An investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation found that some workers at tea estates certified by Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade in Sri Lanka suffer from illegal wage deductions and take home as little as 14 U.S. cents a day. Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade said they were investigating as deducting wages without workers' consent was not allowed by law and contravened their standards. Unilever said it was "deeply concerned" and would investigate. Major tea company Tetley, owned by India's Tata Global Beverages, said it was in touch with the Rainforest Alliance regarding the findings.
Fashion designer, Stella McCartney, launched #THERESHEGROWS on Instagram to raise awareness of the endangered Leuser ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia.
The campaign supports Canopy’s work to conserve Leuser, the last stronghold for orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers to co-exist in the wild. Canopy works alongside local and international NGOs and local decision-makers to protect the 6.5 million-acres rainforest, encouraging a conservation-based economy in the region.
The Norwegian parliament voted to make Norway the world's first country to ban its biofuel industry from importing deforestation-linked palm oil starting in 2020. A 2017 report by Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) showed palm oil-based biofuels have a more detrimental effect on climate change than using fossil fuels. The resolution calls on the government "to formulate a comprehensive proposal for policies and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk."
Plantation firms like Asia Pulp & Paper and Toba Pulp Lestari have a history land tenure issues, but more recently they have pledged to eliminate the practice from their supply chains. Some conflicts, however, remain unaddressed and a new online platform launched by the Rainforest Action Network shows that communities are still feeling the effects of losing traditional forests to make way for plantations.
Hivos and Greenpeace Netherlands, together with indigenous groups from the Amazon rainforest, are launching a new campaign against deforestation called ‘All eyes on the Amazon’. Studies show that indigenous communities living in rainforests are crucial to the sustainable protection of these areas. This programme will aim to give indigenous communities the tools, knowledge and contacts to combat deforestation. It will also use satellite technology and drone photography to give indigenous groups evidence of the deforestation that is occurring.
The Brazilian government has revised upward its estimate for the extent of Amazon rainforest destroyed last year. Figures released last week by Brazil’s National Space Research Agency (INPE) put Amazon deforestation at 6,207 square kilometres for the year ended July 31, 2015. That represents an increase of 6.5 percent relative to the estimate of 5,831 square kilometres published last December.
A recent analysis by Monitoring the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) finds that deforestation is pressing further into a protected area in central Peru. Located in central Peru's Amazon rainforest, El Sira is home to several indigenous groups, as well as endangered species found nowhere else and surrounded by deforestation for cropland, cattle pasture, and gold mining. According to the analysis, these activities have invaded the northern portion of El Sira reserve, with 1,600 hectares of forest cleared since 2013.
Norway is now the first country committed to the zero deforestation, which precludes deforestation in public procurement. Any companies related to deforestation will not be able to have contract with the Norwegian government. For crops associated with large-scale rainforest destruction like soy, timber, palm oil and beef, if they are to be procured by the government, they will have to be produced in a sustainable way. In addition, now there are recommendations for Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GFPG), the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, to consider biodiversity when making investment decisions.
The Norwegian parliament have announced that their public procurement policy will be going deforestation-free. Norway is recognised as a leader in funding forest conservation around the world and are now the first country to commit to zero deforestation. Nils Hermann Ranum form the Rainforest Foundation Norway commended the pledge and acknowledged it as a victory in the fight to protect rainforests.
Greenpeace have released a publication outlining the economic exploitation issues of the Amazon rainforest and is demanding that the Brazilian government cancel hydropower projects such as the São Luiz do Tapajós (SLT) dam. This dam alone is expected to cause 2,200km2 of deforestation and to drown 400km2 of rainforest. Previous projects have led to huge habitats being wiped out causing significant impacts on the populations of fish, aquatic reptiles and the life cycles of local mammals.
Hershey’s, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, Yum! Brands and Reckitt Benckiser have cancelled or suspended contracts with IOI following their suspension from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). IOI’s certificate was suspended based on three of its operations where RSPO standards of preventing rainforest destruction and social conflict were violated.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s comments on the destruction of the rainforests in Indonesia are being criticised by Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister, Siti Nurbaya. Following his visit last month to the Mount Leuser National Park in northern Sumatra, DiCaprio posted on social media that ‘palm oil expansion is destroying this unique place’. Nurbaya shared that it was rather unfortunate that DiCaprio didn’t obtain comprehensive information about deforestations issues in Indonesia and that the current government are working hard to protect the environment.
In January, Rainforest Alliance announced it had hired Nigel Sizer as its new President, who previously headed up World Resources Institute's Global Forest Watch, a forest monitoring platform. Given that background, it is unsurprising that Sizer is embracing technology in his new leadership role at Rainforest Alliance. In an International Forest Day interview with Mongabay, Sizer said that technology like Global Forest Watch will boost the effectiveness of certification.
Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), which manages $828 billion worth of funds, released its annual report for 2015 today, revealing that six palm oil companies, four pulp and paper companies, and one coal company were dropped from its investment portfolio. Lars Løvold, director of the NGO Rainforest Foundation Norway, said that the GPFG’s actions show that companies involved in deforestation risk being cut off from international investment.
Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) discovered a sharp deforestation increase in the lower Las Piedras River area, which is in the far west Amazon rainforest of the Madre de Dios region of Southern Peru. This area is considered as an incredibly biodiverse area. The headwater of Las Piedras River is protected, however, the lower remains under threat largely due to the controversial Trans-Amazon highway, which brought loggers, hunters, gold miners, and settlers.
A report on the activities of the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP) in Guatemala show the positive potential impact of community based forest management. The members of ACOFOP include small furniture manufacturers sell products approved by the Rainforest Alliance.
The article refers to a report published last month by the World Resources Institute which investigated both the Guatemalan concessions and a similar model found in Brazil’s indigenous communities in the Amazon. The WRI estimated that Guatemala stood to benefit up to $800 million over the next two decades through community management of forest concessions.
A new report by the Rainforest Action Network provides further evidence of the benefits of greater local land rights in conserving tropical forests. The research follows a separate report published in 2014 by the World Resources Institute, an international environmental NGO. That study showed deforestation rates were 11 times lower in zones licensed to local communities than in other lands.
The Mongabay article reports that Indonesia targeted 2.5 million hectares of land for community-based forest management between 2009 and 2014 but only 13% of this had actually been allocated for community-based forest management by the end of 2013. The article points to criticisms by some that many licenses vulnerable to abuse with one commentator claiming that some loosely organized communities will simply sell their land to the highest bidder – often industrial companies.
The Amazonian Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG) published a report showing the deforestation between 2010 and 2013 declined sharply across the Amazon basin. This is the first time the change in primary forest in the Amazon outside of Brazil is documented. Unlike Brazil, which owns advanced monitoring system, forest data from non-Brazilian countries are much less reported before. The report also includes a detailed deforestation map.
Many Southeast Asians are wondering if they will have to withstand another blanket of haze from rainforest fires as Indonesia enters its annual dry season.
Rainforest Alliance has extended the suspension period of the Resolute Forest Products certificate for PF Résolu Canada Inc. in Lac St-Jean Quebec by one year. The extended suspension will provide additional time to Resolute to resolve its’ past discrepancies. For the certificate to be re-instated, Resolute must continuously conform to the FSC criteria and their current outstanding non-conformities must be audited as closed. If these terms are not met by the end of the suspension period, Rainforest Alliance will terminate FSC’s certificate agreement for Lac St-Jean Quebec.