Filipinos urged: Protect our fragile forests
Greenpeace laments the recent fires that razed close to 190 hectares of forests and grasslands near the summit of Mt. Banahaw and neighboring Mt. Cristobal in Sariaya, Quezon. With the cause of fire still to be determined, the green group challenged Filipinos to be more vigilant in protecting what remains of our dwindling forests; a timely reminder on today’s celebration of the International Day of Forests.
Greenpeace has been actively campaigning to protect Southeast Asia’s fragile forests, particularly the Indonesian rainforests, considered the third largest after the Amazon and the Congo Basin. However, these forests are decimated at the pace of 620,000 hectares a year with the palm oil sector as the single biggest driver of deforestation from 2009 to 2011.
“We are made unwilling participants of forest destruction when we buy products that contain dirty palm oil. Filipino consumers must be more aggressive in asking their favourite brands to consider nature, making sure that they buy only from palm oil suppliers that are not involved in forest destruction”, said Beau Baconguis Program Manager for Greenpeace Philippines.
Palm oil is an important ingredient in products such as soaps, detergents, shampoo, cosmetics and food items such as chocolates, cookies and cooking oil. Greenpeace recently launched a worldwide campaign to challenge consumers to guard against everyday products that may be using palm oil sourced from forest destruction.
Last February 26, Greenpeace released a report: P&Gs Dirty Secret, which was a result of a year-long investigation that linked Procter & Gamble’s palm oil suppliers to the destruction of the Sumatran tiger and orang-utan habitats.
While companies like Unilever, Nestle, L’Oreal, Ferrero, Mondelez and Mars have committed to a No-Deforestation policy and promise to source their palm oil requirements from clean, sustainable sources, P&G - makers of Head and Shoulders- continue to lag behind.
“Whether big or small acts, we can take action and do something for our forests. As regular consumers of these brands, Filipinos have the power to change how these corporations behave and do business. It’s time to stand up against unsustainable practices that leave our forests as wasteland,” Baconguis added.
Greenpeace is encouraging forest-friendly Filipinos to sign “Protect Paradise”, an online petition  calling on companies like P&G to guarantee forest and tiger-friendly products in an effort to stop the further destruction of some of Southeast Asia’s remaining forests. (Source: Greenpeace Philippines)
VIDEO: Procter & Gamble's Dirty Practices are Destroying the Forest and Making Orphans Out of Baby Orangutans