The power is #InYourPalm. 2. Post this message on Sara Lee's Facebook wall: Hey Grupo Bimbo, I’m standing with orangutans, and I can’t stand by brands like Sara Lee that use Conflict Palm Oil. Demand responsible palm oil from your suppliers and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products. The power is #InYourPalm. 3. Tweet at Campbell’s: Hey @CampbellSoupCo, I can’t stand by brands that use Conflict #PalmOil. The power is #InYourPalm. At the Campbell’s and Grupo Bimbo's headquarters, Strawberry and her friends from the New Jersey Palm Oil Action Team gave representatives of both companies a copy of the RAN report Conflict Palm Oil: How US Snack Food Brands are Contributing to Orangutan Extinction, Climate Change and Human Rights Violations and outlined RAN's demand to cut Conflict Palm Oil. Thank you for all of your amazing support to pressure the Snack Food 20 to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from our food these past two months. It’s been an incredible, busy campaign push that we never could have accomplished without all of you! But this is just the beginning. We will be in touch soon as the next Palm Oil Action Team adventure unfolds... Jess Serrante

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