To: The Consumer Goods Forum, BlackRock, MUFG, BNI, Santander, Procter & Gamble, Mondelēz, Mars, Nestlé, and Unilever
The world watches in horror and outrage as some of the largest remaining forested areas on the planet – from the Amazon to Indonesia to the Arctic – burn. Such widespread deforestation is the second largest contributor to the climate crisis and is being driven by industrial agricultural commodities.
Ten years ago, many brands, banks, and investors, including the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), made a commitment to end deforestation by 2020, with an emphasis on high-risk commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil, and pulp and paper. These commitments represented a recognition that deforestation is a serious environmental and social concern, and a major contributor to the climate crisis – the greatest existential threat to humanity and the planet. As we enter yet another new year, it is clear that these companies will miss their own deadlines entirely, it is clear that corporations are on pace to miss the goal entirely.
The current pandemic underscores the urgency of protecting rainforests. The noxious haze from burning rainforests hospitalizes hundreds of thousands of people due to respiratory illness each year under normal circumstances—a situation poised to be a public health catastrophe given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with Indigenous Peoples, workers, and local communities experiencing the worst impacts. These fires are intentional and preventable, and companies that continue to provide funding and contracts to those responsible for the fires will be held publicly accountable for this unfolding environmental, land rights, and human rights crisis.
We, the undersigned, call on your institution to take bold and urgent action to halt deforestation and redouble efforts on forest protection and ecosystem restoration, species loss, and human rights abuses within supply chains and financing portfolios. It is time to fully deliver on your commitments and hold to account companies that continue to intentionally set fires and perpetuate deforestation, land grabbing, and human rights abuses against Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and workers.