Greenpeace Calls Out Sprite for Destroying Native Forests in Argentina
Environmentalists Urge Company to Reforest Area and Commit to Zero Deforestation Policy
by Kate Fried
April 18, 2018
Washington, D.C.–As G20 members, including representatives from the United States, prepare to convene in Argentina to discuss sustainability goals, Greenpeace is escalating pressure on the soft drink company Sprite to take responsibility for deforestation linked to one of its key ingredients–concentrated lemon juice. Sprite’s supplier, La Moraleja S.A, has illegally deforested 3,000 hectares of native land (equivalent to about 6,000 football fields) in the Salta province of Argentina. Greenpeace is asking Sprite and La Moraleja S.A to reforest the 3,000 hectares and to adopt a Zero Deforestation policy.
Greenpeace first sent a letter to Sprite’s parent company Coca-Cola in 2016, and another in 2017, urging the companies to reforest the area. Neither company has taken action. The deforestation has taken place in a region of High Conservation Value, which is protected under Argentina’s National Forest Law as sanctioned in 2007. Despite this, La Moraleja S.A. obtained permits to deforest from the provincial government of Salta, violating the national law.
“Sprite claims to be a sustainable company; that is why we want to know when they will reforest the 3,000 forest hectares that its supplier illegally cleared in Salta,” explained Hernán Giardini, coordinator of the Forest Campaign in Greenpeace.
On January 24, 2018, Argentina’s National Ministry of Environment published resolution 56/2018 canceling permission to deforest in protected areas. Some 32 permits for farms to deforest a total of 150,000 hectares had been issued up to that point. The resolution urged the province to suspend deforestation and reforest those areas already deforested. Among these 32 farms is one controlled by La Moraleja S.A.
La Moraleja S.A. promised to reforest 1,400 hectares of the deforested land. Meanwhile, Greenpeace is urging both Sprite and its supplier to recuperate all of the damage inflicted within the area. Approximately 8 million hectares of forest, an area 230 times the size of Atlanta, Georgia, where Sprite parent company Coca-Cola is based, have been destroyed in the last three decades. Some 3,000 hectares of this deforestation is linked to Sprite.
“The forests are our most important patrimony, especially in terms of it’s biodiversity and the climate. Those who are involved in destroying them have to take responsibility to recuperate the damage done. Especially when this is done by a company which claims to be sustainable,” adds Giardini.