Activists Organize to End Big Business of Burning as Arson in Brazil and Indonesia Destroy Rainforests

Environmental NGOs and climate activists host Fires Week of Action targeting major brands and financiers as the world’s most vital rainforests are intentionally burned for profit

What: Week of direct and online actions, rallies, and teach-ins to target financial actors and end rainforest fires.

When: Monday, August, 31st – Friday, September 4th, 2020

Who: Environmental organizations Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Friends of the Earth, and SumOfUs. 

Where: Via Zoom, register here for the online rally, August 31st:

For Interviews:

Indonesian leaders and experts:  Mohammad Jais, Community Leader of Lubuk Mandarsah & Chairman of the Sekato Jaya Farmers Group and Syahrudin, Activist & Community Representative of Bagan Melibur Village, Pulau Padang, Piau. Please contact to schedule an interview.

Brazilian leaders and experts: Sonia Guajajara, Coordinator of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and Marcio Astrini, Executive Secretary, Climate Observatory. Please contact to schedule an interview.

Coalition campaigners: Brihannala Morgan, Senior Forest Campaigner, RAN,, Gaurav Madan, Senior Forests and Lands Campaigner, Friends of the Earth US,, and Pendle Marshall-Hallmark, Climate Campaigner, Amazon Watch,


Last year, environmental organizations Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network (RAN),  Friends of the Earth, and SumOfUs hosted the first annual Rainforest Fires Week of Action after a devastating burning season that destroyed 11 million hectares in Brazil and Bolivia and nearly 2 million hectares in Indonesia. Consumer companies, banks, and investors are complicit in the destruction of globally important rainforests, the theft of Indigenous Peoples and communities’ lands, and the destruction of our climate

The Amazon rainforest is facing the worst burning season in a decade. According to Greenpeace, Indigenous Peoples faced a 77 percent increase in fires on their territories in July. According to the MAAP project, over 500 illegal major fires in the Brazilian Amazon have occurred in 2020, but with a significant shift in the nature of these fires. Although deforested areas continue to burn – 84 percent of 2020’s fires are taking place in recently deforested areas – 11 percent of the fires are occurring in rainforests. This development signals a grim turning point for the Amazon, as primary rainforests do not burn under normal climatic conditions.

Indonesian provinces have already declared a state of emergency as toxic haze from intentionally lit fires intensifies the situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. An annual crisis, much of the burning to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations occurs on carbon-rich peatlands. As a result, in 2019, the fires in Indonesia released roughly 708 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

The agribusiness industry is behind the majority of deforestation and the burning season that follows it. The fires are lit deliberately, to clear land for the production of commodities such as palm oil, soy, cattle, and pulp & paper. Global financial actors then provide the billions of dollars needed to produce those commodities. Deforestation remains the second biggest driver of climate change, behind fossil fuels.

Despite the fact that most of them have climate and human rights commitments, financiers BlackRock, MUFG, BNI, and Santander are bankrolling deforestation all over the world. Brands, including those from the Forest Positive Coalition of Consumer Goods Forum are also complicit, including Procter & Gamble, Mondelēz, Mars, Nestlé, and Unilever. 

About the Coalition Members:

Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with Indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) preserves forests, protects the climate, and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns. RAN pressure tactics convince large corporations to develop policies to end their involvement in rainforest destruction by challenging corporate power and exposing institutional systems of injustice in order to drive positive systemic change.

SumofUs is a community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations. Together, our community of millions acts as a global consumer watchdog – running and winning campaigns to hold the biggest companies in the world accountable.

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.