24th November 2020
Rise Up for Forests
Deforestation is happening at an alarming rate. In 2019, the tropics lost almost 30 football fields' worth of trees every single minute. This affects us all, as forests provide services that help us to survive.
Forests regulate the climate and reduce the risk of natural disasters, including floods, droughts, landslides and other extreme events.
Forests purify water and protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.
Forests provide food and shelter for 2 billion people and direct employment for 13.2 million.
Forests act as a carbon sink (converting carbon dioxide to carbon that is stored in the ground) to help us in the fight against climate change.
And forests provide an important habitat for many of the world’s species. They are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
What's food got to do with it?
The biggest cause of deforestation is modern industrial agriculture. It's estimated that food production is responsible for up to 80% of deforestation.
Trees are cut to clear land for grazing animals (mostly cows) and for growing crops (mostly soy for animal feed and palm oil that is used in many products). And yet we waste one-third of all the food we produce.
We can change this.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, and SDG15 has specific aims for forests.
We can each reduce our impact on forests by reducing food waste, eating less meat and dairy, avoiding palm oil and choosing to only buy FSC certified forest products (from paper to furniture).
But bigger, systemic change is needed. We need to protect and regenerate forests by better managing forest resources, eliminating clear cutting and planting new trees.
It's time to Rise Up
Ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) next year, we're calling for action to address the impact of our food system. We have to change the way food is produced to limit global warming to 1.5oC by 2050.
The UK Government has committed to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it. Some action is being taken on deforestation, with the UK agriculture bill seeking to ban UK firms from selling commodities (cocoa, soya, palm oil, beef and leather, rubber, timber, pulp and paper) if their production breaches local laws protecting forests.
There is more we can do, but Boris’ 10-point plan fails to address the food system. We have an opportunity to lead at COP26, and we must hold the government to account.
You can write to your local MP here, and ask them to be an advocate for climate and nature. And share this action with friends, over a cheeky pint.
Beer that does the world of good.
We’re releasing a series of limited-edition beers, brewed in collaboration with B Corp brands to highlight a different element of the ecological crisis and and the systemic change needed to the food system to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.
For our first topic - Forests - we're collaborating with Divine Chocolate.
Demand for cocoa is driving deforestation in West Africa. More than 90% of original forests in West Africa have been destroyed. Smallholder farmers can’t invest to improve their farms and as yields decline, new land is cleared to meet growing demand.
Divine is co-owned by a co-operative of farmers in Ghana. They get a share of the profits so they can invest in their families, farms and communities. Divine work closely with farmers on sustainable livelihoods, reducing the need to use forest land to survive and help implement Forest-Friendly farming practices that conserve forested areas and protect biodiversity. And there is no palm oil in any of their chocolate.
We've brewed a rich, velvety Chocolate Stout - check it out here. It has undertones of vanilla, liquorice and dark fruits, and pairs perfectly with a mince pie and vegan vanilla ice cream.
This beer was brewed with surplus fresh bread, six different malts, three hop varieties and Divine's cocoa powder that supports sustainable forestry. And it's suitable for vegans.
By supporting businesses that operate for the benefit of people and the planet, particularly certified B Corps, you can help to change the food system, and change the world.
Want to learn more about Forests?
Watch: One Strange Rock - episode 1 ‘Gasp’ (National Geographic), The Lorax (Dr Seuss)
Listen: Woodland Walks - link (Woodland Trust)
"Primary Rainforest Destruction Increased 12% from 2019 to 2020" (Source: World Resources Institute)