What causes deforestation? One surprising answer is big banks

We need financial institutions like Bank of America to stop financing deforestation and help protect the biodiversity of our tropical rainforests.


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Deforestation surged last year by 10 percent, despite commitments from world leaders to stop the destruction of tropical forests by the end of the decade.

Tropical rainforests are home to some of the richest biodiversity in the world. They also trap massive amounts of global warming pollution. These amazing ecosystems must be protected before we lose them forever.

However, it’s clear that voluntary pledges from governments alone aren’t enough to solve this problem. That’s why we’re adding a different strategy that might surprise you: We’re calling on big banks like Bank of America to stop financing deforestation.

The problem: Tropical deforestation is speeding up

Tropical rainforests are full of life, sheltering colorful birds, swinging orangutans, Bengal tigers, and much more of our world’s wildlife. But these forests are quickly disappearing.

Saving the rainforests is a global challenge, and in 2021, 145 nations pledged to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. But instead of slowing down, deforestation is actually speeding up.

Amazon Rainforest
hanming_huang | Public Domain

Last year alone, a total of 10.2 million acres of rainforest were destroyed, taking away the homes of jaguars and endangered orangutans.

Cutting down those forests released 2.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of the annual fossil fuel pollution of the entire country of India.

The solution: Banks can help protect tropical forests

The industries destroying the rainforests — primarily for soy, beef, palm oil and wood products — are financially supported by banks.

If big banks like Bank of America set stronger standards to reduce their clients’ negative impact on tropical forests, it can help reverse this trend and keep more of these rainforests standing.

The good news is that two major banks, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, recently updated their tropical deforestation policies, requiring some client companies working in rainforests to reduce harm to tropical forests.

It’s time for Bank of America to continue the momentum. Join us in calling on Bank of America to stop financing deforestation by adding your name today.


Ellen Montgomery

Director, Public Lands Campaign, Environment America

Ellen runs campaigns to protect America's beautiful places, from local beachfronts to remote mountain peaks. Prior to her current role, Ellen worked as the organizing director for Environment America’s Climate Defenders campaign. Ellen lives in Denver, where she likes to hike in Colorado's mountains.

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