One palm-oil trader after another has committed to helping protect forests this year. Now it’s much easier to buy palm oil on the international market from traders who have promised to halt deforestation than it is to buy palm oil from businesses causing deforestation. A year ago, you could have said just the opposite. These are voluntary corporate commitments; they aren’t guaranteed to translate to change on the ground. But they have worked before, in the Brazilian Amazon.
It’s not as if the whole problem of deforestation has been solved, and some people are worried about celebrating too soon. As Laurel Sutherlin, communications strategist for the Rainforest Action Network, put it in an email: “The corporations involved would like nothing more than for their critics to move on and look the other way while they get to the nitty gritty of actually putting their new statements into practice.”
Furthermore, there are still many…
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