Luciano-Queiroz via Shutterstock

Our Campaigns

Tropical Forest Protection

Goal: Slow global warming by convincing companies to stop cutting down tropical forests.
To slow global warming, we must protect the world’s tropical forests. We’re doing our part by urging companies to commit to stop cutting them down—a commitment known as zero-deforestation. Many of the companies that harvest and use palm oil have made this commitment. Now we’re focusing on the beef and soybean supply chain.
  • <h4>10-15% OF CARBON POLLUTION</h4><h5>Scientists estimate that razing forests to make way for crops or cattle accounts for 10-15% of the pollution that's warming the planet and changing the climate.</h5><em>Matt Zimmerman via flickr /cc-by-2.0, NASA's Ocean Melting Greenland Mission</em>
  • <h4>ENDANGERING WILDLIFE</h4><h5>Tropical forest destruction also drives out the orangutans, elephants, jaguars and other threatened or endangered animals that live in the forests.</h5><em>Chem7 via Flickr / CC-BY-2.0, frontpage via Shutterstock</em>
  • <h4>ZERO DEFORESTATION</h4><h5>We’re urging companies to stop cutting down any tropical forest—a commitment known as “zero deforestation.”</h5><em>Rich Carey via Shutterstock</em>
  • <h4>KEEPING CARBON IN THE GROUND</h4><h5>Five years of environmental action and advocacy already have protected enough tropical forest to keep at least 1.5 gigatons of carbon in the ground.</h5><em>pixabay</em>
Keeping the Earth's lungs healthy

Tropical forests work like the planet’s lungs, breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen, reducing global warming and cleaning the air.

Cutting down these forests has the opposite effect. The leveled forest stops taking in carbon dioxide. When forests are burned, as often happens in tropical areas to “clear” the land, they release back into the atmosphere the carbon they've taken in over many years.

Scientists estimate that razing forests to make way for crops or cattle accounts for 10-15% of the pollution that's warming the planet and changing the climate.

Tropical forest destruction also drives out the orangutans, elephants, tigers, jaguars and other threatened or endangered animals that live in the forests.

If we want to slow global warming and save endangered species, we must stop burning and cutting down tropical forests.


Commit to zero deforestation

Environment America is urging companies to stop cutting down any tropical forest—a commitment known as “zero deforestation.”

It’s a big ask. In the past, many companies considered deforestation to be the quickest, cheapest path to profit in the palm oil, soybean, beef and other agricultural commodity industries.  

But this mindset is starting to change.

In 2012, only 5% of palm oil refineries had committed to zero deforestation. By 2017, after five years of action and advocacy by environmental groups, the number grew to 74%. The result: Instead of burned and cut-down forests releasing at least 1.5 gigatons of carbon into the planet's atmosphere, this carbon has stayed in the ground.

Now we’re applying consumer demand to convince companies in the soybean and beef industries to commit to zero deforestation and, once committed, to hold them to that promise. These companies grow soybeans and raise cattle primarily in Latin America, but they include companies based in or doing business in the U.S., such as Cargill, Bunge and McDonald’s.

Drag the image to view more: A cattle ranch is cut out of tropical forest in Ecuador.
credit: Dr. Morley Read via Shutterstock
Effective advocacy and action

We must act now.

Protecting the world's forests is one of the simplest and most effective ways of slowing down global warming and climate change.  Yet every hour we’re losing the equivalent of 1,000 football fields of forests. We're also losing the animals that depend on these forests for their survival—including the fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left on the planet, as well as the critically endangered jaguar, orangutan and Bornean elephant.

Join Environment America in calling upon more companies to commit to zero-deforestation

We see the world’s tropical forests as vital resources to be protected, not exploited, as the planet warms and species disappear. If you agree, please join us.