Corporate action

Background - 8 February, 2011
If corporations have the ability to destroy the world's intact forests, they also have the power to help save them. Greenpeace investigates, exposes and confronts environmental abuse by corporations around the world, and asks its supporters to take action for the planet. This has resulted in the protection of swathes of the world's forests - but there is still a long way to go.

Every two seconds, an area of forest the size of a football pitch is lost. While the causes vary from region to region, they do have one thing in common: human activity. This exploitation of natural resources usually happens in the name of profit; irreplaceable rainforests are converted into products that are used to make toothpaste, chocolate, animal feed and paper products by agri-businesses and logging giants.

But if corporations have the ability to destroy the world's intact forests, they also have the power to help save them:

Take the Amazon, which was being devastated by soya plantations and cattle ranching. Greenpeace went undercover for several years to investigate the web of destruction first for Amazon soya and then for Amazon beef and leather - following the supply chain from Amazon forest to multinational food companies, supermarkets and other consumer brands.

We then published our findings in 'Eating up the Amazon' (2006) and 'Slaughtering the Amazon' (2009), naming the companies involved and asking our supporters to put pressure on them to change.

McDonald's came to the Amazon with us to investigate Amazon soya for themselves, then agreed to help get the soya moratorium. For fear of losing their international market, Brazil's major soya traders agreed to a two-year moratorium starting in July 2006. It's still in place and has dramatically decreased the area of the Amazon destroyed for soya.

Within weeks of us releasing our report on Amazon beef and leather, Nike, Adidas, Geox and other leading brands committed stop buying products derived from cows raised on areas of Amazon destruction. Four of the biggest players in the global cattle industry also joined forces to reduce their carbon hoofprint and back our call for zero deforestation.

When we set out to win moratoria on destroying the Amazon for soya and cattle, many said we wanted the impossible. But five years down the line, these moratoria were in place. They still are today.

We have many other stories of corporations taking action to protect forests as a result of Greenpeace supporters making themselves heard. Nestlé, Kraft and Unilever all committed to stop using products that come from Indonesian rainforest destruction - in this case Sinar Mas' palm oil - and cancelled vast contracts with notorious rainforest destroying suppliers.

In Canada, Kimberly-Clark - makers of Kleenex - agreed to one of the world’s strongerst paper policies in response to our five year long Kleercut campaign. Their pressure helped create the space for the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, a vision to protect 72 million hectares of forest (an area twice the size of Germany).

These victories were all won through years of hard-fought campaigning, peaceful direct action and because our supporters put intense pressure on the multinational corporations involved to change their practices. And they listened.

If you want to be a part of more victories like this and add your voice to the millions of Greenpeace supporters who are changing the world, join our forests campaign here: