Tag Archives: greenpeace

First images of the Amazonian reef released by Greenpeace

The first images of the 600 mile-long reef discovered at the mouth of the Amazon in 2016 have been released to show us what’s at risk — oil companies have their sights set at the area for drilling.

Image credits Greenpeace.

Nobody expected a reef to be there, but it was. In 2016, scientists stumbled upon an almost 1000 km-long reef nestled at the mouth of the Amazon. Right now, they’re brimming with excitement at the thought of exploring the reef, which they believe hides unknown species. But oil companies are planning to drill in the area, which would spell doom for the reef.

The first images of the 65 meter (220 feet) deep reef were captured from a submarine launched by the Greenpeace ship Esperanza. Campaigners say drilling must be prevented to protect the reef.

Stretching from French Guiana to Brazil’s Maranhão state, the reef was nothing short of a surprise — mainly because it shouldn’t be there. Major rivers’ mouths usually cut gaps in reefs like a blowtorch through butter. Corals like clear, sunny waters to live in, and rivers supply only muddy, sediment-rich water. Those at the mouth of the Amazon are some of the muddiest in the world. And still, the reef spans the area and is already known to house to more than 60 species of sponges, 73 species of fish, spiny lobsters and stars.

Image credits Greenpeace.

“This reef system is important for many reasons, including the fact that it has unique characteristics regarding use and availability of light,” said Nils Asp, a researcher at the Federal University of Pará in Belém, Brazil, on board the Esperanza.

“It has a huge potential for new species, and it is also important for the economic well-being of fishing communities along the Amazonian coastal zone.”

Total, BP, and Petrobras have gotten their hands on oil exploration blocks in the area before the reef was discovered. There is a lot of fear that exploitation could destroy the reef should these companies obtain authorization to drill from the Brazilian government. The team that discovered the reef in April wrote:

“These [exploration] blocks will soon be producing oil in close proximity to the reefs, but the environmental baseline compiled by the companies and the Brazilian government is still incipient and largely based on sparse museum specimens. Such large-scale industrial activities present a major environmental challenge.”

Greenpeace Brazil said that roughly 95 wells have already been drilled in the region and none found viable gas or oil deposits. But the Brazilian government believes some 14bn barrels of oil are contained just under the surface, a very tempting prize.

Now, the ball is in the government’s court — let’s hope they make a good play.


‘Everything is NOT awesome’: Greenpeace viral video slashes Shell-Lego partnership


Photo: YouTube

Greenpeace premiered a video yesterday that campaign’s against Shell’s plans of drilling in the Arctic, but primarily targets a proxy company, Lego. The ad wants to move the Danish toy company to cancel its deal with Shell that will put Lego toys in hundreds of gas stations. In the video, an oil-stricken Arctic depicted in a set comprised of 120kg of Lego is shown as it slowly becomes engulfed by a sea of black tar. The only concrete message comes at the very end when a text block warns: “Shell is polluting our kids’ imagination”, in response to Lego’s official company mission – serving creativity and inspiration to children.

The ad went completely viral, hitting more than 1,3 m views already on YouTube, and garnering over 300,000 signatures for the Greenpeace petition to Lego.

It’s only been a day, but if we’re to heed credence to Lego’s most recent statement at the matter, it seems like the ad didn’t quite struck a chord with them.

“We are determined to leave a positive impact on society and the planet that children will inherit. Our unique contribution is through inspiring and developing children by delivering creative play experiences all over the world.

A co-promotion contract like the one with Shell is one of many ways we are able to bring LEGO® bricks into the hands of more children.

We welcome and are inspired by all relevant input we receive from fans, children, parents, NGOs and other stakeholders. They have high expectations to the way we operate. So do we.”

If anything, however, the video has made a lot of environmentalist Lego fans really mad, if we’re to judge from social media comments. Greenpeace’s reputation isn’t at its best either, to be fair. Only a week ago, the Guardian and Der Spiegel revealed that the world’s most famous environmental group squandered £3m on currency markets and that one of its top executives commuted to work by plane.

A scene of devastation is captured in an aerial survey mission by Greenpeace on Indonesia's Borneo island. Photograph: Bay Ismayo/AFP/Getty Images

P&G is driving massive deforestation and an orangutan graveyard in Indonesia

A year long investigation by Greenpeace reveals grim palm oil harvesting practices in Indonesia, where suppliers are currently engaging in massive deforestation, which severely threaten the already endangered Sumatran tigers and orangutans, shady PR tactics and intentionally lighting up forest fires. Among the findings is a horrific graveyard where  the buried remains of several orangutans were discovered just outside the land owned by two major suppliers. Greenpeace, in its report, urges the American giant Procter&Gamble to clear up its supplier’s act and only buy palm oil from companies that have a proven record of sustainable palm oil production.

Palm oil is the world’s most ubiquitous vegetable oil and a main driver of deforestation in Indonesia. The oil accounted for roughly 40 percent of the world’s vegetable oil production from 2012-2013, and it is a key ingredient in many household products, such as Procter & Gamble’s Head & Shoulders shampoo and Gillette shaving gel. In 2013 P&G bought about 462,000 tonnes of palm oil, including some from some of the world’s largest processors. Less than 10% of the palm oil used by the company is certified sustainably sourced, Greenpeace said.

“The maker of Head & Shoulders needs to stop bringing rainforest destruction into our showers,” Bustar Maitar, head of the Indonesian forest campaign at Greenpeace International, said in a press statement. ”It must clean up its act and guarantee its customers that these products are forest friendly.”

“Procter & Gamble should follow the lead of other palm oil using companies like Unilever, Nestlé and L’Oréal, which have already promised to clean up their supply chains,” Bustar said.

Perverse incentive

In a report issued in 2012 Procter & Gamble promised to achieve zero net deforestation, in accordance with the Consumer Goods Forum.  In this report, the company pledges to supply all its palm oil purchases  from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015. We’re a quarter in 2014 and apparently P&G is way off.

“Greenpeace contacted P&G about its palm oil sourcing practices in May 2013, which means it’s nearly had a year to react with a robust ‘no-deforestation’ policy that would stop exposing its customers to forest destruction,”  said a Greenpeace senior campaigner, Reece Turner, told Guardian Australia.

“In the meantime, other big palm oil consumers such as Unilever, Ferrero, L’Oreal, Delhaize, Kellogg and the world’s biggest palm oil trader, Wilmar International, have committed to no deforestation.”

One of P&G suppliers is BW Plantation, a Jakarta-based firm that is a third-party supplier for Asian Agria, a palm oil company owned by Sukanto Tanoto’s RGE Group. BW Plantation is currently watched by local authorities for the recent clearance of orangutan habitats in Central Kalimantan.  Other companies marked in the Greenpeace report are Singapore-based Musim Mas, which owns one of Asia’s largest palm oil refineries, along with two other suppliers Globalindo Alam Perkasa Estate II (GAP II) and Multipersada Gatramegah (MPG). All of these are linked with deforestation and orangutan habitat destruction in Central Kalimantan and Papua.

An orangutan graveyard


photo: Greenpeace

The most startling find is that of what can only be referred to as an orangutan graveyard, as several remains have been discovered scattered on the edge of an oil palm plantation belonging to PT Bumi Langgeng Perdanatrada (PT BLP). It’s unlikely these orangutans died of natural causes since these were found buried deep into the ground – like we all know, only humans bury the dead.

orangutan graveyard indonesia

Photo: Greenpeace

Police investigations are now in process, and it is up to them to determine how these orang-utans died and who is responsible. However, the local NGOs that originally exposed the existence of this graveyard cite local community witness reports that the orang-utans buried here were ‘murdered’, according to the Greenpeace report.

“Greenpeace believes palm oil must make a genuine contribution to Indonesia’s development,” Bustar said. “Progressive palm oil producers in the Palm Oil Innovation Group, along with ambitious commitments from big palm oil players GAR and Wilmar, prove that there is a business case for responsible palm oil.

“There is no excuse for companies like P&G, Reckitt Benckiser and Colgate Palmolive to delay immediate action on deforestation.”

Greenpeace: P&G’s dirty secret