Brazilian scientists are reporting a sharp increase this year in the clearing of forests in the Amazon. That's bad news for endangered ecosystems, as well as the world's climate. Deforestation releases large amouont of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
It's also a setback for big food companies that have pledged to preserve those forests - or at least to boycott suppliers that clear forests in order to raise crops or graze cattle. "Traders such as Cargill, Bungem or Louis Dreyfus; consumer good manufacturers such as Monelez or Proctor & Gamble or Unilever; retailers such as Walmart and McDonald's - all the major brands have made those commitments," says Luiz Amaral, director of global solutions for commodities and finance at the World Resources Institute.
Most of the companies promised to cut all links to deforestation by 2020, but few are likely to make that deadline. Turns out, it's really hard for companies to ensure that none of their raw materials came from recently cleared land.
Amaral and his colleagues just creasted a new online tool for companies to use. They call it Global Forest Watch Pro.
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~ Dan Charles, NPR