2015: Driving Change to the Forest Floor

posted by Ginger Cassady

Celebrating 30 years of challenging corporate power, 2015 was a pivotal year for Rainforest Action Network. This year proved to be a unique moment in RAN’s forest program history, as we deepened the work from recent years past to drive real change to the forest floor.

With help from supporters like you, we achieved major new policies from companies in 2014. We successfully got those paper commitments from some of the most egregious players in the palm oil and pulp and paper industries, and in 2015, we held those companies accountable to their promises.

In 2015, we stood in solidarity with communities and workers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Liberia. We called out some of the biggest corporate laggards on their greenwashing, and we demanded that critical ecosystems be left standing and intact. It was a big year!

Our achievements in 2015 are the direct result of the unrelenting campaigning and tireless support from people all over the world. Millions of emails, thousands of phone calls, hundreds of actions, dozens of high-impact media stories and countless hours of intensive, behind-the-scenes corporate negotiations and stockholder engagement finally convinced key laggards and held some of the biggest multinational corporations in the world accountable to cut their ties to forest destruction, human rights abuses, exploitative labor and carbon pollution.

We’ve got a lot to celebrate, and a lot of work to look forward to in 2016. Some of the major milestones RAN’s forest program achieved this year include:

  • Demanding more from APRIL! Creative, non-stop campaigning from RAN and our ally organizations resulted in a strong commitment from the second largest pulp and paper producer in Indonesia—Asian Pacific Resources International Holdings, or APRIL—after they released an inadequate policy in 2014. 

  • Getting forest destruction Out of Fashion! Through your support of the Out of Fashion campaign, we successfully pressured Ralph Lauren to come to the negotiation table, and are helping the company develop a strong policy that will have a powerful impact on the communities and forests of Indonesia and help the company avoid egregious sources of forest-based fabric in the future.

  • Cutting Conflict Palm Oil! The entire Snack Food 20 felt the pressure this year when RAN released our Snack Food 20 scorecard. From America’s most popular instant noodle brand, Maruchan, to global snack food giant PepsiCo, you helped us keep the pressure on these laggards and demand that they do more to cut their ties with Conflict Palm Oil.

  • Holding the line for truly systemic change! In an OpEd in the UK Guardian, Executive Director Lindsey Allen clearly outlined the connection between the disastrous forest fires in Indonesia and rampant palm oil and pulp plantation development. Lindsey drew attention to the catastrophic effects burning forests have on our global climate and how this issue touches down everywhere—from the grocery stores of America to the communities of Indonesia.

Connected by our global climate and our shared human and labor rights, we all have a role to play in stopping the destruction of forests, peatlands, and communities and workers’ lives. We all deserve responsibly produced and sourced commodities more than corporations deserve their astronomical profits. We are so inspired by the work you’ve helped us accomplish in 2015, and with your help, we’ll continue toward a collective better future in 2016!