The saving face of corporate climate change

Unilever CEO Paul Polmon at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Peru.
Unilever CEO Paul Polmon at the Global Landscapes Forum in Lima, Peru. Photo by Justin Catanoso

LIMA, Peru — The man behind the podium Sunday at the Global Landscapes Forum, an offshoot of the annual United Nations negotiations on climate change being held here, spoke in blunt terms:

“Commercial agriculture accounted for 71 percent of tropical deforestation in the last 12 years. That translates into the loss of 130 million hectares (321 million acres) of forests. In fact, that loss contributes about 15 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transport sector. These are the inconvenient facts.”

In other words, the massive companies that grow our food are in part responsible for aiding and abetting practices that are slowly killing the earth by recklessly tearing down forests to grow crops.

The speaker was pointing a finger of blame at one of the most environmentally damaging industries on earth. In doing so, Paul Polmon, the CEO of England-and-Netherlands-based Unilever, the world’s second-largest consumer goods conglomerate, was in essence pointing a finger at himself. It was both disarming and, well, breathtaking.

“For those of us in the food sector, like my company, we know that climate change cannot be tackled without —> Read More Here


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