Land Grabbing, Forests & Finance Archives

Land Grabbing, Forests & Finance

One of the fastest growing drivers of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and displacement of forest-dwelling communities is the expansion of industrial agricultural plantations across the tropics for the production of palm oil, soy, cattle and pulp and paper. These ingredients appear in thousands of everyday household goods that line supermarket shelves. Monoculture plantations are responsible for widespread forest destruction, loss of endangered species’ habitat, and increasingly violent land conflicts between companies and local — often Indigenous — communities.

Deforestation driven by industrial agriculture is second only to fossil fuel combustion as a leading driver of global climate change. Year after year the world watches as some of the planet’s greatest rainforests, from the Amazon to Indonesia to the Congo Basin burn to supply the industrial demand for agricultural commodities. On average, an area of forest cover the size of the United Kingdom was lost every year between 2014 and 2018.

While agribusiness and consumer companies play a central role in driving the industrial agricultural supply chains responsible for deforestation and human rights abuses, these companies are financed by powerful investors. Following the money, Friends of the Earth US advocates for financiers to use their leverage to force companies to change their practices, or shift investments away from companies and industries driving deforestation, land grabbing, and human rights abuses. 

In recent years, some money managers have come to recognize their responsibility to halt deforestation, as both a business risk and a moral imperative. But NONE of the largest US investment firms have policies on deforestation and human rights to guide their investments and ensure they are not funding deforestation. We advocate for all institutional investors, asset managers and banks to adopt policies to protect forests and the Indigenous Peoples who depend upon and care for them.

Indigenous Peoples and local communities have proven to be the best protectors of forests and lands on which the entire planet depends. Recognizing and respecting land rights therefore must be an essential part of any strategy to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We work in close collaboration with civil society organizations, local communities, and grassroots leaders on the frontlines of the global deforestation crisis to ensure that their land rights are at the heart of any solution.

See our investment principles for forests and human rights.

Featured Resources See All
Impact Stories See All
A Victory for Forests: Cargill Cuts Ties with Palm Oil Producer
A Victory for Forests: Cargill Cuts Ties with Palm Oil Producer

Friends of the Earth and our allies have pushed businesses and corporations to cut ties with abusive and destructive palm oil companies.

Nestlé Cuts Ties With Conflict Palm Oil
Nestlé Cuts Ties With Conflict Palm Oil

More than 40,000 Friends of the Earth members signed our petition urging Nestlé to cut ties with REPSA. And Nestlé responded.

Defunding Deforestation

As part of our campaign to #DefundDeforestation, we partner with the shareholder advocates at As You Sow to host DeforestationFreeFunds.Org – a search platform that enables people to find out if their money, in the form of individual investments or an employer-provided 401(k), may be causing tropical deforestation.

For many of us, the majority of our investments are in 401(k) plans offered by our employers. These 401(k)s invest mostly through mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and for most of us, it’s not easy to investigate what’s inside the funds we own.  DeforestationFreeFunds.Org provides a practical way to see what your 401(k) is invested in, and to help you talk to your 401(k) plan manager about offering Deforestation Free 401k fund options.

  • Forests Fight deforestation
  • Green New Deal Archives Tell Congress to stop shelling out billions to Big Oil
Latest News See All
Major palm oil company withdraws from anti-deforestation initiative

Amsterdam, Duazon, Washington - Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), one of the world’s largest palm oil producers, has withdrawn from the High Carbon Stock Approach Group, (HCSA Group). HCSA Group is a sustainability watchdog and standard-setting body that works to prevent deforestation. This decision follows the company’s failure to adequately respond to…

Consumer Goods Giants Line Up to Suspend Destructive Palm Oil Company for Land Grabbing, Human Rights Abuses

Consumer companies must stay engaged and use their leverage to require Astra Agro Lestari (AAL) to pay for losses and damages caused to communities during nearly 25 years of operations in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Friends of the Earth Responds to Nestle’s Decision to Suspend Business Ties with AAL, Indonesia’s second largest palm oil company

Nestlé’s suspension of AAL from its supply chain is an important first step toward ensuring accountability for ongoing human rights violations.

Latest Blog Posts See All
Will consumer goods companies ensure justice for communities that have been robbed of their lands and livelihoods?
Will consumer goods companies ensure justice for communities that have been robbed of their lands and livelihoods?

If a destructive palm oil company is suspended by consumer goods giants for land grabbing and human right abuses, will we finally get our land back?

Sowing the Seeds of a Tropical Village Economy in the Mountains of Sumatra

This piece is a set of reflections from Jeff Conant, International Forests Program Director, during a recent trip to Indonesia to meet with local village communities.

[caption id="attachment_1367" align="alignnone" width="535"] Villager displaying petai bean pods in Air Pahlawan // Photo Courtesy of Jeff Conant[/caption]

The village of…

Bunge’s Silent Conquest and the Corporate Climate Con

The agribusiness giant Bunge is engaging in an egregious corporate climate con – and shareholders should take note.

Resources See All
  • Brief to Procter & Gamble Shareholders
  • Open Letter on Agra Astari Lestari
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  • Caught Red-Handed: Bunge and the Directors of Deforestation
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