How Your Investments Have an Impact with Green Century’s Forest Protection Campaign

Deforestation is a leading driver of climate change – and protecting forests from being destroyed is one of the most cost-effective strategies to reduce carbon pollution.

That’s why Green Century started pressing some of the world’s largest companies to change the practices around agricultural commodities that have been linked to deforestation – palm oil, soybeans, sugar, corn and beef.

The result?

Click below to learn more about the issues, the challenges ahead and how your investments make a difference.


1. Why Deforestation Matters

For too long, it has been common practice to clear land for palm oil, soy, sugar and corn plantations, and cattle grazing. Clearing forests releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide as well as eliminates the natural carbon-trapping abilities of forests and destroys habitats for endangered species.

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Deforestation releases the same amount of carbon pollution emitted by the entire global transportation sector, making it a leading driver of climate change. Deforestation also poses risks to agricultural production by directly contributing to shifting weather and rainfall patterns, causing land conflicts with local communities and destroying the habitat of endangered species including the orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, and the jaguar.

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The impact of deforestation 

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2. How Investor Pressure Made a Difference on Palm Oil

Starting in 2012 with Starbucks* – and continuing with Kellogg’s,* and ConAgra,* – Green Century has successfully pressured many companies to adopt zero-deforestation palm oil policies. One agreement, with the world’s largest palm oil trader, will keep 1.5 gigatons of carbon pollution out of our air.

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Green Century’s Groundbreaking Forest Protection Campaign

3. Why Cross-Commodity Policies are the Next Step

Since soybeans, sugar, corn and beef are other key agricultural commodities linked to deforestation, Green Century began asking companies for cross-commodity zero-deforestation agreements to hasten needed forest protection. We secured the first agreement with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)* in 2015.

Learn about the growing campaign

4. Raising the Standard for Industry Certification

Sourcing commitments work best when they are verified by an independent third-party monitor: the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Roundtable on Sustainable Soy were developed to serve this function for palm oil and soy, respectively. But, the RSPO has been reluctant to update its guidelines to keep pace with evolving industry standards, thereby undermining new company policies and industry-wide compliance.

Why and how investors are pressing RSPO 

5. Urging Governments to Support Conservation & Sustainable Development

To ensure effective implementation of corporate forestry policies, Green Century believes that government policies must support these advancements and that legislators and policy makers must provide an environment conducive to sustainable development. As a result, Green Century supports government action that protects forests and actively challenges initiatives that seek to reverse successfully adopted commitments.

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Deforestation is a leading driver of climate change, accounting for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to that of the entire global transportation sector. Deforestation also threatens endangered species, disrupts water cycles, and ignites land conflicts with local communities. The rate of global deforestation is increasing due to uncontrolled agricultural expansion.

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Most of recent tropical deforestation and forest degradation has been driven by demand for, and the production of, just a handful of commodities – palm oil, soya, beef and leather, and timber, pulp and paper.

The majority of agricultural trade — including commodities like corn, wheat, soy, palm oil, canola oil, and beef — is controlled by four commodities traders, two of which Green Century has pushed to adopt zero-deforestation pledges. These traders are heavily influenced by their consumer-facing customers. That’s why pressing companies like Kellogg’s, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts* to decouple deforestation from their supply chains is a successful strategy in forest protection.

Deforestation, forest risk commodities, and corporate engagements

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Pushing companies to be more environmentally responsible is a key way that Green Century helps investors make a difference.

Green Century Capital Management is the only U.S. mutual fund company founded and owned by environmental non-profits. To learn how Green Century protects the environment and public health, please see our Impact Investing page.