Amazon Alliance - FAQ'sAugust 25 2019
- What is the Amazon Alliance?
The Amazon Alliance is a group of companies coming together to fight the growing deforestation in the Amazon. The alliance includes Alter Eco Americas, Grove Collaborative, All Good, and Gaia Herbs. These companies are taking a stand and ramping up their existing sustainability efforts through a commitment to reforestation projects in the Peruvian Amazon. Through this project, the Alliance hopes to protect over 3 million trees, conserve (XX acres of land), and sequester (XXX tons of carbon) during the month of September 2019.
- Why should we care about what’s happening in the Amazon?
While sometimes issues like this may feel distant and inconsequential, the Amazon’s integral role in regulating our global climate means this is a problem that affects us all. The Brazilian Amazon is a biodiversity hotspot, home to 1 million indigenous people and 3 million native species. At Alter Eco, this crisis is especially close to our hearts since the Amazon has been a crucial part of our supply chain since day one. We’ve long worked with both small-scale cacao farmers who depend on the rainforest and their land for their livelihood, and our partners at PUR Projet who help these farmers preserve delicate ecosystems through sustainable agroforestry. We’ll do everything in our power to help conserve this land and support them in their fight to protect their home.
- Isn’t this all overblown? I keep hearing I shouldn’t worry about it.
While there is a lot of disinformation being spread around this topic, we want to be clear that this is an international crisis. The science is compelling – smoke visible from outer space, Sao Paulo going dark in the middle of the day, a record number of fires, etc. This devastation is directly related to Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro’s decision to roll back environmental protections of the Amazon in an effort to open the land up to harmful logging, mining and ranching. This has resulted in widespread exploitation of the world’s largest rainforest. Since he took office earlier this year, the Brazilian Amazon has lost 39% more forest cover than last year. This rapid surge in deforestation (much of it illegal), coupled with a changing climate, has caused a typically humid and wet region to experience much dryer conditions. This means that once the fires begin to burn, they can quickly get out of hand.
- Are you just another brand trying to leverage your green credentials?
We understand the concern and certainly encourage consumers to be skeptical of ‘green-washing’ by companies. Alter Eco has sourced cacao from the San Martin region of Peru since day one. While our cacao farmers are not immediately affected by the fires, it’s something that hits close to home as this region is crucial to their livelihoods. We wanted to create a program that would not only provide assistance in the short term but would actively work to make sure this doesn’t happen ever again.
- Is this just a tactic to use a news story to gain awareness around your brand?
While this campaign was launched in response to the tragic events happening throughout Brazil and the Amazon, our main focus is to bring awareness to an international crisis. Full-circle sustainability is the foundation of our business, it’s at the core of everything we do. If we were to ignore an environmental crisis of this severity, we wouldn’t be living up to standard that we’ve set for ourselves.
- What else can I do?
There are many additional ways we encourage you to do your part.
- Donate directly to an organization working on the frontline to support indigenous communities fighting to protect their land, such as Amazon Watch, Rainforest Trust, Earth Allianceor Rainforest Action Network.
- Sign the pledge Pledgeto stop the deforestation and exploitation of the Amazon.
- Put the pressure on your local elected officials. Let them know you want responsible climate action NOW.
- Vote with your dollar Support companies with responsible, transparent supply chains. Avoid companies that are knowingly complicit in rainforest destruction. Ingredients like palm oil and soy are directly linked to rainforest destruction (reminder that many chocolate products use unnecessary palm oil and soy lecithin). Make sure to avoid products sourced from Brazil, like beef and paper products. When buying wood products, look for a "Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)” seal to ensure it was sourced in a forest-friendly way.
- Keep talking about this! It’s crucial that we don’t let this become yesterday’s news story. Stay informed and continue to educate others about what is happening. Unfortunately, there is a lot of disinformation circulating and corporate interest groups wish to downplay the severity of the problem. The more we can continue to speak about this tragedy, the better chance we have of ending this threat.
- What does it mean to ‘protect’ trees? Isn’t it better to plant new trees?
Planting trees is great, we do this every year in partnership with PUR Projet and our partner farmers in the Peruvian Amazon to offset our company’s full carbon footprint. As important as this is for the health of our planet, a primary rainforest is impossible to replace. Billions of trees are cut down each year to the benefit of agribusiness and large corporations, with little concern for the impact on communities, species and the climate. This needs to end. That's why we're taking our conservation efforts one step further by protecting trees, in addition to our continued planting projects.
- Why is your project in Peru, not Brazil?
With the current political situation in Brazil, it’s very difficult to get aid into the country. We wanted to make sure our dollars were being spent in a responsible way; on projects we are confident will have a meaningful impact. While the majority of the deforestation is happening in Brazil, the Amazon region transcends country borders and we wanted to participate in projects that help the region as a whole regenerate, while also maintaining that connection with our supply chain and the farmers we’ve been partnering with for years at the Acopagro Cooperative in the Peruvian Amazon. There is only one Amazon rainforest and we are committed to support it any way we can.
- Why aren’t you on the ground helping directly if you are so passionate?
If we could, we would send the entire Alter Eco team to Brazil to stand in solidarity with the indigenous communities affected by these fires. This just isn’t feasible. President Bolsonaro is dangerously skeptical of foreign aid, even going so far as to reject $22M pledged by outside governments at the recent G7 summit. For the safety of our employees, we’ve chosen to spread our message from afar.
- You’re a small brand, can you really have much impact?
While we’re only one brand, we believe that there is more power in numbers. That’s why we’re partnering with other like-minded brands to amplify the impact. Working together will help us raise awareness around this important message and reach a larger community of like-minded activists. We encourage consumers to help advocate for change by using their purchasing power to invest in companies with transparent, ethical supply chains and to put pressure on the companies who are knowingly contributing to rainforest deforestation. It’s true that Alter Eco is just one small brand, but through collective action you can help us amplify our impact.
- If you’re telling us not to eat beef, why do you use milk in some of your products?
There’s a huge distinction between beef produced in Brazil and the milk products we source from Switzerland. In Brazil, the main causes of deforestation are cattle ranching and soy being grown to feed the cattle. By reducing the demand for Brazilian beef, we’ll cut down on the amount of land that’s being cleared away for these purposes. At Alter Eco, all of our milk products are sourced from cattle raised sustainably on small-scale Swiss farms, following the strictest organic standards.