Amazon (and others) Help Save the Amazon

Amazon, Unilever, and Nestle join forces in a new $1 billion project to preserve rainforests.

A new private-public endeavour is underway to save the rainforest. Norway, Britain, and the United States’ governments are partnering with major private companies to finance the protection of the world’s tropical forests. Such big-name companies include such as Amazon, Nestle, Unilever, Airbnb, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey, and Bayer. At the US-convened Leaders Summit on climate, the extensive group announced their “Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest” (LEAF) finance coalition. They intend to raise $1 billion in initial financing.

Their plan is simple: governments and companies participating in the LEAF coalition will pay countries with tropical and subtropical forest for emissions reductions. These countries will have to cut their emissions under the supervision of a third-party environmental agency. The immediate goal is to reduce deforestation, and the ultimate goal is to end it completely. This initiative is increasingly important, as the pace of deforestation is picking up. 2020 saw a 12% increase in deforestation compared to last year, losing approximately 10 million hectares of tropical rainforest- about the size of Switzerland.

According to US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, “The LEAF coalition is a groundbreaking example of the scale and type of collaboration that is needed to fight the climate crisis and achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050. Bringing together the government and private-sector resources is a necessary step in supporting the large-scale efforts that must be mobilized to halt deforestation and begin to restore tropical and subtropical forests.”

This pioneering model is extremely innovative in its local-level involvement. Manish Bapna, the Interim President and CEO of World Resources Institute, stated, “with local-level involvement, this approach can be a triple-win: for the climate, tropical forests and for people that depend on them.” This previously unmatched level of finance could result in unmatched progress towards addressing the climate crisis we are facing.