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  • Archive for April, 2015

    China fights deforestation with ‘great wall of trees’

    2015 - 04.29

    A new study has shown that China is helping to offset global deforestation through it’s tree planting initiative, known as the Great Green Wall.

    According to a study published in Nature Climate Chance, China’s planting scheme has helped to replenish around 81 per cent of the total biomass of trees that the world has lost since 2003.

    Yi Liu of Australia’s University of New South Wales, lead author on the study, stated: “The increase in vegetation primarily came from a lucky combination of environmental and economic factors and massive tree-planting projects in China.”

    The research has also found that the level of carbon dioxide absorbed by trees around the world has increased by four billion tons in the same length of time.

    The project, also labelled as the “world’s largest ecological engineering project”, has seen the planting of a large band of trees spanning 2,800 miles in the northern part of the country on the edge of the Gobi desert.

    Since 2008, China has used this initiative to plant the equivalent of 32 million acres of new forest, which are helping to offset the large number of trees still falling around the country.

    This attitude towards deforestation is now being replicated elsewhere in the world, where many other governments and organisations such as Greenwood Management are also doing their bit to reduce deforestation.

    Food giant commits to deforestation-free palm oil scheme

    2015 - 04.15

    Yum! Brands, the food giant behind well-known brands KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has announced that by the end of 2017 it will only buy palm cooking oil from suppliers that commit to protecting tropical forests and peatlands.

    Yum! Brands’ announcement comes just one day after the Union of Concerned Scientists released a new report analysing top companies’ palm oil commitments. The report was a follow-up to a March 2014 report that rated the 10 largest companies in packaged food, personal care and fast food sectors, revealing that fast food firms had the weakest plans to source deforestation and palm oil-free products.

    The new report tracked the 30 companies’ progress over the last year, as well as that of 10 additional companies from the house brands sector, and found that only eight of those surveyed this year have adopted palm oil commitments that fully protect forests and peatlands.

    The companies that have shown to strongest commitment include household names such as Danone, Kelloggs, Nestle and Pepsi Co from the packaged food sector, and Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble from the personal care sector.

    Despite the relatively poor results in the fast food sector, Yum! Brand’s announcement is expected to have a significant impact on the results of the 2016 report. However, the report has highlighted concerning results elsewhere in the fast food sector, with Dunkin’ Brands, Burger King and Starbucks all scoring zero in UCS’s March 2014 review.

    Although Yum! Brands has only recently committed to environmental causes, some companies including Greenwood Management have already made their pledge to stop deforestation.