Rainforest Foundation UK News
Do you ever check the ingredients behind the label? When you read Sodium Laurel Sulfates (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLES), Glycerine and surfactants on your shampoo and conditioner bottles, do you ever wonder what exactly are you putting on your head?
These ingredients are mostly derived from vegetable oils and animal fats, but more often than not a significant proportion of them are derived from palm oil.
For our latest research, carried out with Ethical Consumer magazine, we surveyed over 20 of the UK's biggest cosmetics and toiletries companies about their use of palm oil or its derivatives.
Some of the biggest names in the toiletries industry including Procter and Gamble and Superdrug as well as ‘ethical’ brands Jason and Avalon, have scored poorly, while the top-scoring companies in the survey include Honesty Cosmetics, Little Satsuma and Pure Nuff Stuff.
A major conference has called for the amount of land recognised as owned or managed by indigenous peoples to be doubled by 2018.
Participants at the conference, which included RFUK staff, also voiced the need for a global map that identifies the local communities in each area and its boundaries.
RFUK’s sister organisation, The Rainforest Foundation Norway, (RFN), has condemned the Norwegian Government for ignoring its own recommendation to sever its financial interest in an oil and gas giant that operates in a remote part of Peru’s rainforest.
In 2011, the Norwegian Government's Council on Ethics recommended the country’s $700bn sovereign wealth fund should disinvest its holdings in Spanish company Repsol because of its operations in an area inhabited by indigenous people living in "voluntary isolation".
Two years on, and the company is to press ahead with exploration of 21 wells, conducting seismic tests, and cutting 3,770kms of 1.5 metre-wide paths through the forest. All the tests and 20 of the wells are scheduled to be inside a proposed reserve for indigenous people.
If you have been unsuccessful in gaining a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014, don’t worry, you can still join the Rainforest Foundation’s team of runners - and make crossing that finishing line count even more. Click here to apply.
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In the latest investigation carried out by the Rainforest Foundation UK and Ethical Consumer magazine, over 25 of the UK's biggest skincare companies were surveyed about their use of palm oil or its derivatives, a key ingredient in cosmetics.
The survey – part of RFUK's 'Appetite for Destruction?' consumer guide to palm oil content in products - was carried out in response to the increasing threat that unsustainable palm oil is posing to the world’s rainforests, and consequently, to the people that rely almost entirely on these forests for their livelihoods.
Some of the biggest names in skincare including Clarins, Estée Lauder and Superdrug, as well as ‘ethical’ brands Jason and Avalon, have scored poorly, while the top-scoring companies in the survey include Little Satsuma, Pure Nuff Stuff and REN.
Simon Counsell, Executive Director of The Rainforest Foundation UK said:
“Today we call on skincare product companies to face up to their environmental responsibilities, reduce their use of palm oil, and help ensure the long-term survival of Africa’s rainforest, its people and unique wildlife.”
Click here to see the complete guide on skincare products and find out more about the ‘Appetite for Destruction?’ campaign.
On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, RFUK talks to Ruth Buendía, the President of the Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene (CARE), our main indigenous partner organisation in Peru.
Ruth was born and raised in the indigenous Asháninka community of Cutivireni, along the banks of the Ene river. As a young girl, she experienced tremendous hardship: her father was murdered by the Shining Path terrorist movement, forcing Ruth, her mother and her sister to flee into the depths of the jungle – which is now a part of the protected Asháninka Communal Reserve. Ruth eventually moved to Satipo, a nearby town,, and then to Lima, the capital, but at seventeen she returned to the forest of her origins to find her family, and set her mind to studying.
By the age of twenty-seven, Ruth had run and successfully been elected as the first female President of CARE, which represents seventeen communities of around ten thousand indigenous Ashaninka people
Friday, 9th August marks the 19th International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a commemorative event established by the United Nations in 1994 which aims to raise awareness of communities around the world whose struggles, lifestyles and rights are often overlooked or ignored.
The Rainforest Foundation UK works closely with indigenous peoples and is committed to putting their interests and insights at the forefront of sustainable development and human rights advocacy. Our work is currently focused on the Congo Basin rainforest area in Central Africa, the second largest rainforest area in the world, and the Peruvian Amazon. In both these areas, the projects we run are based on what indigenous peoples and their support organisations want us to do.. All RFUK’s work is aimed at ensuring forest peoples’ rights to define their own path for development.
"RFUK and the rights of indigenous peoples", our basic information leaflet on our work with indigenous peoples in the Congo Basin is now available to download in both English and French. It provides a general overview of our work and plans for the future, as well as of the challenges that indigenous peoples face and how we tackle them.
"Community Lawyers Programme: Building legal capacity to protect forests and forest communities' rights" is another information leaflet covering the need for legal capacity in the Congo Basin, what we are doing to tackle the problems faced by forest communities as well as what we have achieved so far and aim to achieve in the future.
Indigenous federations’ grave concern at lack of consultation in the revision of Peruvian law on Communal Reserves results in promise of a more inclusive process
Peru’s indigenous people have condemned new governmental plans to adopt revisions to a national law on Communal Reserves in Peru, expressing concern at the lack of consultation with them during this process. This has resulted in the process of revising these laws being halted, with promises to make way for more indigenous participation.
Having destroyed vast areas of rainforest in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, palm oil companies are now expanding into the rainforests of the Congo Basin in Africa, home to lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants.
For this reason, we have launched our ‘Appetite for Destruction?‘ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the impacts associated with the production of this common food ingredient.
In the new research carried out jointly with Ethical Consumer magazine, over 50 of the UK's biggest biscuit manufacturers were surveyed on their use of palm oil or its derivatives. The most ‘ethical’ companies revealed by the survey include Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and United Biscuits.
However, a divide is now emerging on the issue of palm oil between these more progressive companies and those bottom-scoring, mostly American-based companies including Asda/Walmart, PepsiCo and Kraft, makers of Ritz and Oreo biscuits.
The product guide on biscuits adds to the information already provided on chocolate and bread.