08 July 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights

Articles

For Norway salmon farms giving up deforestation-linked soy, Cargill proves a roadblock
Mongabay, 07 Jul 2021

Two major salmon producers in Norway now have deforestation-free soy supply chains, following no-deforestation commitments made by Brazilian soy suppliers to the European salmon industry, according to new analysis published by watchdog group Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN). Soy-derived products are heavily used in the production of salmon feed, where they serve as a protein source. In Norway, the four aquaculture feed giants, Mowi, BioMar, Skretting and Cargill Aqua Nutrition, largely buy soy protein concentrate (SPC) from one of three Brazilian suppliers: CJ Selecta, Caramuru and Imcopa. Earlier this year, the three Brazilian SPC suppliers committed to an international ban on buying soybeans grown on land deforested after August 2020.

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First on CNN: Biden administration ramps up investment in environmental justice
CNN, 07 Jul 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday an additional $50 million in funding to enhance air pollution monitoring and improve air quality in low-income communities and communities of color. The announcement of new funds comes as the agency ramps up its investments in environmental justice initiatives, a core focus of the Biden administration's climate policies. Communities of color have historically been among the most affected by unfavorable environmental policies, and poor air pollution is just one impact, EPA administrator Michael Regan said in an interview with CNN.

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Indian coal plant's World Bank lender immune from enviro suit
Reuters, 07 Jul 2021

Farmers, fishermen and others who say the coal-fired Tata Mundra Power Plant in Gujarat, India has ruined the environment and their livelihoods cannot sue the U.S.-based international organization that financed its construction in 2008, a federal appeals court held Tuesday in a case that the U.S. Supreme Court revived in 2019. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed last year’s ruling for International Finance Corp on remand.

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Campaigners Turn Up Heat On Supply Chain Role In Deforestation
Forbes, 06 Jul 2021

As environmental and ethical issues rise up the agenda for companies, investors and consumers, attention is increasingly turning to companies’ supply chains and their role in causing damage to the environment and human rights. One of the first things you realise when you look at supply chains is how opaque they often are. One area that is particularly thorny is deforestation, three quarters of which is caused by the agriculture sector. One organisation that has been working to address this is the Accountability Framework (AFi), which has just celebrated its second birthday.

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Back to nature: the story of one family’s retreat into the Amazon forest to escape Covid
The Guardian, 06 Jul 2021

As billions of people isolated around the world in 2020, villagers from Sarayaku , a Kichwa community in the Ecuadorian Amazon, headed deeper into the forest to escape the coronavirus pandemic. The journey, documented in a new short film called The Return, reaffirmed the bond the community has had with the forest for generations, protecting ancestors from missionaries, militias and emerging diseases such as measles and smallpox, as well as sustaining life.

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Meet the 'zombie frog,' a new species found in the Amazon
DW, 05 Jul 2021

Ernst spent two years in the Amazon rainforest in Guyana, South America, mostly alone, doing field work for his PhD studies. His original goal was to investigate the impacts of human-caused loss of biodiversity by looking at amphibians as an example. That was when he found the frog. He describes the moment as "a mixture of knowing what to do, where to look, and a lot of luck." Since then, Ernst has joined efforts with a group of international researchers to find out more about the animal. They ended up describing three different species, all from the same genus, called Synapturanus. 

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Alleged Mastermind Convicted In The Killing Of Environmental Activist Berta Cáceres
NPR, 05 Jul 2021

A Honduran man was convicted of homicide Monday in the 2016 killing of Berta Cáceres, a prize-winning environmental and Indigenous rights defender. After a three-month trial, the court unanimously found Roberto David Castillo Mejía guilty of participating in the killing of Cáceres, a member of the Lenca Indigenous group who led opposition to a dam project in which Castillo Mejía was involved. The court will convene on Aug. 2 to determine a sentence, which could be between 24 and 30 years.

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Blind spot in palm policy raises deforestation risk in Malaysia, report says
Mongabay, 02 Jul 2021

A “blind spot” in the sustainability policies of major palm oil conglomerates is allowing plantation companies clearing rainforest in Malaysia to continue feeding ostensibly “deforestation-free” supply chains, according to a new report by eco-watchdog Chain Reaction Research (CRR). Over the past decade, most of the world’s largest processors, traders and users of palm oil have adopted “zero-deforestation” policies, pledging to sever the link between their sprawling supply chains and the destruction of rainforests, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia, which together account for most of the world’s production of palm oil, used in consumer goods ranging from chocolate to laundry detergent.

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Brazil sees most June fires in Amazon rainforest since 2007
Reuters, 01 Jul 2021

Brazil recorded the most fires in the Amazon rainforest in 14 years for the month of June, government data showed on Thursday, amid worries that an extreme drought in many parts of the region could fuel worse fires in months to come. National space research agency Inpe recorded 2,308 hot spots in the Brazilian Amazon in June, a 2.7% rise from the same month a year ago, when fires had reached a 13-year high.

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