Chicago, IL — Rainforest Action Network (RAN) launched a campaign on Oct. 10 to stop U.S. agribusiness expansion in the rainforests by draping a 50-foot banner on the historic Chicago Board of Trade building at the start of this morning’s trading.
Calling them the “ABC’s of rainforest destruction,” RAN singled out agribusiness giants Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge and Cargill for their roles in destroying tropical rainforests and trampling human rights in South America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
On Oct. 9, RAN placed a full-page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune accusing the companies of intensifying global warming by having tropical rainforests clear-cut to make way for massive soy and palm oil plantations.
ADM, Bunge and Cargill buy and sell commodity crops at the Board of Trade, including soybeans, which, along with palm oil, are planted on newly cleared rainforest land.
Growing demand for these crops has caused a spike in deforestation, particularly in Indonesia and Brazil.
Home to the world’s two largest rainforests, these countries have become the world’s 3rd and 4th largest greenhouse gas emitters.
U.S. agribusinesses have also been linked to egregious human rights violations on and around industrial soy and palm oil plantations, including displacement of Indigenous and local communities, poor working conditions and, in some cases, slave labor.
“Rainforests are our last and best defense against catastrophic climate change,” said Leila Salazar-Lopez, director of RAN’s new Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign.
“ADM, Bunge and Cargill have a responsibility to stop converting the world’s remaining rainforests into factory farms and to immediately address the grave human rights abuses associated with their operations.”
RAN’s new campaign places the organization among a growing chorus of environmental advocates who question the value of large-scale commercial biofuels, or agrofuels, as a green alternative to fossil fuels.
ADM, Bunge and Cargill have stepped up their palm oil operations in response to the world’s rising demand for palm oil-based biodiesel.
In recent years, as Brazil has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s leading soy exporter, soy production has moved into the rainforest.
“Agribusinesses like to say they’re making the world a better place,” said Salazar-Lopez.
“But they’re really just making a buck by pretending to solve climate change while they actually make it worse.”
For more information, call Cameron Scott at 415-203-3645.