New report evaluates ten of some of the largest consumer goods companies on their full impact on forests and communities in Indonesian Borneo
San Francisco, CA – Amidst announcements from multinational corporations on their renewed commitments to climate action and in the lead-up to COP26 in Glasgow, a new evaluation by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) calls out ten of some of the largest consumer goods companies for failing to disclose their full impact on Indonesia’s last remaining forests and the communities which are local to them.
The report finds that these ten well-known household brands have been complicit in the destruction of over 700,000 hectares –– roughly the size of 1,750,000 football fields –– of tropical rainforests in the Indonesian provinces of North and East Kalimantan due to their sourcing from palm oil, pulp, and forestry companies operating in the regions. The report details the carbon-rich forests and peatlands that have been lost over the past decade due to the brands’ failure to implement their “No Deforestation” commitments and shows that over 8.25 million hectares of critical rainforest remain at risk in two Indonesian provinces alone.
“The world’s leading scientists have called our current moment in the climate crisis a “Code Red for Humanity,” and yet the urge for corporate profits continues to drive the destruction of the world’s last remaining forests,” said Gemma Tillack, Forest Policy Director for Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “Multinational consumer brands, like Procter & Gamble, and their unethical suppliers, hide behind corporate loopholes and empty promises to continue a devastating cycle of destruction. The last intact forests on the planet are on the chopping block, all while communities that have managed these forests for generations are seeing their land rights stripped away and their human rights attacked.”
The report calls on Colgate-Palmolive, Ferrero, Kao, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Nissin Foods, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever to disclose their global “forest footprint”. While the term “forest footprint” has been used before, here RAN uses it to mean the full accounting of the forests and communities that a corporation has already impacted and could impact through future expansion of industrial logging and agriculture. In disclosing this, a company must also describe the set of actions taken to account for the entire footprint and develop strategic interventions to prevent further deforestation and rights violations, while also remedying past harm. Three companies –– Unilever, Nestlé, and Colgate-Palmolive –– have each published limited forest footprints for regions in northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
The evaluation focused specifically on North and East Kalimantan, where roughly two-thirds of the remaining forests in the regions are at risk. The rainforests that stretch across North and East Kalimantan on the Indonesian island of Borneo are some of the last intact forests in Indonesia. Over two million hectares of forests remain on community and customary lands in North and East Kalimantan, where Indigenous communities have lived in and protected them for generations. The rights of many communities to protect and manage their forests are not being upheld as their lands have been allocated to forestry and plantation companies for exploitation.
“In the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, there’s a real opportunity for collaborative action to prevent forest and peatland destruction and to secure land rights for communities. Brands must play an active role in preventing human rights and land rights violations in new frontiers of forestry and plantation expansion, including across North and East Kalimantan,” said Tillack.
*Editor’s Note: The full evaluation’s findings are summarized in the report titled, Keep Borneo’s Forests Standing: Indicative Forest Footprint Evaluation of Brands Driving Deforestation in the Indonesian Provinces of North and East Kalimantan, Borneo, which can be found with a summary of the report and individual company responses to the evaluation at www.ran.org/borneo_forest_footprint