Indonesia's forests and peatlands help regulate the global climate and contain a diversity of life. They are home to some magnificent species, including elephants, orangutans and tigers. Thankfully, pressure from all of us has secured commitments from some of the world's biggest brands to do all they can to protect them.
Yet, despite these ‘no deforestation’ promises, pristine forests continue to be destroyed for palm oil. It's essential that we continue to monitor the situation on the ground, and hold the companies that buy and produce palm oil to account. If the destruction doesn't stop, orangutans could be extinct in the wild within our lifetimes.
Forest and peatland fires swept across Indonesia last year, blanketing the region in acrid smoke, destroying precious habitat, and endangering people and wildlife. Since we exposed these forest fires in November 2015, the global outcry from our supporters has been impossible to ignore. Both politicians and corporations have had to listen.
So, how are you having an impact? First, your support enabled us to investigate whether global brands were living up to their 'no deforestation' commitments. We revealed Colgate-Palmolive, PepsiCo and Johnson & Johnson were failing to protect Indonesia's forests. 444,000 of you around the world took action right away, telling these brands to meet their responsibility to protect the forest. It worked – they agreed to meet us to discuss how they can improve their palm oil sourcing policies.
At the same time, the Indonesian government has been forced to take a strong stance against companies linked to forest destruction. President Joko Widodo has proposed Indonesia should stop granting new land for palm oil plantations. And, after years of inaction, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has finally acted against palm oil company IOI for destroying rainforests in Borneo by suspending its sustainability certificates. As a result, at least 13 international brands have stopped buying palm oil from this toxic company.
Then, when you found out General Mills was still sourcing palm oil from IOI, you quickly mobilised to make them stop. Over 44,000 of you petitioned General Mills. Within two days, the company announced they were dropping IOI. All of this proves that, when we come together like this, we really can convince companies to protect, not destroy, our forests.
Greenpeace supporters are ensuring the Indonesian government and global corporations take strong action – good news for all forest wildlife, including endangered orangutans. All of us are determined to work with politicians and industry to develop solutions – we won't let the irresponsible destruction of Indonesia's forests continue.