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Deforestation is responsible for 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and has been associated with human and animal rights violations. The world’s rainforests support complex ecosystems and are home to over half of the Earth’s species. While we know how important rainforests are to our global environment, deforestation has become endemic in some of the world’s most precious tropical forests.

Many of the consumer goods we use every day contribute to deforestation in one way or another. Tropical rainforests where commodity crops (like palm oil) grow are often illegally logged or cleared to make way for plantations. Large corporations that purchase commodity crops sourced through deforestation are effectively funding the destruction of our world’s forests.

In response to the appeals of environmental organizations like Greenpeace and educated consumers, many corporations are heading initiatives to ensure their products do not contribute to deforestation. By taking on zero deforestation initiatives, global corporations are enacting sustainable policies that will protect animals, people, and the environment.

These companies have already taken the plunge and taken on zero deforestation initiatives. To help support the planet and animals that rely on rainforests to live, be sure to check out the deforestation policies of the brands you buy. After all, you really can make change with your dollar!

1. L’Oréal

Launching the “Sharing Beauty With All” campaign, the cosmetics giant L’Oréal aims to make all their products “zero deforestation” certified by 2020. L’Oréal has committed to source their products from 100 percent renewable raw materials from sustainable sources to ensure their business does not support any form of deforestation.

While this is an awesome step that will hopefully inspire others to take similar action — L’Oréal still tests their products on animals but, at least they’re trying to clean up their act!

2. Asian Pulp and Paper

Asian Pulp and Paper is one of the world’s largest paper and pulp companies. Manufacturing in China and Indonesia, the company had a history of clearing rainforest and indigenous trees and planting monocultures of acacia and eucalyptus. APP alone has cleared an area of rainforest the size of Massachusetts.

APP supplies paper to corporations including: Mattel, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart.

In June of 2013, APP announced its commitment to end deforestation by 2020. In addition to their “zero deforestation” policy, the paper giant has also put a “Forest Conservation Policy” in place to help protect Indonesia’s rainforests.

3. Unilever

In 2012, Unilever committed to sourcing palm oil from sustainable sources by 2015. This initiative would prevent the deforestation associated with palm oil plantations in the regions Unilever sources their products from. Unilever manufactures every type of consumer good from foods, to cleaning agents and personal care products. By switching to sustainable palm oil, the company will protect rainforest from deforestation associated with palm plantations.

Like L’Oréal, Unilever continues to test their products on animals. So while I wouldn’t put my full 100 percent support in them yet, I am looking forward to seeing what changes they might make in their animal testing policies as a result of their increased sustainability initiatives.

4. Hershey

The Hershey Company has made strides on their zero deforestation policy and aims to source 100 percent of their palm oil needs from sustainable sources by the end of this year! Hershey will ensure that all their palm oil comes from traceable sources to ensure they do not purchase palm oil produced through deforestation.

5. Disney

In response to mass deforestation taking place in Indonesia, Disney has dropped its paper suppliers that have been linked to deforestation. This policy was enacted in response to a campaign headed by the Rainforest Action Network. Disney is the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines. Disney’s no deforestation policy includes papers sourced directly by Disney and those sourced by licensees, vendors, and suppliers. Disney now prohibits the use of paper products that do not meet the FSC – Controlled Wood Standards. This decision positively influences over 25,000 factories in over 100 countries. Go Disney!

6. Wilmar International

Wilmar International is the world’s largest palm oil trader. After years of pressure from Greenpeace, Wilmar agreed to a No Deforestation Policy that will ban its suppliers from destroying forest and peatland. Wilmar provides palm oil to companies around the world. This policy will help improve the environmental impact of many consumer products.

7. Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum includes over 400 companies, many of which have agreed to work toward zero net deforestation by 2020. In 2012, 400+ members of the Consumer Goods Forum signed on to begin work to meet this goal. Working with CGF, Nestlé has made progress in reworking its sourcing strategy to ensure none of the commodity goods it uses are sourced through deforestation. While the road to zero net deforestation will be difficult to achieve, this network of corporations will work in collaboration to develop best practices, helping to lead the no-deforestation policies of consumer products.

Image source: crustmania / Flickr



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