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Last week, Greenpeace released shocking footage of clear-cutting in Papua, Indonesia, illustrating just how pervasive the problem has become for consumer companies and palm oil traders. How much land was cleared? An area almost half the size of Paris.
A decade has passed since the Guinness World Records in 2008 awarded Indonesia the “highest rate” of deforestation on the planet, and yet we're still seeing high rates of deforestation in Indonesia. This is a result of the rapid growth in the use of palm oil — an ingredient found in soaps, shampoos, cookies, chips, and makeup. It’s basically in everything and everywhere.
Greenpeace Brazil has just released powerful new photographs of a forest area larger than Yellowstone National Park that could be lost if the Brazilian government follows through with its plans to strip protections in the Amazon.
Seven years since making zero deforestation commitments, major meatpackers in Brazil have demonstrated progress in not buying from forest destruction directly. Nonetheless they are still unable ensure that they are not purchasing from deforestation indirectly and these companies not yet set a deadline for addressing this loophole. The meatpackers’ zero deforestation commitments are still not fully satisfied until they can ensure that they are not buying from any farms involved in deforestation both directly and indirectly.
In recent years, the world’s biggest companies have woken up to the environmental costs associated with palm oil and the other commodities they buy. Nowhere are those costs more evident than in Indonesia, which has lost 31 million hectares of forest, an area almost the size of Germany, since 1990.