Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – Today at COP27 the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition announced that it had more than $1.5bn in corporate spending committed to the initiative.
The Rainforest Action Network issued this statement in response:
“We have lived through decades of broken corporate and governmental promises to end deforestation. And our field investigations show that on the eve of the COP, Nestlé and Unilever have failed stop deforestation and carbon bombs in their palm oil supply chains in Indonesia. What’s needed now is the elimination of emissions from deforestation as well as conversion of natural ecosystems, not more delays and false solutions like carbon offsets.
“A scale-up of finance is desperately needed to end deforestation through meaningful interventions, starting with securing the rights of communities to manage their customary forests that are the key to stabilizing the climate. Instead of funding real solutions that will actually decarbonize the economy, these corporations have sunk 1.5 billion into LEAF –– another initiative that sounds good but is nothing more than window dressing whilst business-as-usual sourcing continues unabated during a climate crisis.”
Corporate donors (including Unilever, Nestle, Walmart and Blackrock) to LEAF must not be celebrated for funding so-called High Integrity Offset programs, especially when they have failed to end their role in driving deforestation and human rights abuse and make actual, absolute emission reductions where they are produced in their forest-risk commodity supply chains, or in the case of investors like Blackrock, in the operations of their clients.”
RAN highlights reports that there is growing disappointment and concerns amongst Indigenous Peoples that LEAF may threaten, not secure, legal rights to their forests and create a new market for “blood carbon”. LEAF simply lacks the safeguards needed for securing and protecting applicable forest tenure rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. The claims made by LEAF that it is committed to secure forest tenure rights in the projects it funds, and regions it operates in, are nothing more than lip service. LEAF’s failure to address the concerns raised by Indigenous Peoples and human rights organizations remains one of a number of reasons why the scheme lacks a social license.