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.